From dream to manufacturing of a sports supercar
FileMaker Platform is a key tool to control logistics, production and customer service processes at the young Mexican company VUHL, manufacturer of exclusive supercars.
Thirty years ago, in Mexico City, brothers Iker and Guillero Echeverria watched their father work night after night to design and build them the toy car of their childhood dreams — one with an engine. The boys amazed other children when they drove the small vehicle through their neighborhood.
Three decades later, Iker and Guillermo Echeverria traveled to England in June 2013 to present their creation, the VUHL 05, a road-legal lightweight supercar, at the annual Royal Automobile Club exhibit, the heart of motor sports industry worldwide. And just two years later, they opened the first VUHL manufacturing plant in Queretaro, Mexico, using the FileMaker Platform as one of the technologies in the manufacturing of their exclusive sports car.
The art of combining ideas, wills and resources
Iker and Guillermo inherited a passion for design, racing and design perfection from their father, Guillermo, who won local professional races. Those qualities led them to become industrial designers and to create the stunning VUHL 05. VUHL, short for Vehicles of Ultra-Lightweight and High Performance, pays special homage to their father with the addition of 05, his competition number.
The VUHL car belongs to a range of supercars, vehicles for motorsport enthusiasts who value design, speed, performance and innovation. The VUHL 05 model is a lightweight two-seat roadster, with simple lines and a touch of refined ferocity that delivers a maximum speed of 152 mph and the ability to go from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
According to Guillermo Echeverria, CEO at VUHL, the creation of the car is due to the alignment of four fundamental conditions: the availability of design and aerodynamics tests software tools; the support of CONACYT, an investment firm; the willingness of the automobile industry suppliers to collaborate; and the European Parliament and Council of the European Union ratification to register sports cars of low-volume production.
Series production requires serious processes
Low-volume series production was the goal of VUHL’s creators.
“Our company must be a profitable business, with a production line, distributors, international clients, first-class service and future growth,” Guillermo Echeverria said.
“The 2010–2013 period was dedicated to design, prototype creation, research and development. But a day after the presentation in England, our new challenge was the supply chain,” he added.
The VUHL team’s supply chain management specialist suggested the use of the FileMaker Platform to create the supply chain and enterprise resource planning solutions. A beta version of the solution was designed in-house and tested in order to give order and structure to the logistics and production model.
“We saw a great potential [in the FileMaker prototype] therefore we decided to go ahead and look for an expert FileMaker developer to create a solid solution. That was how we started working with Creative Databases , a leading FileMaker Business Partner in Mexico, who presented a custom-made proposal and work plan to suit our needs,” explains Guillermo Echeverria.
A VUHL 05 has 1,500 different parts, each with a unique part number, delivered by more than 100 suppliers around the world. The challenge for Creative Databases was to develop a solution to manage all of the related processes through a flexible, versatile server-based tool that could be accessed from a desktop as well as from a mobile device.
The FileMaker solution integrates SCM and ERP modules for all the logistics and production processes. Starting with the precise location of a part from the moment it leaves the supplier’s factory, each step along the way is tracked via FileMaker until the part passes through customs and reaches the warehouse. That includes cost control and inventory for each of the car’s parts.
To make the work easier, the solution includes a check-point or stoplight system that graphically monitors the delivery and process. It takes just a glance at the iPad or iPhone’s screen to know the status of a particular process using the mobile version of the solution running on FileMaker Go.
“Thanks to the control tools, we are able to know the name of the worker who placed a part in the warehouse, the shelf from where they removed it and the cost of the materials at the plant,” added Echeverria.
A world-class post-sale experience
According to Guillermo Echeverria, his customers typically own a high-level sports car already. So when they buy a VUHL they get a world-class purchasing experience, personalized for their specific needs. To meet that expectation, clients are informed of the car’s key manufacturing processes. First, they are invited to be present at the assembly stage of the aluminum-based honeycomb monocoque, or external skin, of the car’s body. This external skin, made of hundreds of extrusions parts put together with aerospace adhesives, is processed at a blast furnace chamber that is as clean as a hospital operating room. Weeks later, the customer can visit the plant, to start the car’s engine for the first time with all the electronics and connections ready.
To track these key customer events, the Customer Relationship Management module was developed on the FileMaker Platform. Through the module, distributors can register clients and prospects, configure a car online and know the time of delivery. Likewise, the clients can review the car’s progress and receive invitations to the VUHL plant for those key milestone events. And potential buyers can use a website, powered by FileMaker, to configure the car according to available options.
FileMaker Solution Integrates Three Modules:
SCM (Supply Chain Manegament) | ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) | CRM (Customer Relationship Manegament)
How does this help?
- To manage all of the related processes through a flexible, versatile server-based tool that could be accessed from a desktop as well as from a mobile device.
- Precise location of a part from the moment it leaves the supplier’s factory, each step along the way is tracked via FileMaker until the part passes through customs and reaches the warehouse.
- To make the work easier, the solutions includes a check-point or spotlight system that graphically monitors the delivery and process.
- Track all the cost control and inventory for each of the car’s parts. Register clients and prospects, configure a car online and know the time of delivery.
- It takes just a glance at the iPad or iPhone’s screen to know the status of a particular process using the mobile version of the solution running on FileMaker Go.
Smooth roads ahead for VUHL
Now with the growth of the business they are moving into a new plant, also located in Queretaro. When the new VUHL plant opens its doors, it will have all the necessary technological tools to manufacture the VUHL 05. The logistics, production and customer service process control are already in place, so the Echeverria brothers can dedicate their time to their passion, imagining and creating new motorized dreams.
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