Shuttle XP VLMs Are The Heart Of The Parts Department
Braman is a premier dealer group of specialty and luxury automobiles throughout the state of Florida and Colorado. In West Palm Beach at their Porsche location they store specialty, high value tools and parts as required to repair and service these vehicles. Previously, parts were stored on open shelving and tooling was stored in toolboxes, dispensed by way of the honor system. “We needed to clean up our parts department,” says Pat Foley, Director of Parts. “We’re required by Porsche to keep specific tools on hand at all times. With tools being returned damaged or misplaced by technicians, replacement costs were growing - we needed a solution to protect these items.”
With their existing dealership location at capacity, they needed a new facility to accommodate future growth. “The new building gave us the opportunity to look for ways to solve our storage problems and we built a Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Module into our design plans,” says Foley.
Out with the Old, In with the New
In the previous facility, if parts were needed for a repair, the parts department would walk up and down aisles of shelving to locate the parts required for the job. This inefficient process was labor intensive and time consuming. For the specialty tools, technicians found what they needed from the toolbox storage area on their own. There wasn’t a tracking system in place to monitor who took what tool and when. Tools were returned damaged or completely unusable. Sometimes tools weren’t returned at all. With 18 services bays, Braman Porsche needed these specialty tools available and in working condition at all times for routine service and repair. The cost to replace the missing/damaged tools was growing and it was an avoidable expense.
“When the idea of taking over specialty tools came up initially, technicians were a bit reluctant. They were afraid this would slow them down. In reality, it was a smooth transition that sped them up,” says Foley.
Built from the Ground Up
Once the new facility was completed, Braman Porsche installed one 40’ tall Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Module (VLM) to store their medium sized parts and specialty tools for Porsche. High density, small parts inventory such as nuts and bolts remain in drawer cabinets. “The Shuttle XP is an enclosed system, protecting the Porsche specialty tools from debris and damage, which was the solution we needed,” says Foley. The unit is integrated with a Transaction Information Center (TIC), confirmation bar and Power Pick Global (PPG) inventory management software which interacts directly with their Dealer Management System (DMS) – CDK Global.
A multi-level parking garage sits on top of the Parts and Service Center. Utilizing this vertical height, the Shuttle XP VLM stretches through two floors of the garage, which only eliminated four parking spaces. With only 86 trays inside the unit, they have capacity to add more trays or additional tools and parts as required by Porsche.
Keeping Porsche On the Road
When a Porsche comes in for service, a technician determines what parts and tools they need to perform the maintenance or repair. The technician places an order in the CDK Global software which creates an order for the parts department. The parts department then receives the order in PPG and begins the picking process.
If small parts, such as nuts and bolts, are needed, they are picked from the drawer cabinets. Parts and tools stored in the Shuttle XP are delivered on a tray to an ergonomically positioned access opening. Utilizing pick to light technology, the Transaction Information Center (TIC), directs the parts and service center operator to the exact pick location, providing details such as the Porsche part number and quantity to pick. Once the pick is complete, the operator confirms it by pressing the confirmation bar below the TIC on the Shuttle XP.
After all of the parts and tools are collected, the technician is notified and the order is held at the Service Counter for the technician to pick up. After the service is complete, the technician brings any unused parts and all Porsche specialty tools back to the Service Counter so they can be returned to the Shuttle XP for storage.
“The VLM has drastically improved the process of ordering and returning tools,” says Jason Avery, Porsche Parts Manager.
Accountability for the Parts Department
When Porsche specialty tools are ordered for a job, the tool is tracked to the technician who requested it. From order, to pick up and repair until the tool is returned, the parts department knows which service technician has the tool. Tracking and accountability wasn’t possible in the previous system. Power Pick Global inventory management software integrated with CDK made it possible to hold technicians accountable for the tools they were borrowing for a repair. This has reduced the loss of tools due to damage, theft or misplacement. “There has been no slow down for our technicians. They have the correct tool, in proper working condition, when they need it,” says Avery.
To take accurate inventory tracking one step further, the parts department receives a reconciliation report each morning. If there are discrepancies between PPG and CDK, they are corrected first thing before replenishment occurs and orders start coming in. With cycle counting taking place quarterly, Braman Porsche is almost always 100% accurate due to these daily reconciliations.
Supporting Porsche Customers
The Shuttle XP also supports a retail counter at Braman Porsche. Customers can come into the dealership to purchase parts for their cars. An employee at the retail counter generates an invoice based on the part requested by the customer, picks the part from the Shuttle XP and brings it to the customer. The customer pays the invoice and is back out the door, driving away in their Porsche.