Case Study

MAHLE Aftermarket

AutoStore Revitalizes MAHLE Aftermarket's Order Fulfillment

Kardex Holding AG

Learn how MAHLE Aftermarket's move to AutoStore's automation met rising demands for specialized parts, boosting efficiency and customer satisfaction.

improved performance

MAHLE Aftermarket has been one of the premier global suppliers of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) equivalent automotive parts to mechanics and private individuals for over a century. Until recently, customers typically purchased larger orders from a catalog comprising seven major brands and thousands of parts. However, recent years have seen some surprising changes in the automotive industry, as drivers of older vehicles work to keep them roadworthy and a wide range of cars and trucks requiring specialized parts are gaining popularity.

As a result, MAHLE Aftermarket has witnessed a shift from bulk or palletized purchases to smaller, more specialized, and more frequent orders. In order to keep up with demand and continue getting quality parts to their customers, they determined that an automated warehouse system was the solution they needed.


The challenge

Until recently, a traditional pallet-and-rack system was sufficiently agile for MAHLE Aftermarket to process and ship orders in bulk. However, because customers’ orders were getting smaller and more frequent while their inventory remained as broad as ever at over 100,000 OEM and aftermarket parts, their system was no longer efficient enough.

They decided that the best way to connect customers with their products was to implement an automated warehouse solution that would facilitate the picking, packing, and processing of more selective purchases. In addition, with the company-wide Digitalization and Automatization Strategy “Warehouse 4.0” already underway, MAHLE Aftermarket was looking for a modular, space- and time-efficient solution for their Olive Branch, MS facility, which would integrate with an overhauled logistics model.

“Our motivation to increase the level of automation in our warehouses came from a need to increase efficiency in order fulfillment, and a desire to provide our channel partners with the best service in the industry”, says Jon Douglas, President Aftermarket North America at MAHLE. "The space-saving AutoStore solution is able to provide the speed, precision, and reliability that our customers demand in today's fast-paced world", he added.

Benefits of the AutoStore system

By combining their expertise on customers’ changing purchasing habits with the AutoStore system, MAHLE Aftermarket was able to establish an order-fulfillment system capable of accommodating current demand and scaling to meet future expansion. In addition, the standardized logistical operations the AutoStore system makes possible will bring the Olive Branch facility into line with MAHLE Aftermarket’s commitment to increased efficiency and consistent customer satisfaction through shorter shipping times and fewer processing errors.


How the system works

The AutoStore system put in place in Olive Branch will initially consist of 18 AutoStore R5 Robots™ to sort, carry, and deliver any of 42,000 storage Bins to five CarouselPort™ workstations and two ConveyorPort™ workstations for picking and replenishment. Light goods conveyors will then carry items from these workstations sorted for LTL and parcel outbound processing.

As a fully modular system, AutoStore has been adapted for use with MAHLE Aftermarket’s existing SAP EWM warehouse management system. Furthermore, the standardized parts used in the AutoStore system will minimize installation time in the Olive Branch facility while retaining the capacity for further modification or expansion. Without requiring additional staff, the new system can increase storage capacity by up to 4 times and performance by up to 10 times that of MAHLE Aftermarket’s former logistical model.

Project overview

Bins: 42,000 Bins
Robots: 18 R5 Robots
Workstations (Ports): 5 CarouselPorts and 2 ConveyorPorts for picking and replenishment
Integrated technology: 1 light goods conveyor system for sortation to LTL and parcel outbound processing
Partner: Kardex

"We are confident in facing the increasing challenges of the market with a flexible, sustainable and technologically advanced AutoStore solution that is capable of handling our growth for many years to come."

Georges Mourad
Director and General Manager MAHLE Service Solutions, MAHLE Aftermarket

“The space-saving AutoStore solution is able to provide the speed, precision, and reliability that our customers demand in today's fast-paced world.”

Jon Douglas
President Aftermarket North America, MAHLE

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