A second SC is to follow at the Tshwane Special Economic Zone, to support Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok production at the Ford Silverton plant, set to start in 2022.
A third centre is possible, also in Pretoria, says Kotzé.
“These centres are not just another warehouse,” explains Kotzé. “It is very much a new trend. It’s original equipment manufacturers (OEMS, or vehicle manufacturers) outsourcing their complexities to third parties.”
It is headed by AIH International Europe (EU) MD Gregor Egerer.
A SC ensures that an OEM assembly line worker turns around and finds the right part waiting there at the right time, explains Egerer.
A SC can also execute some light assembly work, but normally only in the later stages of its development, he adds.
“The aim is to make the life of your customer as easy as possible. We managed to do this at Duvenbeck and we’ll try and replicate this model in South Africa.”
“When I left Duvenbeck we were, for example, producing axles for the Volkswagen up! from Bratislava, Slovakia, while also doing some assemblies for Porsche. But obviously that had been a development over a decade of work.”
In South Africa the ELIDZ SC will focus on the sequencing of components and sub-assemblies of the new C-Class sedan, while also supporting Tier 1 component manufacturers in the park with their logistics.
“We then generate one pearl chain for MBSA into their plant – in other words, we remove some of the complexity in supply.
“As soon as the complexity on a vehicle range reaches a certain level, and there is, for example, more than one supplier delivering the same product, it makes sense to have a sequencing service provider that deliver that product to the point of fitment.
“If you have, for example, hundreds of side-mirror variants, it will make sense to use an SC for the late assembly of the cap which defines the colour of the mirror. With this simple additional step, you reduce the roughly 700 variants to around 70.”
“We are using a European solution from Nemetris, a company that has been in production logistics for more than 20 years.”
AIH’s facility for the SC in the ELIDZ will employ around 50 people once fully operational.
Working hours will mirror the number of shifts at the MBSA plant.
The investment in the East London facility is around R20-million, with the investment in IT systems at around R4-million.
Article originally published in Engineering News