For over 25 years, Russelsheim-headquartered AFG has been a
leading player in the automotive outbound supply chain. BMW and
AdamOpel rank among the company’s major customers and AFG
acts as releasing agent for the former at its Leipzig plant and for the
latter at its factories in Eisenach and Bochum. It has also provided
distribution and interconnection software for the BMW Group since
Bernhard Ewe is AFG’s managing director and he is outspoken
about the challenges facing today’s vehicle distribution supply
chain. “The issue for today is one of overall quality all the way from
the factory to the dealer,” he says. “All OEMs contract the cheapest
partners. The focus on quality ends with the cheapest price. All
OEM’s are talking about sustainability, but this is certainly not
To make his case, Ewe quotes an example of a Spanish
trucking company contracted by an OEM to transport cars from its
German factory. All was well until winter arrived and the trucking
company, because it did not have winter tyres, couldn’t operate in
the icy and snowy conditions. “They were cheap and, okay, they
were only affected by the weather for a few months or weeks but at
those times it becomes a really big issue. Most people don’t think
too far ahead, they just know they have the cheapest price.”
Many people involved with the automotive outbound supply
chain are conscious that the sector is potentially facing a signi4cant
shortage of transportation capacity, particularly if European car
sales recover from their current slump. Ewe is one who is certain
this is the case.
The shortage of assets and drivers is a coming challenge, but
it is not the main issue today, it’s an issue for tomorrow,” he says.
There will be a shortage of capacity, especially in Germany where
there is no longer compulsory military service. In the past, the army
trained people to drive trucks so you could choose from a pool of
experienced drivers. That is now 4nished in Germany. Most German
males no longer have truck driving licenses, so the trucking
companies have to train their own drivers and give them
experience. Part of the problem is that, today, fewer young people
want to be a truck driver, which adds to the challenge.”
In today’s global automotive market vehicles are moving
between countries and continents at an increasing rate, meaning
that different languages, cultures and processes are in play. Ewe
There are many challenges facing the automotive
outbound logistics sector today, but are too many
companies opting for price rather than quality?
Sam Ogle
More emphasis on
quality required