[INTERVIEW] Logistics 4.0: 3PL sequencing by GEFCO

14 September 2017

"The key success factors of the new supply chain model are without doubt Collaboration and Transparency"

Interview of Craig Allen, 
WHS Regional General Manager at GEFCO UK

1. What are the main trends impacting the automotive supply chain?


The automotive supply chain is under a deep transformation. All challenges affecting the Automotive industry also impact the supply chain including digitalisation, customer experience, mobility, autonomous cars, electric cars, the changing face of the retail market etc….. Today, one of the main challenges is the increase in model choices alongside decreasing vehicle architecture. To be effective, OEMs deploy a new approach often referred to as the KSK process which requires a new logistics approach, “3PL sequencing”.

2. What is the KSK method?


OEMs provide a wide range of customer options and this leads to an upsurge in the number of wiring configurations. With individual harnesses, for an instrument panel (say), the requirement to support a large number of customer options may demand thousands of possible variants. This is impractical - instead, companies define a range of harness “modules”, that support one, or several customer options. These modules are then combined at the vehicle assembly stage to provide the exact configuration requested by the customer – an approach often referred to as the KSK process.

3. Why does GEFCO embrace this new method?


At the end of 2014, GEFCO UK was involved in the launch of a new solution for commodity sequencing in support of the JLR plant in Halewood, Liverpool, UK.

KSK (Customer Specific Harnesses) was an innovative approach to the OEM and for the supply chain it requires a new demanding approach: 3PL sequencing with a high level of process control and management.

The management and control of Synchronous (Just In Sequence) commodity flows requires the development of specifically adapted IT tools, advanced lean methodology, process excellence and precision at all times. GEFCO has developed proven abilities in all types of Synchronous Flow Management with specific success in the highly complex field of KSK (Customer Specific Modules) applications. The ability to stabilize the supply chain and protect the end customer, regardless of the changing environment, is where GEFCO adds real value to its partners.

4. What are the main innovations GEFCO has implemented in Halewood to meet this new logistics approach?


In Halewood we have implemented a GEFCO 3PL sequencing program. The main features are:

  • Inter-sequencing of different suppliers and multi-commodity solutions
  • An inventory buffer of 3 to 5 days
  • Live stock visibility to safeguard TLS (Target Line Sequence) call
  • Rolling stock replenishment activity to match latest plant EDM (Eight Day Message)
  • RFT (Right First Time) Sequencing operation – complex error proofing
  • On-site Tier 1 support – QEA activity (Quality Engineering Assurance)
  • OTA (Off Track Assistance) and TLS Recovery support
  • Hourly inbound flows to plant
  • Close communication links with all plant functions

5. What are the main benefits delivered by the 3PL sequencing program?


Thanks to the 3PL sequencing program, our customers and suppliers benefited from many advantages:

  • Simplifying plant sequencing solutions into one
  • Support Tier 1 and plant requirements both current and future
  • Outsource of sequencing activity from plant – free up floor space
  • Reduced in-plant packaging and waste
  • Support Tier1 growth and complexity challenges
  • Offer flexibility in the commodity mix
  • Vastly increase the flexibility and efficiency of operations across multiple commodities
  • Reduce imbalance: All sequenced supply is aligned –
  • Offer economies of scale by bringing everything under one roof
  • Streamline commodity flows into plant and at POF
  • Simplify and reduce POF (Point of Fit) delivery
  • Offer scheduling flexibility

6. What are the key success factors of this new supply chain model?


I would say without doubt: Supply Chain Collaboration and Transparency. It’s the best way to reach cost effectiveness and performance.