Meeting the demands of an industry in the fast lane

By Anthony Gunn, executive vice president,

freight forwarding

GEFCO As an organisation with 70 years’ experience in the industry, we understand more than anyone that the logistics sector is constantly changing. Fast- evolving customer needs and markets, increasingly complex social and environmental regulation, and disruptive digital technologies transforming production processes all contribute to this exciting, but challenging, environment. While we have diversified into

a variety of industrial sectors in recent years, including aviation, life sciences and healthcare and energy, automotive logistics is still an important part of our operations. GEFCO was built on automotive logistics and with our strong heritage in this sector, it has been important to continue to develop our offering and pre- empt the direction of travel for the industry. Over the last five years, we have

pursued a significant expansion programme and have now set up operations in 47 countries to ultimately position ourselves where our customers need us to be.

Key partnerships and

acquisitions, particularly the integration of IJS Global in 2015, have enabled us to boost our freight forwarding offering and consolidate our presence in China, South-East Asia and the United States. More recently, we have

acquired Spanish company GLT to reinforce our position in the booming Europe-Morocco import- export market and have boosted our finished vehicle logistics offering through a joint venture with Spanish logistics operator BERGE in the Spanish market. In China, we are also using

‘Silk Road’ rail links to move parts in and out of the country, with our first dedicated block train of containerised automotive parts transported between China and France in 2017.

This use of rail freight is not

only complementary to air and ocean freight but has competitive advantages both for economic and ecological reasons for time critical goods, such as automotive parts, and electronics products coming from China. Customers transport time is reduced by half compared to the ocean freight and, compared to airfreight, rail is much lower in price and produces less pollution to the environment.

Immediate response

When it comes to reducing transport time, our Time Critical

Issue 2 2019 - Freight Business Journal

Solutions (TCS) business, offering tailored services to demanding customers with urgent needs around the world, is an important part of our freight offering. For example, we transported

broadcasting equipment for French TV stations to the cities hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in addition to managing customs and other formalities. In Australia, GEFCO designed, tested and implemented a unique new solution for

transporting large

aircraſt engines on passenger planes. Since the beginning of 2018,

GEFCO has completed more than 40,000 time-critical missions for the automotive and other industries. 2018 saw a major breakthrough

for our TCS offering, with the introduction of TRACY, a voice activated track and trace tool. By utilising a smart speaker, TRACY enables customers to obtain key shipment information including the origin,

destination, flight/

ship number and expected/ actual arrival via a simple voice command. For TCS, where transparency

and real-time monitoring are imperative, the new tool is set to play a major role, with further

updates planned to provide even greater functionality, including potential connection with flight and marine tracking services. The recent launch of our

global Mission Control Centre in Amsterdam has bolstered our TCS offering further across our automotive customer portfolio. Most recently this has enabled us to support a customer with the organisation of a charter flight, obtaining all necessary permits and delivering Time Critical cargo door to door from Czech Republic to the US within 48 hours of the customer request, saving the client extensive costs from a potential manufacturing standstill.

Focus on innovation

Over the last few years we have integrated many new technologies into our supply chain management processes, with TRACY the latest in a growing line of innovations. In particular, the Internet of Things (IoT) is helping us offer high-value services, especially in terms of traceability, while big data is facilitating planning and optimising logistics to offer both savings and environmental benefits. As with a number of large

Cotswolds-based WMB Logistics, which specialises in moving and storing motorcycles has secured a second 34,000sq ft warehouse in Gloucestershire. It said that growth over the

past 12 months meant that additional space was required, both for expansion of the palletised goods division but also to allow the motorcycle division to grow independently of the pallet business. The motorcycle business

tends to peak between March and September so the other business streams help to balance out the peaks and flows.

