The automotive industry isn’t what it used to be. Instead of storing and shipping hundreds of different automotive parts from the same warehouse or showroom, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are starting to focus their efforts on certain niches within the industry, while emphasizing personalization and innovation. Trying to keep hundreds of different parts under the same roof can be a losing game. There’s always going to be another company that does it cheaper, so companies are looking to put their own unique stamp on the industry by focusing on a particular set of products, such as aftermarket tires, smart transmissions and wireless communication systems.
OEM companies now have to compete with some of the biggest eCommerce companies in the world, including Amazon. Amazon has now sold $8 billion worth of OEM replacement parts and car care products. With increased competition, OEMs need to find a way to reduce their storage and shipping costs as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of their products and services. Here are four storage tips for OEMs looking to make their mark on the industry.
Investing in the Latest Technology
When it comes to staying ahead of the trends and competing with massive corporations, OEMs should strongly consider investing in the latest technology, such as GPS trackers, inventory management systems and even blockchain. Automotive makers utilize blockchain strategies to monitor their inventory as it moves across the globe, reduce fraud and unexpected delays throughout the supply chain and to glean new insights into their organization.
Blockchain is slowly and quietly revolutionizing the automotive industry as manufacturers look for more secure ways to move their products around the world, especially if they’re selling unique or one-of-a-kind auto parts. Retailers and distribution outlets can use blockchain to trace individual products back to their place of origin. This helps them confirm the authenticity of certain products so OEMs can maintain their share of the market.
Automotive companies can also use GPS trackers, automatic pickers and stockers and automatic order fulfillment technology to speed up routine processes so they can move their inventory to the consumer as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
Stack Racks for Tires and Other Bulky Items
In addition to investing in the latest technology, OEMs need to keep their warehouses organized so they can quickly retrieve the items they need and send them out for delivery. Companies also need to keep their inventory safe while it’s in storage, especially high-value items. A small accident could easily damage a piece of equipment, ruining a company’s bottom line.
OEMs tend to use stack racks for large and bulky items, such as new and used tires, engines and wheels. Stack racks are relatively inexpensive so they won’t inflate the company’s budget. They get inventory off the ground so companies can make better use of their storage or warehouse space. Companies can also easily customize the layout of their facility with stack racks. They can create individual aisles to keep high-demand products easily accessible. Tires tend to look alike, so employees need to be able to quickly find what they need on the shelf. Companies should label individual shelves with the right SKU, while organizing their inventory according to specific categories–such as the make and model of the vehicle.
Nesting Totes for Small, Irregular Items
OEMs can also carry fine, extremely small items that can easily get lost in the shuffle, such as screws, tubes, nuts, bolts and other supplies and replacement parts. To keep track of this inventory, it’s best to use nesting totes. These humble plastic containers are perfect for sorting and organizing dissimilar items. They come with slanted openings so workers can quickly grab the items they need without having to sort through a pile of random materials. OEMs can also color-code their nesting totes to improve efficiency.
Wire Baskets for Keeping Inventory Visible
Wire baskets are another low-cost storage solution for OEMs. During the sorting process, workers can wheel miscellaneous parts throughout the facility. Wire baskets can also be used to store large, bulky items. Without solid walls, these containers keep inventory visible. Workers can quickly recognize the items they need without reading signs and SKU labels.
The OEM industry is changing fast, but some trends never go out of style. Use the latest technology to improve your operations and invest in quality storage materials to organize your inventory.