Ford set to launch 'Parts Plus' – a direct sales channel for trade parts

Ford set to launch 'Parts Plus' – a direct sales channel for trade parts

As market leader in the UK, Ford becomes the first manufacturer to offer a full range of parts directly to independent repairers.

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In addition to supplying Ford and Motorcraft parts, Parts Plus will also provide access to the all-new Omnicraft range, which includes highly competitive products and prices for all major UK brands.

Operated by Ford, the 84 Part Plus Centres planned will have defined customer focused territories and improved service levels. The first Parts Plus Centre opens this summer, with each Parts Plus Centre selected and created to ensure there is customer service continuity from the current Ford Dealer partners.

Focused on meeting the needs of trade customers, Parts Plus Centres will hold tailored, competitively-priced stock of genuine Ford, Motorcraft and Omnicraft parts, supplied through a reliable and regular distribution service. Based on local business knowledge, customers can expect friendly and helpful advice from product experts and take advantage of an ongoing marketing programme.

Parts Plus customers will also receive a wide range of benefits including technical support on how to repair Ford vehicles and marketing advice on how to grow their business in an increasingly complex and competitive market.

Ford also announces the appointment of Richard Allott as Operations Director for Parts Plus. Richard joins Parts Plus from Ford Retail, where he has been TrustFirst Parts' Operations Director for the last five years.

Carlos Ovilo, Customer Service Director Ford of Britain, said: "Providing all customers with a professional and dedicated service is a key priority and this exciting initiative enables us to move our already successful wholesale offering to the next level. We are delighted to welcome Richard Allott to lead the implementation of the project – he brings with him a wealth of operating experience in this sector and we look forward to the insights and leadership he brings to the launch and Parts Plus".

Geodis team up with Delta Drone to automate warehouse inventory

Geodis team up with Delta Drone to automate warehouse inventory

After almost two years of development, the completely automatic warehouse inventory solution using drones, perfected by Geodis and Delta Drone, will be operational at the end of 2018.

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More than 1,000 flight hours in prototype mode across three pilot warehouses were required to arrive at this unique solution, which allows companies to perform completely automatic warehouse inventories without interrupting their usual operations or requiring any human intervention.

The main advantages of this solution are the productivity gains generated by performing the inventories outside warehouse operating hours, greater safety at work for the site's employees, who no longer have to carry out this tedious and sometimes risky task and a greater reliability of the inventory.

In the prototyping phase, multiple tests were carried out in real operating conditions in order to meet the specific constraints of warehouses, such as low light or the impact that the plastic film covering pallets has on image capturing, which required special adaptations to the cameras embedded in the drones.

This phase ended in 2017 with the development of a complete "plug and play" solution that can be easily moved from one warehouse to another without requiring that any prior changes be made to the warehouse. This solution also adapts to all types of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

Based on these extremely positive results, Geodis and Delta Drone are now working on producing a system that can be manufactured, focusing their attention on the solution's design and the final choice of the best components. The aim is to move to the industrial production stage at the end of the year. Initially, GEODIS will be the exclusive user of this solution in its own warehouses.

The solution designed by the Geodis and Delta Drone engineering teams is unique. It combines a ground-based robot equipped with a battery that provides the energy needed to navigate a warehouse and allows freedom from autonomy constraints, and a quadcopter drone equipped with four high-definition cameras. This set, equipped with indoor geolocation technology, operates autonomously during the hours the site is closed.

From an IT point of view, the solution enables the counting and reporting of data in real time, the processing of data, and its restitution in the warehouse's information system. The tests conducted during this initial development phase show that the solution enables inventory to be managed reliably with rates close to 100%.

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