As part of a pilot project, Fassbender-Tenten initially introduced the standard software pL-Store® Techline from proLogistik at three locations. Shorter order lead times and an overall improvement in delivery quality quickly followed. In view of these results, the warehouse management and control solution, which is tailored to specific industry requirements, is now to be rolled out gradually to other branches.
In addition, the company, which is also a partner of the cooperative “Building Savings Group”, offers services such as container services, the rental of machinery and equipment, installation support, construction waste disposal, as well as training and consulting.
More efficient processes on the agenda
The product range of the building materials distributor headquartered in Bonn includes around 59,000 parts, 8,719 of which are actively carried in inventory. Stocking takes place both in the store itself and in adjacent warehouses. In addition, there are pallet and cantilever racks as well as block and bulk storage areas in the outdoor area. Until the new warehouse management software pL-Store Techline from proLogistik went live, order picking was organized conventionally by hand. “Document-led order processing was not only associated with a high level of effort, but also proved increasingly prone to errors and in need of repeated corrections in view of the constantly growing range of products,” reports Hans Peter Ostermann, project manager at Fassbender-Tenten. There has also been a significant increase in the proportion of immediate or self-pickup customers, for whom comparatively short throughput times are of primary relevance.
After setting up the gevis ERP system of the strategic proLogistik partner, the Münster-based GWS Gesellschaft für Warenwirtschafts-Systeme, five years ago, the trading company has now taken another important step towards digitalization. In the course of this, a unified software solution for warehouse management and control was developed on the basis of the pL-Store-LVS together with Hieronimi GmbH from Faid/Cochem, which is also active within the “Bauspargruppe” – also taking into account the continuation of a common reporting standard. This application has been used by both partners since the beginning of 2018 and is being rolled out successively to all branches.
Hardware and software from a single source
This is accompanied by the objective of creating transparency throughout, so that an overview of current inventories and goods movements is ensured at all times. “Last but not least, we wanted calculable costs for the care and maintenance of the system and relied on the advantages of permanent inventory,” continues Hans Peter Ostermann. In parallel with the software, the intralogistics system house from the Westphalian city of Dortmund supplied the required number of handheld devices for mobile data collection as well as powerful, compactly designed industrial PCs. The 12.1-inch IPCs are used on trolleys in the goods receiving area.
Industry LSV adapted to individual needs
The project started in March 2017 with the creation of the specifications by proLogistik. The first go-live of the new warehouse management solution took place in February 2018 at the Fassbender Tenten site in Rheinbach. Now that the company had gained initial experience with the new software application, including paperless picking, the commissioning in Cologne-Zollstock followed in February 2019, as well as in Cologne-Bickendorf in May. “Data quality has already been significantly increased,” is the interim assessment of Aram Skripin, who has been responsible for the introduction of pL-Store Techline at Fassbender-Tenten as Head of Sales Processes and Logistics since April 1, 2019. His many years of experience in the building materials trade with this warehouse management system, should help to make the commissioning even more efficient and faster in the other branches. For example, a customer monitor was installed in the waiting area so that each individual can see the current processing status of his or her order. Furthermore, it had to be ensured that loading aids used in goods issue were reported back to the ERP for invoicing purposes.
In addition, special consideration was given to cash sales as early as the goods issue process. It is important that the order picker is shown the invoice already presented to the customer at the beginning, so that he knows whether loading aids were sold at the same time or not. Thus, identification is possible in real time and traceability is ensured for the benefit of the customer. In addition, batches can be tracked seamlessly throughout the entire process chain.
The changeover from document-managed picking to digitalized processes, including mobile data capture, was naturally also associated with new demands on the operational staff. A circumstance that simplifies the coupling of the systems even more. Another advantage of smooth interaction is reflected in the increased ability of employees with customer contact to provide information.