The wholesale company M. Bach GmbH, which specializes in building technology, has replaced an existing warehouse management system (WMS) in its central warehouse at the Eschweiler site with the industry solution pL-Store® Techline. The reason for the change was the desire for increased performance and more flexibility in all functional areas. This was to be achieved on the basis of standardized software. The company also relied on proLogistik for the selection of the necessary hardware for mobile data collection.
No mature business plan, instead a motorcycle and the desire for independence – that’s all Matthias Bach needed when he laid the foundation stone for today’s M. Bach GmbH in 1945. The result was a wholesale company for sanitary, heating and installation supplies, which today is one of the most important in the sales region. With a range of more than 250,000 articles, the selection is enormous and leaves nothing to be desired. These can be found at the headquarters in Eschweiler as well as in Aachen, Mechernich and Pulheim.
Agility pays off
Asked about the reasons for the company’s continuing success, Udo Bach, who today manages the wholesaler’s fortunes together with Michael Bach, notes with a wink: “The market shows us that it’s not the big companies that overtake the small ones, but the fast ones that overtake the slow ones.” Thus, the product portfolio is continuously adapted to the spirit of the times, as is the range of consulting services. In addition to the central warehouse in Eschweiler, a further seven pick-up warehouses in the surrounding area are within easy reach. For this purpose, 6,500 pallet storage spaces and approx. “It is a great advantage that the special specifics of our industry are mapped in pL-Store Techline,” emphasizes Udo Bach.
Time for change
The central warehouse of M.Bach GmbH in Eschweiler includes not only the automatic small parts warehouse but also so-called “manual warehouses” such as the pallet high-bay warehouse, a heating hall, a porcelain and outdoor warehouse and the pick-up market. The AKL was first occupied in 1999. In 2010, in the course of an expansion measure, a readjustment at warehouse management level was carried out in parallel by the supplier at the time. “A lot has happened since then, markets have changed and customers have become even more demanding,” says Udo Bach. “To do justice to this, it was inevitable to modernize the software in use. To this end, workshops were held with the project software provider and discussions were held with suppliers of standard software. pL-Store Techline can be used independently of ERP and already covers a wide range of industry-relevant functions in the standard version, for example, in order to be able to handle special processes in incoming goods and in external and branch warehouses in a system-supported manner. Also elementary is a smooth counter sales. The counter staff decide independently on the picking process and release it. In the course of this, it is also possible to prioritize orders.
Functionalities for everyday practice
At the request of M.Bach GmbH, an interface to Heidler Strichcode GmbH was also implemented. As soon as goods have been picked to order and placed on the staging area in front of the packing area, the employees at the packing stations scan the WA label. Once the weight has been recorded, the data can be sent directly to Heidler, where the label can be printed for the carrier or the customer. In this way, it is possible to identify products in real time and ensure traceability of the serial numbers used. In addition, the integrated volume calculation simplifies the selection of the appropriate loading equipment .
Hardware package “Made in Germany
Mobile handhelds of the latest generation with Android are used for data collection at the various functional areas of the central warehouse of M.Bach GmbH in Eschweiler. On the hardware level, proLogistik also contributed industrial PCs from its own development. Thus, IPCs of the pro-V-pad series are used both in the narrow aisle warehouse and in the automatic small parts warehouse.