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Ford - Annual Lines of Orders Total 360,000

Ford's supply of spare parts moves goods ranging from oil filters to rear axles for pickups. At their quickest, deliveries are made within 24 hours.

Whenever one of the 68 Ford spare parts dealers in Finland needs spare parts for servicing a vehicle, the order goes to Ford's central warehouse in Örebro, Sweden. Yet, the orders are coordinated and monitored in the Veromies district of Vantaa by Ford's marketing coordinator, Esa Nyström.

"At best, if an air freight order is placed by 15:30 today, the purchase will be delivered tomorrow morning at 7:30 to any retail dealer located as far as Central Finland," says Mr. Nyström.

It is true that air freight is a rare exception, though. The most typical and most affordable form of ordering is a stock order: that is, a truckload of service parts like oil or air filters, brake blocks or brake discs. This is dispatched overland from Örebro, arriving in Finland by ferry. The buyer will have the goods within 3–4 days.

At best, land carriage is available on the following day if an express order is placed.

"If an express order is placed today by 15:30, it'll be delivered tomorrow by 16:00 at best," Mr. Nyström says.

Not all spare parts orders follow this routine, however. As an example of the other extreme, Mr. Nyström brings up the back axle of a Ford Ranger pickup, which weighs hundreds of kilos.

"Any Ranger part can come from any part of the world: say, like truck beds from Thailand," he says. "This back axle here came from South Africa where the truck was manufactured. We try to avoid air freight from South Africa because there are no direct flights, but sea freight to the central warehouse in Cologne does take 30–60 days. As a rule, every part is available at the central warehouse in Cologne."

Although the economic recession has hit the new cars markets, the spare parts business has remained quite stable. As the motor vehicle population grows older, aging cars need service and new parts anyway. Ford drivers have proven to be faithful authorised service users.

"Authorised service is of great significance, as cars are taken to a place where there is a trained mechanic with equipment," says Mr. Nyström. "We're monitoring and assessing the situation, of course, so we know we're highly competitive also with regard to the price of spare parts."

For land carriage, Ford's logistics partner is PostNord. PostNord processes orders first from Örebro to Turku and then to the PostNord warehouse in Vantaa, where the orders are repacked and dispatched to retail dealers. This is the so-called InNight service, or scheduled overnight deliveries.

Spare parts traffic is quite the rigmarole, since there are some 220,000 different active spare part codes. In total, there are over a million labels, but most of them are already outdated.

"We supply about 360,000 rows of orders annually," estimates Mr. Nyström, "and a single row may contain an order for a hundred oil filters, for instance; so that's spawning a lot of filters in one go. Of these, 85–90 percent passes through PostNord."

Considering the volume of this stream of goods, spare parts traffic is running very smoothly.

"I checked from last month's statistics that 30,000 rows of order had resulted in a total of 13 reports due to either transport damage or package loss, so that's 0.05 percent of all transports," Mr. Nyström observes.

The smooth cooperation between Ford and PostNord is backed by ten years of experience.

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