VDA Logistics Award 2022: Prestigious award goes to Continental

    Friedrichshafen, May 18, 2022

    Submissions from ZF Friedrichshafen AG Saarbrücken and VW Navarra are highlighted by the jury – VDA President Hildegard Müller praises the "impressive innovative power of the automotive industry"

    As part of the Automobile Logistics Forum (FAL) in Friedrichshafen, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) presented Continental with the coveted VDA Logistics Award. The company convinced the jury with the concept "Touchless Material Flow – Internal Supply Chains Becomes Smart" and was unanimously voted this year's winner.

    Every year, the VDA Logistics Award honors outstanding logistics solutions that serve as a role model for other companies in the automotive industry.

    VDA President Hildegard Müller: "The VDA Logistics Award is the 'Oscar' of the automotive logistics industry – and every year it shows the impressive innovative strength of the automotive industry. The numerous applications are a clear sign of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of our industry and of the attractiveness of this award. Congratulations to the winners!"

    Müller further explained: "Facing increasing geopolitical uncertainties and volatile developments, the automotive industry has to find even more innovative ways and solutions in order to successfully master future challenges. This award and the impressive entries show that our industry is successfully driving these advancements."

    Basically, the following applies: "The future will be more digital and, above all, more networked. Software, collection and use of data, autonomous driving – in all these areas, the German automotive industry wants to set the standards and set the pace worldwide. The Automobile Logistics Forum is a diverse composition of automobile production, logistics and supply chain management. Thus it’s the ideal event to jointly develop solutions and set the course for a successful future."
    Continental: "Touchless Material Flow – Internal Supply Chain Becomes Smart"
    By awarding Continental, the jury recognized a convincing, holistic and sustainable end-to-end solution with the concept  "Touchless Material Flow – Internal Supply Chain Becomes Smart".
    "Touchless Material Flow" is part of the Continental Industry 4.0 initiative and a key driver for the continuously increasing competitiveness of the Continental plants. The aim is to increase efficiency and transparency in the entire internal material flow through the use of Industry 4.0 solutions, in combination with lean management.
    To date, a total of 11 standardized technology solutions have been developed and implemented in 38 Continental plants. The networked solutions at Continental include the sorting and booking station, which almost completely automates the incoming goods processes. With another solution developed by Continental for the replenishment, components based on a real-time comparison of demand and inventory are requested from the warehouse continuously and as required. After removal from storage, the components are delivered to the production lines just-in-time with autonomous mobile robots (AMR). A holistic fleet manager coordinates the entire internal flow of goods and controls all manual and automated transport systems.

    Connectivity and integration are the focus of the development and implementation of all individual solutions. In addition, supported by AI-based optimizations in real time the generated data lead to an effective internal supply chain.

    The concept makes a significant contribution to achieving the sustainability goals, reduces manual activities in the internal material flow and improves process efficiency and ergonomics for the employees.
    "My heartfelt thanks go to the entire Continental team, which is doing extraordinary things in the current crises. Together we have succeeded, despite these operational challenges, in driving digitalization in the internal flow of materials," says Jürgen Braunstetter, Head of Automotive Supply Chain Management at Continental.

    "Through the standardization and connectivity of all implemented Industry 4.0 solutions, we have established a holistic, efficient and flexible system for our plants, which the VDA has now even awarded. With this comprehensive concept our team has made a major contribution to the implementation of the vision of "Touchless Material Flow".
    Impressive submissions from ZF Friedrichshafen AG and VW Navarra
    In addition to the award-winning concept from Continental, the jury recognized the submissions from ZF Friedrichshafen AG and VW Navarra for their innovation and feasibility.

    ZF Friedrichshafen AG Saarbrücken: Project TASMAN
    The TASMAN (Transmission Assembly Sequence Makeability Analysis) project has resulted in a flexible, AI-supported system solution for processing all parameters relevant to assembly sequence planning in real time. The solution is an in-house development consisting of AI components from the ZF AI Lab Saarbrücken and various SAP applications.

    The planning is based on data prepared in SAP, such as customer call-offs, inventory data, line capacities, delivery restrictions and much more. A further development of the "ZF AI Production Optimizer" uses this data to create an optimal, secure assembly sequence for the short term. With appropriate parameters, this flexible system can react quickly to the daily changing challenges – such as disruptions in the supply chain and the volatile market situation (semiconductors) – in order to ensure the best possible customer supply, with a high factory ratio and intelligent inventory at the same time.

    Volkswagen Navarra: Automation Supermarket Assembly
    Traditionally, VW Navarra only produced one vehicle model (VW Polo) at the Pamplona/Spain site. The challenge now was to produce 3 different models on a single assembly line and to integrate the sequencing processes for three vehicle models into the existing logistics spaces. The jury honored the consistent process and cost reduction – primarily achieved through the automation of the logistical processes – with an honorary award.

    The basic principle of the concept is the automation of all material movements in the supermarket. In a so-called supermarket, the parts required in production are made available particularly efficiently. Through the intelligent use of a fleet of autonomous vehicles, the use of space is optimized accordingly. The new pull process, based on the assembly cycle, realizes corresponding advantages in terms of productivity, ergonomics and safety. With the implementation of the picking process at the workplaces formed by goods to person (G2P), maximum optimization is achieved. The standardization creates a correspondingly flexible and scalable supermarket, which makes it possible to respond quickly and easily to emerging needs.

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