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Ford has fi­nally cut its ties with its man­u­fac­tur­ing past in New Zealand by mov­ing its parts dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre from Wiri, near Auck­land Air­port in South Auck­land, and where Ford cars used to be built, to a brand-new pur­pose-built ware­house in High­brook Busi­ness Park, East Ta­maki, Auck­land, just a short walk from its head­quar­ters build­ing.

The move cuts a 50-year link with Wiri, but it means that Ford has been able to ap­ply its latest parts dis­tri­bu­tion tech­nolo­gies in the new ware­house, while pro­vid­ing its staff with a bet­ter and safer work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

At the same time the new ware­house, with its mas­sive al­most 10-me­tre high stacks, is geared to be able to sup­port as many as a mil­lion parts, while main­tain­ing Ford New Zealand’s abil­ity to process same-day or­ders for courier ship­ment through­out New Zealand. The new stacks are twice as high as the ones in the old parts fa­cil­ity.

The new Na­tional Parts Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­tre is equipped with an all new stor­age sys­tem aligned to Ford’s global ware­hous­ing prin­ci­ples, pro­vid­ing en­hanced ware­house op­ti­mi­sa­tion to sup­port wider stock hold­ings in New Zealand, and im­proved parts flow within the op­er­a­tion. Ford ex­pects this op­er­a­tion to de­liver sig­nif­i­cant gains to sup­ply fill rates and faster re­plen­ish­ment for the 32-strong dealer net­work and its full com­ple­ment of more than 50 sites.

Of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est is that the cus­tom-de­signed Crown parts fork­lifts that ser­vice the gi­ant stacks are de­signed to au­to­mat­i­cally fol­low a pre­set flow, guided by wires set into the con­crete, so there can be no dan­ger of col­li­sions. At the same time a com­puter-gen­er­ated card en­sures the parts are picked in the right or­der so there is no wasted time.

Corey Holter, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ford New Zealand, said the new build­ing is a sig­nif­i­cant long-term in­vest­ment to sup­port Ford’s ex­pand­ing ve­hi­cle range, but also has the Ford cus­tomer in mind.

“The new Na­tional Parts Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­tre is a big step for­ward to bet­ter sup­port our growth ob­jec­tives, help us bet­ter ser­vice our deal­ers, and ul­ti­mately help im­prove the Ford cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence at our ser­vice cen­tres,” said Holter.

“With bet­ter ac­cess, more stor­age ca­pac­ity and up­graded equip­ment, the first ma­jor part of our lo­cal sup­ply chain has been greatly im­proved and we will be able to get parts to our cus­tomers more ef­fi­ciently and with less wait­ing.”

The Ford pro­ject team has also fo­cused on im­prov­ing safety for its em­ploy­ees within the op­er­a­tion and has com­pletely re­placed its en­tire ma­te­ri­als han­dling equip­ment fleet, which comes fully equipped with a fleet man­age­ment sys­tem called In­folink.

In­folink is a wire­less fleet man­age­ment sys­tem de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured by the Crown Equip­ment Cor­po­ra­tion which en­ables Ford’s man­age­ment to col­late real time data cap­tur­ing equip­ment im­pacts, pro­duc­tiv­ity, util­i­sa­tion, energy and ser­vic­ing re­quire­ments, whilst also re­strict­ing ac­cess to com­pli­ant op­er­a­tors only.

In­foLink con­nects the ma­chin­ery to a cen­tral sys­tem. The staff need to log onto the equip­ment to use it (en­sur­ing trained staff use the equip­ment), and the equip­ment it­self is con­nected to pro­vide con­stant use mon­i­tor­ing. Also, for ex­am­ple, it records and mon­i­tors for any po­ten­tial safety in­ci­dents. And if some­thing oc­curs, the ma­chine im­me­di­ately shuts down un­til the in­ci­dent is in­ves­ti­gated or reme­died.

With an im­proved en­trance for trucks and an ex­tended canopy, the new build­ing will also pro­vide bet­ter ac­cess and pro­tec­tion for de­liv­er­ies in all weather.

Join­ing the Ford New Zealand team for the open­ing were vis­it­ing Ford ex­ec­u­tives Graeme Whick­man (Ford Aus­tralia and New Zealand CEO) and John Cooper (Ford Vice Pres­i­dent Cus­tomer Ser­vice Asia Pa­cific) as well as Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Good­man in New Zealand, John Dakin.

“We are in­vest­ing heav­ily on stylish, in­no­va­tive new ve­hi­cles that cus­tomer fall in love with and stay in love with through ex­cep­tional ser­vice,” said Graeme Whick­man.

“I know from my time in New Zealand that Ki­wis are very dis­cern­ing so we are ex­cited to of­fer them a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence when they bring ve­hi­cles to our deal­er­ships.”

Graeme be­gan his Ford ca­reer at Ford New Zealand in 1997 as a dealer oper­a­tions man­ager and later moved to mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor from 2002 to 2005. He grew up in the UK and New Zealand, and ob­tained a Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness in Mar­ket­ing from Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in 1998.

Cur­rently the ware­house is stocked with around 750,000 parts ser­vic­ing 20,000 lines. The staff who work there have been em­ployed in Ford’s parts dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house for an av­er­age of 23 years each, with five staff mem­bers hav­ing worked there for more than 30 years, and three for more than 40 years.


Over­view Ford NZ staff at the new parts fa­cil­ity in East Takai, Auck­land.

Graeme Whick­man, Ford Aus­tralia and New Zealand CEO

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