Modine Manufacturing Company (NASDAQ:MODI) is increasing the efficiency of assembly operations by offering just-in-sequence (JIS) delivery of engine-cooling modules.

Modine's plant, Modine Montage in Wackersdorf, Germany, has started shipping engine-cooling modules to arrive at BMW's Regensburg, Germany, auto assembly plant in the correct sequence to be used within a few hours after being ordered.

Modine has been a supplier to BMW for more than 20 years and currently supplies engine-cooling modules (assemblies of heat-transfer components including the radiator, air-conditioning condenser, oil coolers, and related parts) for cars in the BMW 3-series, and cooling cassettes (sub-assemblies of all heat-transfer components with the exception of the radiator) for cars in the BMW 5-series and BMW 7-series. In February 2000, BMW named Modine its development partner for the engine-cooling system for its new roadster, which will be a successor of the popular Z3 roadster.

With JIS delivery, Modine receives data via computer about the cars coming down the assembly line at the BMW plant. As each car passes a checkpoint on the assembly line, the item number for its engine-cooling system is automatically relayed to Modine Montage, along with the time it needs to be in Regensburg. Within 120 minutes, the item numbers are "commissioned," which means taken off the shelf and readied for shipment to Regensburg. Modine Montage schedules delivery based on BMW's requirements. Each delivery truck takes about 90 minutes to travel from Wackersdorf to Regensburg.

Modine Montage and BMW invested about DM 3 million (U.S. $1.5 million) in equipment including an automated crane, material retrieval system with platform, computer software, and hardware, and DM 4.4 million (U.S. $2.2 million) in a building addition to prepare for JIS delivery,

"BMW's Regensburg plant has the greatest number of variation in its products," said Markus Busch, managing director of Modine Montage. "Seats, door interiors and exhaust-gas systems are already being delivered to Regensburg on a just-in-sequence basis, so Modine is very proud to be able to add engine-cooling systems to BMW's list of JIS-supplied products," he said.

Modine is a world leader at solving heating and cooling problems in vehicles, buildings, and off-highway and industrial equipment. Modine has annual sales of more than U.S. $1 billion and has 8,300 employees worldwide with about 2,300 in Europe. Modine can be found on the Internet at www.modine.com.