Volvo – Warehouse Relocation for ongoing operational and financial benefits in Australia
Volvo Cars is a globally renowned brand with a mature business base and supply chain infrastructure that has been developed globally over an extended period of time. At the same time Australia is not a new territory for Volvo but an established market and one with a diverse and important existing vehicle parc to support. This would therefore seem an unlikely climate for rapid change, however, ongoing under performance of the incumbent Volvo aftermarket warehousing service provider and a need to improve service levels to the dealer network were the catalysts for Unipart securing the Volvo Australia warehousing and Customer Service operations in late 2011.
The business need in Australia was to launch a new Volvo parts distribution centre and to rapidly transfer the entire range of approximately 20,000 SKU’s from one side of Sydney to the other, and to do this whilst maintaining ongoing service levels to the dealer network.
Uniparts approach to the challenge in Australia covered 3 high level phases ; The development and staffing of a benchmark warehouse facility followed the transfer of Volvo inventory and finally, the post transfer the ongoing business and operational management of the new facility.
The first two of these phases have very distinct start and end points but required micro level control to ensure that not only were they completed in sequence, but that they slotted together at the optimum point in time to avoid any waste or costs being built into either phase.
A regional team with experience of multiple warehouses launches was able to support with warehouse design and storage planning – ensuring that Volvo Cars achieved maximum value for money via the amount of space used – but that this didn’t come at the cost of operational efficiency.
With a site in place and trained staff ready to receive materials the team used existing know how via a new team to move over 20,000 SKU’s into storage locations in a new Volvo Australia warehouse – marking the start of a new chapter for Volvo supply in Australia.
The Unipart Australia team relocated an entire aftermarket warehouse using a relocation plan that leveraged previous relocation experience but tailored the timing to the specific needs of Volvo in Australia. This was achieved whilst ensuring Volvo car owners in Australia knew nothing of the move but in the future would be the beneficiaries of an enhanced aftermarket distribution solution.
Today the Volvo Australia aftermarket warehouse delivers picking accuracy, bin denial and productivity targets that are firmly at the top of any league table and does this via a young and motivated workforce that is constantly demonstrating that Volvo’s decision to relocate its warehouse really was the start of a new and leaner future.