5 reasons why vehicle processing centres are proving indispensable to carmakers
Vehicle processing centres (VPCs) are an indispensable part of the automotive supply chain. Here’s five compelling reasons why VPCs provide value for OEMs and their dealer networks.
1. A well-located VPC provides a crucial link in the automotive supply chain.
A VPC allows vehicles to receive additional quality checks and vehicle accessorisation specific to the sales market that the vehicles were built for, and as close to their final destination (dealership) as possible. The VPC provides the carmaker with the setting to complete these actions in a cost-effective and efficient manner, adhering to operational, safety and quality specifications. The result? A vehicle that arrives at the final destination in perfect condition for the customer.
For carmakers of all sizes, VPCs provide economies of scale, flexibility and quality personnel and services. They also offer onward logistics expertise: two WW Solutions' VPCs serving OEM factories in Tennessee and Mississippi ship vehicles to more than 30 rail ramps – which transfer vehicles from rail cars to the road network in the US, Canada and Mexico.
2. For everything from fitting a tail spoiler to ensuring a vehicle meets local regulations, VPCs can help.
WW Solutions' VPCs perform a variety of services including receipt and inspection of vehicles as they arrive from vessels and checks to ensure OEM quality standards are maintained. Modification, customisation and homologation are also offered – the latter being a process of approving and certifying a product to ensure it meets the regulatory standards for a certain market.
Customisation options on offer at a VPC might include lighting packages, body effects kits and spoilers. “For the forthcoming 2020 model of one OEM’s pick-up truck, there will be 87 different accessories,” explains Rob Zimmerman, vice president – operations, WW Solutions, Smyrna, Tennessee.
3. VPCs perform a versatile role – whether located at the manufacturing plant itself or at port.
In-plant VPCs effectively act as an extension of the carmaker. “In-plant VPCs are part of the OEM’s business and will typically be located on the actual factory site,” explains Ted Boudalis, senior general manager, strategy and operations, WW Solutions. “The VPC will act as the ‘last mile’ of the manufacturing process, preparing the vehicle for onward transit by truck or rail.”
Port VPCs play a different role. In the US, WW Solutions’ port VPCs may cater for as many as 12 different manufacturers at one facility. Port VPCs are equipped to handle fluctuations in demand and carry out a wide range of work, from labelling and shipping cars to customisation and accessorising.
Whether in-plant or at a port, an extensive network of VPCs caters to the needs of carmakers. WW Solutions has a global network of in-plant and port VPCs in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia.
4. Future trends are likely to see an even greater number of services offered by VPCs.
Automotive manufacturers are under pressure to reduce costs, while also researching and developing electric vehicles to serve growing global market needs. As the landscape changes, so too will the services offered by VPCs, says Boudalis. “We’re very much geared to where the industry is moving in terms of electrification of vehicles. We are also looking at how to carry out customisation for large fleets of vehicles and ride-sharing businesses as car ownership models change.”
5. An OEM’s overall strategy can benefit from the work of a VPC.
OEMs and VPCs can readily become strategic partners. “A VPC may provide a strategic holding area to manage inventory,” explains Boudalis.
Some locations in the US will hold a volume of vehicles and await a new model launch date, or an order from a dealer for a specific make, model and colour. Once the order comes in, the vehicle will be prepared and shipped.