100 million transfer orders for 5.4 million cars

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INFORM has been managing the vast flows of materials that supply internal production at Audi's plant in Ingolstadt in Southern Germany for around 10 years

INFORM has been managing the complex material flow concept for production supply at Audi for around 10 years with its SyncroTESS software. Since 2005, around 5.4 million finished vehicles of the Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A5 and Audi Q5 models have rolled off the production line at the Audi Group's headquarters in Ingolstadt. To achieve this, more than 100 million internal transport orders were fulfilled on time, thanks to its transport management system. With annual production currently at more than 570,000 cars, transporting the vast quantities of individual parts to the right place on the assembly line at the right time is a complex task. To achieve this, SyncroTESS manages and coordinates all the intra-plant transportation, from unloading the trucks at the ramp, to storing materials, through to delivering the goods at the assembly line. The system optimizes both the use of vehicles, such as forklift trucks or tractor units, and the scheduling of transport equipment. In total, the system plans and manages up to 120,000 individual transport steps on a daily basis, controlling around 12,000 transfer destinations per day. With an average stockholding of three days, the software organizes the material flows of up to 12,500 goods-in and goods-out transfers from large load carriers every day and the supply of 44,000 small load carriers. INFORM also optimizes the delivery logistics. The SyncroSupply software manages around 700 truck deliveries per day, delivering materials to the plant as part of a schedule.

The implementation of a transport management system was of central importance for Audi. "With the introduction of SyncroTESS, our main priority was to increase process reliability and track the movements of all materials down to the level of each transfer point", explains Thomas Neuhauser, project manager at Audi. After all, the production conditions at the vehicle manufacturer in Ingolstadt place very particular requirements on the plant's logistics. Each customer who orders a car at Audi receives a vehicle tailored entirely to his or her specific requirements. Thus, the customer can choose from a wide variety of wheels, engines, colors, design packages as well as different levels of comfort and assistance systems. As a result, only 1.5 vehicles with the exact same specifications leave the plant each year. Because of these numerous design variants, part consumption is correspondingly complex and must be coordinated precisely with the production process. The management and coordination of the material flows is therefore absolutely essential in order to ensure that the right parts are always waiting at the right place on the assembly line at the right time.

Complex optimization algorithms ensure that empty runs are avoided and that all production areas are supplied on schedule. "Our decision to opt for SyncroTESS was also influenced by the fact that it was important to us that this system allowed both single and multi-stage transport", explains Neuhauser. Transportation from the ramp to the warehouse in particular take place in a single stage. In the case of multi-stage transport, SyncroTESS organizes the transport chain from the warehouse through to delivery on the assembly line. In doing so, the materials are unloaded at the ramp according to the system specifications and transported by tractor units to a transshipment point. From there, an industrial truck collects the materials and takes them to the required location. Furthermore, the data provided by the software allows the internal processes to be monitored quickly and precisely, thus equipping the logistics processes at Audi to face the challenges of the future.

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