Along Maranello's hi-tech assembly line, every car proceeds in the company of a red trolley, each of which is kitted out with the components that go into 'its' assigned vehicle. Here's a look at how it all happens
The Ferrari name is associated as much with performance as it is with technology. Yet for those lucky enough to get a glimpse of the hi-tech Ferrari assembly lines, something not-so-hi-tech catches the eye: each vehicle moving along the line is ‘followed’ by what appears to be a simple, red trolley. No Ferrari could be built without these mobile metal cabinets, for each one is kitted out with the parts necessary to build each individual car. And the preparation of the trolleys – the loading of the material and the way they are inserted along the assembly lines – is a wonder of logistical precision.
Everything begins when a client orders a car at the dealership. Once the order is confirmed, it is sent to Maranello. From here the assembly slot is determined and orders start going out to suppliers so that the material will arrive at the Ferrari off-site warehouse. Here is where the trolleys are prepared before being delivered to the assembly line and then partnered to ‘their’ car.
Each car assembled along Maranello’s two assembly lines (one for V12 models, the other for V8 models) is almost unique, differentiated by colours and options. Yet all the cars proceed smoothly along the same lines, Tailor Made models included. So, for example, you could have a 488 Pista, followed by a Portofino and a Pista Spider one after another, each ‘followed’ by its own personal trolley. Every car on the line needs about 10-15 trolleys’ worth of components, depending on the model and on the personalisations requested.
And before each trolley is empty, a new one – with all the necessary kit to continue production along the line – is already on its way and gets inserted ‘magically’ into the right work station at the precise moment that it is needed. A new ‘date’ is thus arranged.
A great deal of trolley preparation work goes on behind the scenes: orders sent to suppliers, components received at the warehouse, workers assigned to prepare each unique car assembly kit. One day before the car begins its trip along the assembly line the composition of the kit is delivered to the warehouse. Five hours before the car’s production is set to begin, the first trolley is loaded up and delivered to the production line.
Dedicated trucks travel back and forth between the warehouse and the Ferrari assembly lines many times a day, carrying empty trolleys in one direction, newly kitted-out ones in the other. All in all, some 550 trolleys move back and forth daily. While the whole process may all seem like magic, of course it isn’t. But next time you see a spanking new Ferrari edging its way out of the Maranello gates, think of that complex, precise assembly process that makes every one of these dream machines a possibility. And give a thought as well to that humble metal trolley.