New systems make ŠKODA’s production logistics more efficient and environmentally friendly

Sequence container with 'pick-by-frame': The technology aids workers when loading the picking vehicle.Production logistics that functions flawlessly is essential for high productivity in vehicle production. Seamless production in the 13 ŠKODA manufacturing sites worldwide is only guaranteed if vehicle parts and components are available in the right place at the right time in the required quantity. To this end, the Czech car company ŠKODA AUTO uses a sophisticated, efficient, and internationally oriented logistics system. ŠKODA makes its parts logistics now even more efficient, fast, and environmentally friendly with new high-tech solutions for the Mladá Boleslav main production facility.

There are three simultaneous logistics innovations in the Mladá Boleslav factory. A new transport container for steering wheels has space for more steering wheels and is also significantly lighter than the model used hitherto. An improved sequence container speeds up the supply of parts to the assembly line. And parts delivery at the touch of a button is now possible thanks to the fully automatic transport system.

The use of the most modern storage and transport technology in production is an important element of the ŠKODA growth strategy 2018. “By 2018, ŠKODA will increase the number of sold vehicles to at least 1.5 million units per year,” says Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA’s Production and Logistics board member. “Our new model initiative sets high standards for production and the corresponding logistics structure and processes. Powerful logistics is a precondition for top-level vehicle production. The most recent innovations in our main production facility are an important step towards further optimisation of logistics processes and hence also towards increased efficiency and productivity during production,” continues Oeljeklaus.

The new ŠKODA logistics centre in Mladá Boleslav was put in operation half a year ago. The most recent innovations optimise the logistics processes in the production of the Czech car manufacturer. “The new systems speed up logistics processes, decrease costs, and protect the environment. That’s just clever,” says Jiří Cee, Head of ŠKODA Logistics.

Fully automatic control of transport vehicles in the warehouse: An Automated Guided Vehicle System (AGV) delivers the required parts and components via centrally guided transport vehicles directly to the shelves of the assembly line.For example, the new transport containers for steering wheels offer several advantages as compared to those used previously: They are lighter, have larger volumes, require less space, and are cheaper. The capacity of the new container grows by 20 percent, and it is also able to house steering wheels from several car models, unlike until now, when it was just one model. Thanks to the fact that it uses plastic material that is 98% recycled, the new box is also 62 kilograms lighter than the previous version in steel. The container can even be folded in when empty. The significantly reduced weight and the improved size decrease transport costs per steering wheel by 40 percent. Furthermore, using the new container protects the environment: The CO2 emission per charge carrier is 75% lower per transport. The manufacturing costs per container are also 23 percent lower. Detail progress is necessary in order to continue improving the eco-balance of car manufacturing.

The precisely timed delivery of the parts needed to the assembly line are essential for efficient production – the so-called ‘just in sequence’ delivery. So-called ‘pick-up’ systems play a central role. A new solution is now being applied in the Mladá Boleslav factory: a sequence container with ‘pick-by-frame’. The technology aids workers when loading the picking vehicle and makes the process safer.

The third innovation in the ŠKODA factory logistics is the new, fully automatic control of transport vehicles in the warehouse. It is an Automated Guided Vehicle System (AGV) which delivers the required parts and components via centrally guided transport vehicles directly to the shelves of the assembly line. This also saves time and money.

These new solutions are parts of a sophisticated production logistics system which ensures optimal supply to the 13 global production sites via the entire logistics value chain. ŠKODA models are currently being produced in the Czech Republic, China, Russia, and India, as well as in Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Worldwide, the manufacturer has already produced 685,000 vehicles during the first nine months of this year.

For this production system, approximately 1,250 employees in ŠKODA Logistics operate every year millions of parts, components and vehicle systems. Annually around 52,000 train cars are transported from and to the Czech ŠKODA car factories. Additionally 469,000 truck transports take place from and to all three Czech ŠKODA factories every year. ŠKODA Logistics is dealing with enormous orders of magnitude also for the storage and logistics surfaces needed in the context of the logistics flow: They add up to more than 321,000 square meters in the three Czech factories of Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabí alone. This is equal to about 50 football fields.