No Traffic Jam at BMW

To assist the production of the BMW 3 Series at the Munich Plant, SyncroSupply controls the movements of approximately 140 trucks per day and directs them to and from their loading points. A connection to the BMW Material Call System makes fully automatic prioritisation possible. The tracking and locating of trucks within the plant is done via transponders, and the communication with the drivers takes places with the help of pagers.

The problem to resolve: Due to the increasing number of deliveries by truck every day the traffic situation within the plant area grew more and more critical. After having been registered at the goods receiving point, the drivers moved the trucks directly to their loading points not knowing if they would arrive there in the right order, nor if the loading point would be free. As a result of this, there were often tailbacks on the narrow access roads to the loading points. Thus, it was only on rare occasions that the supply of material corresponded to the agreed time frames. The material on the trucks at the loading points didn't meet the production's needs, material not yet needed occupied the small buffer capacities at the loading points whereas material needed urgently was blocked in a truck waiting in the queue.

The SyncroSupply system from the SyncroTESS product line offers a solution for this kind of problems.

SyncroSupply synchronizes the external supply and the internal needs, it harmonises the truck deliveries with the capacities of the loading points within the plant area and with the current needs of production.

At BMW, the approach of a truck to the plant is advised either via transport notifications or via time schedules registered in the system. After the receipt of a transport notification either as ASN (Advanced Shipment Notification) or as a loading list the time frames are created and monitored by SyncroSupply. When the truck arrives at the plant the employee at the goods receiving point has all the necessary data, so that the truck has just to be registered as "having arrived". After this registration a communications kit is handed to the driver which consists of a pager and a transponder. Instructions to the driver are automatically transmitted from the system to the driver's pager. The driver is asked to stay at a waiting zone, if the loading point is still occupied, if a higher priority is attributed to another truck or if the time frame for his truck is still in the future. When it is the truck's turn, the pager beeps and the truck's loading point is displayed.

With the help of the transponder the vehicle (and its load) is automatically registered at the loading point so that there is an exact record of the beginning and the ending of the unloading. After having executed all unloading and loading work, and having received all documents for empty boxes, the driver returns the pager and the transponder before leaving the plant.

SyncroSupply optimizes the supply of material on the basis of long and medium term plans (agreed time frames) and data emerging from the current situation (status information, etc.). It synchronizes capacities and ensures the observance of the Supply Chain by means of a central control of all loading points and automatically takes into consideration trucks with certain priorities. This ensures the supply of material for the assembly process in due time.

The optimization of transport movements within the plant area makes it easier for forwarders to calculate the time needed for the execution of orders. The old principle of First Come - First Served is no longer in use, today the agreed time frame and the situation at the loading point are decisive for the call of a truck. Due to the synchronization of capacities, optimal resource utilisation, quick and efficient unloading procedures and a smoothing of supply peaks takes place. If the situation in the plant's area makes it necessary, trucks can be redirected by a phone call before they reach the plant. When the situation at the plant is cleared, the truck is called again and the system automatically resumes its control in the right sequence.

The objectives aimed at by BMW have been achieved after a short implementation period (February 2004). The trucks don't queue up at the loading points, waiting and unloading times can be made visible, and the material is delivered fully automatically to the loading points within the agreed time frames and with regard to certain priorities.

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