How far down the aisle? Fords UK parts distribution centre is vast

How far down the aisle? Ford's UK parts distribution centre is vast

Ford's UK aftermarket parts distribution manager, Andy Blaber, has told just-auto that he is "naturally concerned" by the uncertainties surrounding the UK's exit from the EU in 2019 and the status of continued frictionless trade between the UK and the EU.

Speaking at an event for media at the vast Ford parts warehouse at Daventry in the English midlands, Blaby also expressed confidence that Ford would meet the challenges, "whatever situation we are faced with, but we just don't know what it will be at this point in time."

Blaby also described Ford's European warehouse network as highly integrated with the ability for Daventry to source from other European warehouses if specific parts are in demand and in short-supply in the UK. "There is automatic order referral to the client centre with overnight delivery into Daventry and we onward ship from here," he said.

Ford's aftermarket parts distribution centre in Daventry was opened in 1968 and now employs around 450 people handling parts distribution to Ford dealers in the UK and Ireland, but also with some business shipping to the rest of the world to non-EU markets. The Daventry operation is part of an integrated European parts supply network that has seven big warehouses in Europe (including Cologne and Valencia) with around 101,000 Ford order lines shipped each day - and 20,000 from Daventry alone.

Ford typically holds parts for vehicles out 'at least ten years' (and longer if demand is still there) from the start of a model range's production. It holds 5,000 parts for the new Focus, for example. Blaby points out that the original manufacturing operations are dealing much more in grouped together  parts and sub-assemblies. "We're breaking those sub-assemblies down into more detail for the service business," he points out.

The Daventry warehouse is geared up to shift overnight so that parts are with dealers in the UK and Ireland by 8:00 am the next morning. Orders from dealers can be placed as late as 18:00 hrs for next-day delivery.