Storage and preservation to meet automotive and equipment challenges
As the Covid-19 crisis curbs sales in the automotive, construction, mining and agricultural industries, inventories at dealers and ports around the world are stacking up, leaving storage space in increasingly short supply.
For automotive and rolling equipment manufacturers, having storage close to ports and key markets is crucial for when demand returns post-Covid-19. This means products can be delivered in a timely way – potentially even ahead of your competition.
It’s not just a question of where to store these vehicles and machines that poses challenges. With products likely to be in the supply chain longer than usual, they will also require regular maintenance to keep them in pristine condition.
Our strategically placed processing facilities around the world offer a variety of technical services, meaning they can provide solutions to store your products safely and keep them in prime condition.
Storage solutions close to market offer big advantages
The flow of vehicles in the automotive supply chain has experienced a significant slowdown, and in many locations come to a complete stop. It’s a similar story for rolling equipment manufacturers that supply the construction, mining and agricultural industries. Although construction season typically starts in the spring, dealers aren’t placing the usual number of orders for machines, for example.
For many auto and equipment manufacturers now faced with the problem of where to store their finished products, moving to an off-site location can incur substantial transportation and security costs.
“With inventories rising, most construction and mining OEMs don’t have facilities set up for longer-term storage, nor are they able to provide the thorough maintenance services that such machines require,” explains WW Solutions’ Dan Higgins, senior manager for EPC business development.
For rolling equipment manufacturers, EPCs offer a solution to this problem. “With both on-port and off-port EPCs, we can offer short- and long-term storage solutions in central locations, meaning quick lead times for delivery to dealers once demand picks up,” says Higgins.
Meanwhile, for carmakers struggling to find storage space, our on- or near port VPCs provide an answer, allowing vehicles to remain in their usual supply chain, ready for the time when orders resume. “By maintaining staff levels at all our vehicle processing centres, we’ve been able to provide an uninterrupted service for our customers,” explains WW Solutions’ Ted Boudalis, regional general manager, port operations and strategy responsible for VPCs.
Preservation services to maintain your quality levels
But finding adequate storage space to house products is only one of the challenges facing manufacturers. Maintaining vehicles and equipment at the high-quality levels expected by dealers, retailers and customers is also crucial.
“When it comes to storing vehicles for long periods of time, ensuring they are free of excess dirt and other environmental hazards that can affect paint quality is a key consideration,” says Boudalis. “Rotating tires and monitoring tire pressure to avoid the development of flat spots is also vital, as is maintaining the battery charge – all of which can be carried out by our highly skilled teams in our global network.”
Due to the wide range of equipment needing storage, the spectrum of preservation services required is both broad and specialised. To keep products in ‘like new’ condition, for example, exercising machines is necessary to ensure everything is running smoothly. “We’re currently exercising machines every 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the customer’s requirements,” says Higgins.
Preservation services don’t stop there. “We apply fluid film on non-painted surfaces to help reduce rust and oxidation and wash and wax machines at certain intervals to prevent fading from the sun,” adds Higgins. “We also perform a 12-month service on machines in long-term storage, where we drain and replace all fluids and remove and replace filters ready to arrive at the dealer or end customer in pristine condition.”
Having a robust set of procedures in place to ensure high levels of quality are maintained is something that our VPCs and EPCs always strive to achieve. At a time when supply chain recovery will much depend on being able to move products to the end user quickly, safely and in prime condition, our solutions mean we are well-prepared to assist customers. As Boudalis concludes: “By adopting this approach, we’re as prepared as possible – even when extraordinary events like this pandemic occur.”