FOCUS: Ford’s parts depot logistics
In 2011, Ford established a regional parts distribution centre (PDC) in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone. Before it opened its doors in the UAE, it could take up to 90 days for a part requested by a Ford dealer from the Middle East, to be handed over. Nowadays, it can take as little as one day – with a same-day emergency delivery service available – or up to a maximum of only nine days for a vehicle to have its replacement part ready to go to work, depending on the location.
Even more impressive is that within two days of a dealer requesting a replacement part, it is located, packaged and invoiced, which equates to the quickest turnaround in the region. For an emergency order, however, it gets handled within three hours, regardless of its final destination. The approximate 42,000 different part numbers in the UAE travel as far as the west coast of Africa – to places like Dakar in Senegal, with a potential 85 per cent of those parts having arrived in the UAE, initially, direct from the affiliates in the United States. The United Kingdom accounts for a further 11 per cent, with the final four per cent of parts shipped to the UAE originating in Thailand, India and South Africa.
On average, seven ocean containers arrive by truck to Ford’s PDC each day, fully-loaded with parts to be received, shelved, and accounted for. The same day, an average of 15 trucks, some carrying full ocean containers depart the facility, ready to distribute Ford service parts region-wide.
In 2011, the Ford PDC stood on 22,000 square metres of warehouse space. Currently its floor space is around 27,000 square metres, though plans are afoot to increase to an estimated 30,000 square metres in the next five years. Within the decade it’s projected that 41,000 square metres will be needed to cater for the amount of parts passing through Dubai’s distribution centre.
Despite Ford demonstrating an exceptionally efficient downsizing in unique parts, year-on- year regional sales growth of around 13 per cent has dictated the need for growing warehouse floor space. The sales growth not only highlights the PDC’s importance due to increased demands, but also the innovation required to best serve Ford customers. The end result of these increased efficiencies means most parts at the PDC don’t have much of a literal shelf life.
“When a part is ordered by a dealer, it’s important to know that their technicians will probably be required to perform some sub-assembly to go with that part before it is fitted to the vehicle. In some cases, it could be closer to 20 different parts, and not just one that might be needed”, said Erhan Yengulalp, Ford Dubai PDC Manager, Parts, Service and Logistics.
“Consider a replacement door for example – this one item requires many different component parts,” Yengulalp explained. “Therefore the associated sub-assemblies will need the door panel, hinges, door checker, weather strips, mouldings, door glass, run channels, door run-belts, door glass and door handles. Our ability to locate, pack and invoice all those parts in a region-best time makes the Ford PDC one of the top performing supply chain services in the Middle East and North Africa.”
The majority of the parts that are delivered to the Ford Parts Distribution Centre in Dubai arrive in a cardboard box on a pallet, which is then taken from to be stock-kept in the racks or stored in drawers. Showcasing Ford’s desire to work efficiently, and ‘greener’, 100 per cent of the boxes and pallets are recycled to pack and redistribute parts to their new destination, proving that corporate responsibility is high on Ford’s agenda, and sustainability plays a vital role in the company’s plans.
Investing in a regional growing parts warehouse allows manufacturers to better manage its supply chain, and brings Ford closer to the customer, with a keen eye on service.