TNB: Tell us a bit about your business. When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?
Rudolph & Hellmann Automotive was formed in the UK in 2000. It is was a joint venture between Rudolph Logistik Gruppe and Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, formed to service strategic UK based passenger car, commercial vehicle and off-highway clients. We have our headquarters in Lichfield, but operate on clients’ premises in the Midlands and Oxfordshire, with a team consisting of over 1,000 people.
We have operated with a multitude of OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the UK for all motorised vehicles, from large to low volume production centres.
What does the business do?
We specialise in providing onsite logistics services to automotive clients in the UK. By analysing processes we are able to streamline and de-risk customers’ supply chain operations.
We operate within Just In Sequence and Just In Time production facilities in the UK. We work closely with our customers to understand their requirements within a rapidly-changing industry and devise flexible solutions with the aim of optimising manufacturing costs. All aspects of the supply chain are considered, from inbound logistics through production line, product pick and despatch, to outbound logistics.
How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?
We have worked alongside our clients who are in one of the key UK manufacturing sectors and are a barometer for the country as a whole. We have reviewed our operations to provide a solid basis for what we believe will be a challenging year ahead, but one that we have identified as full of opportunity.
We do not thrive on what has happened or the negative of what potentially is going to happen, rather we look at a post-Brexit and Covid-19 impacted Britain as offering a great deal of opportunity to R&HA. The automotive supply chain is especially fast moving and we will be discussing with non-automotive clients how we can share the hard yards gained within the automotive sector to benefit their operations.
What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?
We are extremely positive and encouraged by the speed of the technological advances we are currently experiencing in the logistics industry. Gone are the days of a draughty old warehouse where service providers are paid by the head and Continuous Improvement Programs are avoided. The supply chain is now seen as a tool for enabling enhanced manufacturing efficiency and so is subjected to greater consideration and investment – for example, adopting leaner supply chain trends.
The impacts of the Internet of Things, Blockchain and the development of Activity Based Costing models through increased IT modelling will help our industry to move away from the old-style work harder to that of a work smarter environment. Data analysis helps to highlight links in the supply chain that can be strengthened by adapting processes or existing logistics – instead of working harder to move more stock faster, analysing supply chain flow to ensure precise levels are delivered to where they’re needed at the right time.
Technological advances in the field of automated picking and greater accuracy within pick to light / pick to sound techniques can increase efficiency, accuracy and comfort of our team and are key to our continued development as a business. For example, pick to light/sound provides advanced guidance for order pickers to reduce the risk of human error. Pickers are directed by light movement or sound to accelerate order preparation by reducing search time and the need to cross-reference order sheets.
Jimmy Hamilton, UK Business Strategy Director, Rudolph & Hellmann Automotive