A well-lubricated machine
How two decades of Brand Logistics have influenced the future and direction of ŠKODA AUTO
ŠKODA AUTO's logistics is taken care of by 200 wagons a day, ie over 30,000 a year.
n a well-functioning car company, many things work almost automatically and unnoticed, but a huge amount of work from several departments and employees is behind them.
The lifeblood of the entire car manufacturing company
A great deal of this is provided by the ŠKODA Logistics department, and it has a whole range of means to ensure the smooth distribution of production. This department is responsible for planning all logistics processes and proposed concepts and for internal transport within the plants. It also provides for handling packaging materials and, last but not least, is tasked with transporting parts and finished vehicles – all this as new cars roll off the production lines in almost one-minute intervals, and any error or delay incurs considerable costs for the carmaker.
Logistics pursues goals such as saving time, energy, materials, labour and storage space, which also has a so-called green effect.
They simply cannot do without innovation
However, the high demands put on making the most of employees’ knowledge in connection with logistics processes yield significant innovations for the ŠKODA AUTO environment. Recently, their common denominator has become not only an increased efficiency and, therefore, cost savings but also an environmentally friendly approach. Frequently, both directions go hand in hand. For example, a more efficiently used truck can save both money and CO2. This approach is another reason why the ŠKODA Logistics department promotes the so-called Green Logistics principles, not only within the VW Group and the Czech Republic but also globally. Logistics concepts tested in our country then fall on fertile ground, especially in India and China. In the future, projects using environmentally friendly fuels or significantly increasing container extraction efficiency can serve the entire world. Luděk Vokáč
Efficiency and ecology
The brand’s Logistics department and its partners have developed a solution that allows loading up to four cars in one overseas container. The 4-in-1 concept reduces the number of containers transported by a quarter and enables the carmaker to save over 800 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
The OPTIKON project for increasing container loading efficiency is further proof of how even minor changes can produce positive results. Although the increase in utilisation to 72 m3 in digital planning from the original 71 m3 is not significant, the annual figures for shipments to Russia reveal that the project will save around 240 containers and reduce CO2 transport emissions by 127 tonnes.
Last year, a fully autonomous OMRON transport robot was already deployed in the Vrchlabí plant. It can carry up to 130 kilogrammes of cargo and moves entirely independently around the plant. It selects an efficient route and, thanks to an army of sensors, recognises people, other vehicles or various obstacles and can dodge them to prevent collisions.
Industry 4.0 in practice
The automated smaller parts warehouses (AKL) in Kvasiny and Mladá Boleslav exemplify the use of Industry 4.0. Individual items are stored by robots, which also transport them directly from the warehouse to the assembly line. This automation method increases work precision, speeds up logistics processes and contributes to minimising error rates.
We have to keep improving
After 20 years, Jiří Cee handed over the post of head of Brand Logistics
How has Logistics changed during your time?
Logistics from 20 years ago and today simply aren’t comparable. It has become a modern, global, complicated and structured discipline.
You were the face of Green Logistics in the entire the VW Group. What was your basic philosophy?
Green Logistics means you have to constantly rethink your work: at every workplace, when you switch off or switch on a radiator, when you load a truck or when it’s on the road. It’s about planning your ride so that you don’t drive 20 kilometres more, because you don’t want to burden nature unnecessarily. It is essential that employees in all positions be motivated to constantly improve. Changes are born out of everyday work.
Does Logistics apply the same approach to the environment in Europe and India?
We are trying. In India, for example, there is a beautiful project where every Logistics worker plants a tree, and we are building a park together there.
Would you like to say something to the Škodovians?
Yes, I would like to make a personal comment. For me, ŠKODA has been more than a factory. I’ve been working here for 40 years. It was a matter of the heart that I devoted my whole life to it, but I still feel that it has given me more than I did. I feel proud that I remained loyal to the ŠKODA brand and followed in the footsteps of my parents, who also worked at the carmaker for many years. I experienced all modern roll-outs and always monitored them very closely. This is why I wish all employees a lot of success, many beautiful new cars and, above all, good health. RED