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Being able to deliver at all times is the key to success in the automotive aftermarket. But only those who ensure transparency will achieve perfect results along the complex supply chain.
Michael Junker finds the term “spare parts” totally insufficient when it comes to describing the products offered by Schaeffler’s Automotive Aftermarket. “We offer complete repair solutions,” explains Junker, who is responsible for managing the global supply chain in the Automotive Aftermarket division. One solution, for example, means not merely supplying just one individual double clutch, but also including along with it the necessary accessories such as guide sleeves, snap rings, or engagement bearings to form a complete package. And customers can even order the appropriate tool set from Schaeffler. No repair shop appointment should take longer than planned – even though Schaeffler itself does not supply repair shops. Its customers are distribution companies and the aftermarket divisions of vehicle manufacturers. “Our mission is to accurately estimate demand in order to be able to deliver at all times without building up large inventories.” This is easier said than done, because the individual components contained in a repair solution are manufactured both by Schaeffler plants and external suppliers. The lead time from order to delivery is at least 30 days, while the call-off can take place within just a few days or even hours as an express delivery.
Managing the overall process is extremely complex, as Michael Junker and his team have to rely on many internal and external stakeholders. A sophisticated system of key performance indicators is just an essential management tool. “It’s not enough, however, to define some indicators,” says Junker. “To ensure that everyone is working in the same direction, we must make these indicators transparent across all levels of management and include them in an overall system.” This is especially important in challenging situations. “In such situations especially, we as a management team focus on the key indicator in question. For example: What is our current warehouse performance? Ultimately, this has always led to success.”
million euros is the sum the Automotive Aftermarket division is investing in the construction of a new assembly and packaging center in Halle (Saale).
different items for passenger cars, light and heavy commercial vehicles, and tractors pass through the process.
Three essential process steps:
Combining individual components to form a repair solution
For Junker, a focus on results also requires an open error culture. “As an organization, we can draw the right conclusions and constantly continue to develop further only if we communicate errors openly and transparently and do not point our fingers at others.” Part of this continuous development is a 180-million-euro investment in a central assembly and packaging center in Halle (Saale), which will allow customers to benefit from even faster deliveries. In addition, Michael Junker is working on improving forecasting quality by using intelligent analysis tools – not in the context of complex large-scale projects, but through small yet continuous steps. “This is the only way to find out what works and what doesn’t,” he says. Sustainably good results are the product not only of current perfect processes, but also of constantly challenging and fine-tuning these processes.