WMB Logistics distributes

new motorbikes for several European and overseas manufacturers throughout the UK – for example, for KTM, which manufactures its bikes in Austria, or from the main Harley Davidson European Distribution centre in Belgium. They are imported from

the factory or European distribution hub, using third- party transport, and WMB de- boxes them and uses its own bespoke cradle system to get

specialist vehicle that does truck-based shows throughout Europe, mostly in Turkey,

rallies and so on.” The extra warehousing in Gloucestershire has been

them to dealerships around the country; all its vehicles carry demountable forklift trucks to ease the unloading process. As well

as regular retail

bikes, WMB also offers several motorbike-related bespoke services, including events logistics for major motorcycle shows. This involves moving machines for different manufacturers to the exhibition site, putting them onto the display stands and valeting them to show standards. It will also get bikes to rallies

throughout Europe. There is in addition has a

Eastern Europe and Russia. A further strand to its

business is preparation of the manufacturers’ test fleet for the motorbike press, to the highest possible standards and ensuring that they are fully fuelled and in peak condition in its fully-equipped motorbike workshop run by specialist mechanics. WMB director Tony Davies

says: “We aim to offer a one- stop service. We’re not the only company doing motorbike logistics, but don’t believe that anyone else offers the full range of services for shows, events,

secured ahead of Brexit. A

number of blue chip clients are building stock reserves in preparation for 29 March but also require additional space post-Brexit, irrespective of what happens. Brexit was only part of the motivation for acquiring the extra space says Davies – it is needed in any case to support the general expansion in WMB’s business. Davies shares most business

peoples’ frustration with the lack of information about what will actually be happening on 29 March, but is confident that the logistics industry will cope, as it always has with the various crises and difficulties thrown up be events. He has worked in haulage long enough to remember when customs clearance in Dover was a routine activity. Finding space in Gloucester

of the type and size required was not easy, but the city is an effective location for national distribution. All the major UK population centres of England and Wales are within a four hour truck journey, especially as WMB’s site is just off the M5 motorway.

players in the logistics industry, engaging with start-ups has proven to be an effective strategy to foster innovation and introduce new ideas. Most notably, we


have partnered with Techstars, a worldwide network for startups, and even launched our very own “Innovation Factory”, which enables GEFCO employees to submit their own ideas to be developed into fully fledged projects. In the UK, a new innovation

hub has been launched at the University of Warwick in partnership with Warwick Manufacturing Group. The Hub will focus on cutting edge research into the future of automotive supply chains, the dual challenges of electrification and using and reusing resources for as long as possible. The first two projects

will research new circular business models for the supply, refurbishment and re-use of batteries for the electric automotive supply chain, and the use of new technologies to design fully-traceable and re-usable packaging. Initiatives like this are integral

for us to respond to change effectively. The automotive market will continue to undergo a spectacular transformation: electric engines today, hydrogen engines tomorrow, and shared/ autonomous vehicles in the not-so-distant future. For legacy players to flourish, exploring opportunities to adopt new business models and services and pre-empt change will be essential.

An automotive contract with a difference

DHL Global Forwarding, the Deutsche Post DHL Group’s air and ocean freight specialist, has extended its logistics partnership with the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The FIA World Endurance

Championship brings Le Mans- style racing to three tracks in Europe and five in Asia, the Middle East, Latin and North America. As official logistics partner of

the WEC, DHL Global Forwarding is responsible for shipping all the teams’ motorsport materials and equipment to the overseas events including 34 race cars, two safety cars, TV equipment and assorted organizational equipment, as well as 10,000 tires, 198,000 litres of fuel and all associated equipment. DHL

handles the entire

logistics: from the organization and booking of chartered freighter aircraſt, sea freight and truck transport, processing of all documents and the coordination,

monitoring and management of all ad-hoc shipments. The first race of the 2019-20

season is on 1 September 2019 in Silverstone, in the UK. The contract renewal was

signed by Thomas Nieszner, president and global head of motorsport at DHL Global Forwarding, Pascal Dimitri, operations director of the WEC and Stéphane Andriolo, marketing director of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest at the DHL Innovation Center on 23 January. DHL Nieszner said: “We are proud to

be a logistics partner at all races from the beginning of the FIA WEC. Every racing season we look forward to our challenging task anew. Our motorsport logistics team ensures that everything is in place for every race. For each overseas race of the WEC, DHL carries more than 800 tonnes of sea freight plus around 50 ad hoc shipments.”

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