Within just two weeks, the Aachen-based optimization specialist INFORM implemented its Vehicle Yard Management System in Hemau, at AUTO1 Group SE's first own production center in Germany. The system supports the operator of the online trading platforms with end-to-end transparency of the up to 16,000 vehicles at the site, more efficient processes and an increase in on-time delivery. A rollout of the solution to other AUTO1 Group production centers is also planned.
AUTO1 Group operates leading trading platforms for the online purchase and sale of used cars, namely wirkaufendeinauto.de and associated sister brands, Autohero, and AUTO1.com. More than 450,000 vehicles were sold through the company's channels across Europe in 2020 alone. To meet strong customer demand and prepare for the continued rise in importance of the used car market, the company secured internal production capacity for 90,000 cars per year at full capacity. The first in-house production center for reconditioning used cars intended for the company's proprietary Autohero platform began operations in September 2021 in Hemau, Bavaria, near Regensburg.
INFORM’s specialized planning and scheduling software is now being used to further optimize and increase the efficiency of internal processes at the 35,000-square-meter site. “Full capacity utilization, short lead times, flexibility and operational robustness are key for us,” said Karol Niznik, Vice President Logistics and Production at AUTO1. “INFORM’s yard management system is a powerful tool that helps us to achieve those goals.” The system was implemented at the site within just two weeks. This was made possible through close collaboration between AUTO1 and INFORM and the INFORMs system configurability which includes a built-in business process modelling tool. A roll-out to other sites in Europe is being planned.
By digitizing internal vehicle logistics, the responsible dispatchers and planners are able to always track exactly where any particular vehicle is at any given time and when it will undergo which work step. This allows the dynamic process to become more efficient. “Usually, vehicles have to be moved and parked several times inside a yard. This is where companies can leverage significant efficiency gains by means of an optimized operation,” said Hartmut Haubrich, Director Vehicle Logistics at INFORM. “Transparency is a cornerstone for cost savings and reducing turnaround times. One example is that vehicles can be parked in an optimal sequence close to a car wash or workshop.”
Mathematical algorithms based on operations research and artificial intelligence are among the distinctive features of INFORM’s system. They are able to calculate optimized scheduling sequences in real time, taking company-specific planning parameters into account, and automatically assign tasks to suitable resources. “As volumes increase, optimization becomes ever more important for us. With INFORM’s yard management system we now have several options at hand to support us on our growth trajectory,” Karol Niznik added.