PARIS -- Logistics company DHL is looking to increase the amount of shipping it does for car companies at the pre-launch and launch stages by offering an integrated approach, head of automotive Fathi Tlatli told the Automotive News Europe Congress in Paris today.
Tlatli said shipping everything from pre-production parts to test cars for press launches via air, rail, road and sea was currently worth "hundreds of millions" of euros to the company. He wants that to rise to more than 1 billion euros in the future but declined to give a time frame. He added that the work DHL does on vehicle launches represents 10 percent to 15 percent of the firm's automotive air freight business.
"Very often, launch logistics tend to be neglected as a total approach," said Tlatli, adding that this can increase costs if a contingency plan is needed.
"If you are not prepared, then you have to take anything available and you don't know what the options are," he said. "This way you tend to have more alternatives."
DHL's integration can go as far as having a representative sit in on meetings right at the car's planning stage to give logistics advice, Tlatli said.
The increasingly global nature of new-car launches can bring extra problems, particularly if there are small regional variations, according to the company. "Sometimes it requires some parts adaption of the vehicle, for example, sedans in China are often more stretched than those in Europe," Tlatli said.
The firm has also improved its risk analysis in the form of what it calls a "risk dashboard" that displays a map of the world showing logistics flow, including the density of those flows to better plan for disaster contingencies.
Said Tlatli: "You have a disaster every week, because the globalization of supply chains has an impact."