Finished Vehicle Logistics Performance Assessment

At A Glance

Carlisle evaluated a luxury automotive OEM’s finished vehicle distribution network, from plant or port origin to dealer destination within North America. Carlisle approached this engagement in two phases. Phase I assessed the OEM’s finished vehicle transit performance compared to industry peers. Phase II investigated the feasibility of adding an inland vehicle processing center (VPC) to potentially improve service levels for more remote dealers. The findings from these two phases helped the automotive OEM identify opportunities to improve service performance without redesigning or adding to their current network.

The Context

OEMs transport roughly 17 million vehicles via the North American railways and roadways each year. Through Carlisle’s Finished Vehicle Logistics Benchmark and ongoing data collection processes (representing numerous metrics such as transit times, dwell times, cost, quality, and more), OEMs can compare the performance of their networks for both rail and haul-away legs of all vehicle transports. Deviation in any metric represents millions of dollars in excess costs and service levels that are not good enough to satisfy dealers and customers. As a result, a luxury automotive OEM engaged Carlisle to assess their logistics network. Their objectives were twofold – to learn how their network compared to the industry and identify whether they should construct a new facility to improve service levels.

The Approach

Within Phase I, Carlisle conducted an in-depth analysis at each of the client’s rail heads to compare the OEM’s rail and haul-away transit and dwell times to the field. By synthesizing transports of varying lengths, legs, and time zones into one coherent data set, Carlisle uncovered key areas of separation.

Benchmarking showed that the client had long origin dwell times – twice as long as the industry average. This is unsatisfactory service performance for the dealer and ultimately the end-user.

For Phase II, Carlisle assessed the feasibility of constructing an inland vehicle processing center to improve service levels for dealers in the central US. Carlisle used scenario analyses to identify potential locations of the VPC. Upon completion of the analysis, Carlisle concluded that the volumes that would flow through any given location did not reduce dwell times enough to justify the cost of the facility. Therefore, in current state, the client can identify opportunities to reduce dwell times using their current network, as opposed to constructing an additional VPC. A VPC would have been a high cost, high complexity solution.

In the future, as the client grows and transport volumes increase, a vehicle processing center may be a viable option.

The Result

At the client’s current volume, tracking carrier performance and making appropriate changes therein will yield the most improvement with regards to their dwell times. Ultimately, the client was given the necessary tools to evaluate their network and identify areas for improvement without adding complexity and costs to their current network.