Logistics Center (GVZ)
Logistics processes for automotive manufacturers are becoming more and more complex due to a tremendous array of model versions as well as the creation of worldwide networks for production and procurement. Suitable approaches are required to manage these processes. One such solution entails consolidating material flows in industrial parks. Systems and modules are assembled outside the carmaker’s factory gates and delivered to the assembly line just in time. This is the approach taken at the Logistics Center – or GVZ, as it is known in German – at Audi’s Ingolstadt site.
The Logistics Center, which opened in 1995, has two investors and owners: IFG Ingolstadt (a fully-owned subsidiary of the city of Ingolstadt) and LGI GmbH (a joint subsidiary of IFG Ingolstadt and AUDI AG). The initial construction phase consisted of two buildings with a total usable area of 30,000 square meters (322,917 sq ft). The Logistics Center now occupies a site of some 118 hectares, comprising 14 buildings with a usable area of 368,000 square meters (3,961,119 sq ft). A fifteenth building, GVZ Hall T, is under construction.
Environmental awareness, fast information flows and short transportation distances are the most important aspects of modern logistics. The fact that the Logistics Center is located just outside the factory gates is the result of traffic studies – and it also benefits the city of Ingolstadt. The primary advantages of the Logistics Center for Audi are an uninterrupted supply, the ability to deal with complex tasks, and reduced logistical costs consisting of transport, packaging, inventory and IT costs. Besides reducing environmental pollution, for example by cutting the number of trucks used for transporting freight, the Logistics Center also bolsters Ingolstadt’s economy and creates new jobs.
Module suppliers manufacture their products just in sequence in so-called assembly centers and are responsible for delivering them to the assembly lines. Materials are delivered directly to the assembly lines by electric tractor. These vehicles make the journey across the fully covered 415 meter bridge directly to the production area around the clock, some 2,500 times a day. 14 external suppliers and service providers currently supply Audi via the Logistics Center. These are primarily suppliers who manufacture highly varied, complex components and systems, and who demand the highest standards from the control systems.
The Logistics Center has two consolidation centers dealing with material handling for the Audi plants in Győr and Brussels and for CKD (completely knocked-down) packaging. Halls J and K house Audi Tradition, the Service Training Center for Audi After Sales and the GVZ hotel. A large new consolidation center was set up at the Logistics Center in December 2010. Spanning 35 hectares and with a usable area of 103,000 square meters (1,108,683 sq ft) at present, assembly components previously stored temporarily in various areas inside and outside the plant are now handled centrally at this site.
Things are becoming more complex at the Ingolstadt site, which poses logistical challenges. Reasons for that include new generations of vehicles, additional models in the portfolio of products, extensive customizability, and – of particular importance – ever-shorter transition periods. That is why Audi requires additional property near its plant. The new GVZ Hall T will help meet this need. Components will be sequenced and assembled as needed there to supply Audi assembly lines. A total of around 4,500 employees currently work at the Logistics Center. Hall T will create new Logistics Center jobs. It will thus boost job security and consolidate Audi’s position in the region.