Our client is part of a multi-billion dollar group which core business is related to car transportation, storage and other value services such as workshop technical services, fleet management and remarketing. Total volume of managed cars is around 1 million/year and the overall surface of the parking storage facilities is 550.000 m2.
The operation that requires improvement (as described in attached documents) considers the reception of cars from clients such OEM companies, storage, preparation and transportation to dealerships or any other final destination.
In order to handle the cars, our client owns several facilities where new, used, or fleets cars are received from its clients (e.g. OEM manufacturers such VW or BMW), stored for a period of time and finally delivered to dealers.
Changing weather conditions can pose serious challenges for car storage and transport: Hard rain or hail often hit the cars and damage the body. In order to address this issue, our client has developed covered areas with shelter structures to store the cars before final delivery. These structures are costly to make and maintain: The existing designs are expensive and maintenance costs can be significant due to deterioration, damage with wind gale, etc.
In the past, some of the cars manufacturers tried to solve this issue by using special fabric covers which were being placed over the cars. However these fabrics often damage the body paint as occasionally they slightly move or because they use zippers (body paint is relatively sensitive).
What the client is looking for
Our client is looking for an innovative yet cost-effective solution, while keeping the current operations flexibility and lead times, to protect cars from hail. They are trying to convert this issue into a competitive advantage against other competitors, which also face the same issue. Ideally the final solution will maintain the promised value to the final customers instead of dealing with the issue after it occurs. (For example car storage insurance can address financial loss and is common in the industry but nevertheless the final customers will receive the cars with delay in the case of weather disasters).
The potential solutions are diverse and can come from many disciplines ranging from direct protection (use of foams to coat the surface temporarily, to inflatable structures or maybe different fabric covers) to indirect protection (e.g. unconventional ideas such as clever reengineering of the storage protection process or a system to push out the hail clouds when approaching the storage areas).
Our assumption is that there are existing solutions in other industries for protecting materials or goods that can be transferred to this sector.
Submissions should be a 3-4 pages document MS Word including:
- Description of your proposed solution and required adaptation to solve the issue.
- Rationale to fulfill each evaluation criteria (see below the 4 evaluation criteria with associated details).
In addition you should provide documentation (e.g. specifications of an existing commercial product, sketches, process diagrams…) to clearly demonstrate feasibility of your proposed solution.
1. Car Protection
- Proposed solution must effectively protect the cars against hail.
- Proposed solution cannot damage the painting surfaces, chroming, or the rubber bands on the car surface.
2. Solution cost
- Total cost (including solution acquisition, application and maintenance) per car should be below 0,1 Eur. (Solution cost should be below ten cents of euro for each car that comes into the storage area and leaves afterwards).
3. Operations flexibility
The solution should not affect to current operations in terms of efforts and process lead times.
- Easy spread /cover the car at reception
- Easy driving the car for preparations / checks
- Easy removing the protection when leaving the storage area (by cleaning or just taking out the cover)
- Current lead times cannot be increased
4. Feasibility of the proposed solution
- Existing commercial solution (e.g. system to push out clouds)
- Innovation from an existing solution that requires an improvement (e.g. a cover + new zippers + new interior fabric)
- Innovation from an existing solution in the market with a different application (e.g. a kind of foam used to protect materials elsewhere)
To demonstrate feasibility:
- Provide documentation (e.g. specifications of an existing commercial product, sketches, process diagrams…)
- Include a description on how to adapt and deploy the existing solution into the current operations.
- First round of the tournament will be 6 weeks
- Second round of the tournament (if needed for clarifying the feasibility of the solution) will be 2 weeks
- Third round of the tournament (if needed for clarifying the feasibility of the solution) will be 1 week.