Mazda Introduces New System to Track OTD
Ensuring vehicles are delivered on time to commercial fleet customers is a priority for Mazda. The automaker has developed a new Web-based tracking system for keeping even better tabs on the status of fleet orders.
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is working to improve its entire order-to-delivery (OTD) process from start to finish with the introduction of a brand-new Web-based system, which tracks fleet order status and keeps everyone from the fleet department to the driver in the loop.
The new Web-based tracking system is designed to increase efficiency and communication during the fleet delivery process. Tracking begins once the fleet order is placed and creates a visible timeline, identifying an estimated OTD timeframe before the vehicle is even built.
"Everyone wants to know the average OTD time for each model," said Brenda Perez, national manager fleet operations for MNAO, who oversees all aspects of the company's fleet business, including commercial fleet and daily rental sales, remarketing, ordering, and fleet planning and operations. She has an extensive background in the automotive OEM industry, including strategic planning, international operations, sales operations, and vehicle logistics.
"OTD timing is really critical to our company and is measured as one of the company's KPIs [key performance indicators]," said Perez. With the new system, "drivers will no longer need to call their fleet departments to find vehicle status. The system will provide real-time information on a vehicle's ETA, enabling the drivers to check status online and plan their work schedules based on when the vehicles will be delivered to the dealers. Users will be able to see planned production date, actual build date, shipment, in-transit locations, and dealer delivery."
Perez said the OTD tracking system is designed to provide:
- Reduction in driver calls.
- Order transparency to customers.
- Real-time ETA tracking.
- Performance metrics.
Efforts to anticipate scheduling delays and expedite deliveries have helped considerably lessen the amount of time fleets wait for vehicles to arrive at dealers.
To deliver vehicles to fleets even faster, Mazda has also worked with the railroad companies to improve transportation of newly-built vehicles from the Flat Rock assembly plant (where the Mazda6 is built).
"We've been successful in developing a destination-based loading schedule that allows us to shorten overall OTD through improved rail interchanges and fewer transportation delays," according to Perez.
"In 2007, the OTD for our Mazda6 was 65 days, but in 2008, we made a dramatic improvement to 48 days. Even with the impact of the production and shipment delays due to the down market this past year, we managed to deliver the 2009 Mazda6 to our fleet customers in an average of 52 days," said Perez. (*Editor's note: The 2009-MY OTD time for the Mazda6 was incorrectly listed on page 16 of AF's October 2009 issue. The correct number of OTD days should be 52.)
In order to improve the truck delivery process, Mazda has implemented a "mandatory move" system that requires carriers to deliver vehicles within a committed time frame rather than waiting to build a full load. This new system has also helped to greatly reduce lead time, even in a down market.
While considerable effort is being made to shorten OTD, fleet customers will still have the opportunity to make order changes as needed within a certain timeframe. "If a vehicle is in queue and [the fleet customer] wants to make changes, there is a window," said Rob Fecher, national remarketing manager for Mazda North American Operations. "The farther out you are, the longer you have the ability to change out any specs. The system will tell you if you are able to make spec changes."