Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has released the latest episode of their documentary series “FCA: What’s Behind”. The series takes a behind the scenes look at the daily operations of the automaker, that most people in the public usually don’t see. The third episode of the second season follows the company’s supply chain. Logistics management acts as an interface between production and sales, at FCA on a global level and with a focus on sustainability.
The logistics management of an automobile manufacturer acts as an interface between industrial production and sales or distribution. In the supply chain, materials, and semi-finished products are moved, the various production sites are linked and the finished vehicles are finally delivered to the customers. The task of logistics management is to synchronize the entire process as precisely as clockwork in order to avoid uneconomical idle times and delays.
At FCA, the area of responsibility for logistics management encompasses the entire global supplier network, all distribution centers, and over 100 plants around the world. This structure alone is an example of the company’s global character. In order to meet customer demand quickly and efficiently, material movements must be precisely planned and fully functional even before the actual production starts.
Logistics management has to keep production in balance by balancing the capacities in the factories with the demand. Quantities must be specified in the supply chain and the necessary resources built up in order to optimize material flow and inventory. The result is an extremely complex and organic system, the components of which all work towards a common goal: to produce the vehicles configured according to customer requirements on time. Only in this way can orders from any FCA trading partner worldwide be fulfilled quickly and efficiently. The management of supply chains and logistics comes into play immediately after the order is placed. The use of materials, production, and capacities in the individual plants must be coordinated with one another.
Based on the established schedule, I-Fast Container Logistics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FCA, organizes the transport of individual components from the suppliers to the FCA factories, where they are processed and assembled. As soon as the car is produced, another subsidiary of FCA takes over the transport to the dealers worldwide: I-Fast Automotive Logistics. For the transfer from the distribution warehouse to the port, state-of-the-art, natural gas-powered car transporters are used, which represent the sustainable revolution in freight transport. Around 60% of the transports in and out of the FCA plants are environmentally friendly by sea or rail.
FCA also increases sustainability through organizational innovations. The optimized loading of containers led to a saving of around 600 tons of CO 2 in 2019 alone. Additional measures to optimize material transport save over 1,500 tons of CO 2 per year. And finally, by rationalizing vehicle transport by road, sea, and rail, CO 2 emissions were reduced by a further 2,700 tons. The management of logistics and supply chains at FCA works in an innovative, flexible, and sustainable way in order to meet every customer request and to achieve advantages for production and the environment.