Aiming high

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MAHLE logistics center in St. Michael

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Stuttgart, September 14th, 2010—The new MAHLE logistics center in St. Michael, Austria, ensures on-time supplies of MAHLE Original and Knecht filters to the European aftermarket. A hightech, high-bay warehouse with 38,700 pallet slots is the basis for an unbroken logistics chain.

The constantly changing number of European vehicles necessitates a constant expansion of the range of filters. At the same time, trade is permanently optimizing its warehousing. This makes the logistics service of an automotive parts manufacturer one of the most important factors for product availability.

In February 2010, after a construction time of only 11 months, MAHLE inaugurated the new logistics center in St. Michael, situated centrally in the Austrian state of Carinthia, as filter supply center for the European aftermarket. An uncompromising optimization process preceded the commissioning of the new hall measuring 117 meters in length, 45 meters in width, and 33 meters in height: The former external storage areas were closed and integrated into the new center. In order to have shorter internal transport ways, a truck loading station was installed at the high-bay warehouse. The regional MAHLE Aftermarket warehouses are also supplied directly from St. Michael to save time. The unbroken logistics chain that this creates from manufacturing via high-bay warehouse through to dispatch guarantees an optimum flow of materials with an effective warehousing of semi-finished and finished goods. Peaks in stock movements can also be safely handled thanks to the increased storage capacity—today, tomorrow, and in the future: because expansions that may become necessary in the future have already been taken into account in current plans.

Optimized swapping in and out

During goods receipt, the barcodes of the container is scanned and compared with the data previously determined by the SAP system. The pallet is then transported to one of the ten stacker cranes which finally stows it in the compartment specified by the warehouse management system.

Shipping out is just as precise: The pallet is removed from the high-bay warehouse and forwarded to production or dispatch via nodal points. The lines are arranged in a way that the forklift truck can remove them in one direction.

These highly complex procedures are controlled by a specially developed software, whereas goods storage, production supply, and shipping out for dispatch are controlled via SAP. An online interface ensures permanent data exchange. The system has been consistently planned to meet the needs of MAHLE Aftermarket customers and, for example, is able to compile all allets on a truck into one consignment, print dispatch labels for specific customers, and optimize the packaging material logistics—including its own order reserve or the warehouse management of packaging sets.

The next step: Build-to-Order

Even more speed and flexibility will be needed to provide an optimum service for aftermarket customers in future. MAHLE is therefore working on a new Build-to-Order system that is based on the order call behavior in the trade. Instead of storing the filters ready packed and labelled as is the case at present, they will be kept in stock unpacked as semi-finished goods and completed through printing and packaging as required. The ambitious goal is to achieve a lead time of 3 working days from the receipt of the order to delivery. This will change the high-bay warehouse from a simple storage warehouse into an integral part of the automatic production process. Just-in-time deliveries will be possible thanks to the connected materials handling technology and a special production buffer store.

The MAHLE Group is one of the 30 largest companies in the automotive supply industry worldwide. With its two business units Engine Systems and Components and Filtration and Engine Peripherals, MAHLE ranks among the top three systems suppliers worldwide for piston systems, cylinder components, as well as valve train, air management, and liquid management systems. The newly formed MAHLE Industry business unit bundles the MAHLE Group's industrial activities. These include the areas of large engines, industrial filtration, as well as cooling and air-conditioning systems. In 2009, the MAHLE Group generated sales of approximately EUR 3.9 billion; around 43,000 employees work at over 100 production plants and eight research and development centers.

Further queries:
MAHLE Aftermarket GmbH
Andrea Arnold
Corporate Communications
Pragstrasse 26—46
70376 Stuttgart
Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 711/501-13124
Fax: +49 (0) 711/501-13700
andrea.arnold@mahle.com