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Back Successful supply chain makeover in the Automotive industry

Businesses rely on contracts to implement terms and expectations. But what happens when the world changes so quickly that it becomes difficult to maintain your obligations?


Plastic Omnium, a French automotive supplier




Address critical supply chain challenges during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic


  • Continued supply to customers in the Asia Pacific region
  • Diversified supply chain by using different modes of transport
  • Increased sustainability in supply chain by using rail
  • Greater visibility thanks to innovative tracking system

Plastic Omnium is a French blue-chip company that manufactures automotive parts in various locations around the world. As the effects of the coronavirus began to be felt globally, Plastic Omnium’s supply chains faced new challenges specifically in the Asia Pacific region. The company had to find a new solution to ensure their customers received their deliveries. To achieve this goal, they sought the expertise of their logistics partner, Kuehne+Nagel.  

“The coronavirus caught everyone by surprise,” says Manuel Purwin, Regional Industry Champion of Automotive & New Mobility at Kuehne+Nagel, “but we were confident that our strategy and services could support Plastic Omnium during this period.” 

The Quick difference

The first task was to address the critical shipments that required expedited delivery. Plastic Omnium decided to use Quick, a premium service in Kuehne+Nagel’s air logistics portfolio. This priority service is specialised for critical deliveries and was ideal for the rapid deployment of auto parts from Europe to Asia Pacific. 

Optimisation of Supply Chain

Kuehne+Nagel also advised alternative ways to optimise and diversify the supply chain by assessing different transport options, comparing the speed of a hypothetical amount of cargo when shipped using different modes of transport. The modelling showed that rail freight could transport the goods to the destination much faster than sea freight. Another advantage of rail is that it has fewer emissions than sea freight, supporting the company’s sustainability goals.

The next generation of tracking

Visibility is essential for a resilient supply chain, allowing greater oversight and enabling better decision-making based on accurate information. Plastic Omnium wanted to trial a solution that provides visibility and exact location of an air shipment around the clock.  Most tracking solutions rely on the staff at each hub scanning a shipment when it is received and transferred. To provide Plastic Omnium with the visibility they required, Manuel knew that he would have to find a different solution. He immediately contacted his Pharma & Healthcare colleagues, who provided him with an innovative tracker that uses cellular networks to continually broadcast location information. Within two weeks, the trial was implemented, allowing Plastic Omnium to test the solution. 

"Plastic Omnium availed the services of Quick International (part of the Kuehne+Nagel group) during the Covid-19 crisis for critical shipments. On several occasions, employees of Quick International were proactive in finding solutions for export shipments allowing us to not jeopardise Plastic Omnium’s and customers’ operations."

Santosh Ramani  
Global Logistics Commodity Manager at Plastic Omnium

The Kuehne+Nagel team looks forward to continuing to support Plastic Omnium to develop a resilient supply chain and achieve their business goals.