Inform, the Aachen, Germany-based optimization specialist, is expanding its business relationship with AUTO1 Group, a digital automotive platform for buying and selling used cars. Following a pilot of INFORM’s vehicle Yard Management System (YMS) in 2022, AUTO1 Group and INFORM expanded the solution to a total of ten locations throughout Europe by the end of 2023. The system supports AUTO1 Group by providing end-to-end transparency and more efficient processes in the parking areas of the production centers. In addition, in 2023 AUTO1 Group and INFORM turned their focus from the optimization of parking areas to the optimization of work flows within the production centers.
AUTO1 Group offers consumers and professional car dealers across continental Europe a fast and easy way to buy and sell cars. AUTO1 Group has created a strong European production footprint with ten internal facilities to refurbish used cars for its Retail brand Autohero, the leading online shop for used cars for consumers in Europe. Internalizing the production of used cars allows Autohero to fully control each step of the process, including quality control, reconditioning, cleaning, as well as capturing photos and videos to ensure excellent car quality. AUTO1 Group currently has an internal production capacity of up to 179,900 vehicles per year at full capacity at their production centers across Europe.
Working with INFORM has been a success, according to Karol Niznik, Vice President Logistics & Production of AUTO1 Group: “The Yard Management Software has helped to improve our processes, giving us transparency of all vehicles at our sites at all times. It is therefore only logical to take the next step with INFORM. We expect similar improvements in the production centers by using the Workshop Optimization System.”
The process of refurbishing used cars is particularly challenging as a high variety of different makes and models from different build years goes through the process. Each car brings a high level of complexity to the production center in terms of resources required, spare parts, and scheduling. As a result, it is a complex task to estimate how much time will be needed to repair a specific vehicle at a given time, and adjustments to the schedule are inevitable. INFORM’s Workshop Optimization Software is designed to help with that. “With our Workshop Optimization Software, it is made clear who is working on what and at which workstation. The goal of the software is to automatically adjust the optimized schedule if any changes need to be made in the refurbishment process,” explains Hartmut Haubrich, Director of Vehicle Logistics at INFORM.
According to Haubrich, completed projects with other partners show up to 20 per cent higher productivity in the workshop. “We’re constantly working on optimizing our processes in the production centers in order to prepare vehicles in the most efficient way, which is essential for high customer satisfaction,” says David Len, Director Production Europe of AUTO1 Group.
A special feature of the INFORM system are mathematical algorithms based on operations research and artificial intelligence. They can calculate processes in real time, taking into account company-specific planning parameters, and automatically assign tasks to suitable resources.