Kuene + Nagel
Supplying the skies
An Airbus A380 jumbo aircraft is approximately 73 meters long, compared to just 42 meters for a regular Boeing 737. And on average, the A380 requires some 3,600 liters of paint in order to be completed. Judging by the numbers, one can imagine that the logistics involved in producing and assembling an A380 are equally vast. Kuehne + Nagel has been involved in Airbus logistics since 2002, when it won a contract to manage and operate all productionrelated logistics activities for the new aircraft programme. Since, Kuehne + Nagel has consolidated all local warehouse facilities into six regional hubs, which encompassed more than 150,000 square meters by 2010. This network supports Airbus in storing aircraft equipment, parts and raw materials to serve their production lines.
The hubs are located in various parts of Europe that build particular aircraft components: Hamburg, Germany (fuselage parts); Toulouse, Nantes-Saint Nazaire, France (final assembly, nose); Madrid, Puerto-Real, Spain (rudder, horizontal tail plane); and at Broughton; in the UK (wings). When the components are finished, they are transported to Toulouse via road and inland waterways where Airbus currently produces A380s at a rate of 4 aircraft per calendar month.
Kuehne + Nagel plays a significant role in the transformation of Airbus logistics management and is directly involved in the continuous improvement of its production processes. Its logistics services not only include production management – i.e. getting the right parts to the right place at the right time – it also includes supplier management, spare part- and engine- logistics as well as incident management.
The aerospace industry faces many challenges today, including but not limited to increasing demands from emerging markets, and the rise in prices of raw materials. It is important for logistics providers to be able to coordinate across the global supply chain so that companies such as Airbus can efficiently source, produce and deliver parts on a global scale, allowing them to then focus on their core business. In this particular case, the outsourcing of logistics management and operational functions within a collaborative environment, lead to improved service levels and traceability, reduced transport, warehousing, management and supplier related costs and reduced inventory levels.
European logistics companies hold a critical place amongst European industries in optimising supply chain services but they are equally global market leaders and as such, recognition of the international dependencies of the logistics sector and associated efforts for harmonisation of global standards will be important. The AEL welcomes and supports EU efforts to ensure that EU actions are favourable to trade facilitation and open market access. Considering the vital role of the Single Market, the growing importance of the Asian market and the significant transatlantic market for EU-27 external trade, EU policy should principally facilitate trade and logistics in those regions.