By introducing a warehouse management system, Rullko Großeinkauf GmbH & Co. KG, a nationwide food supplier for the mass catering and gastronomy sectors, has created end-to-end transparency regarding inventories and processes. At the same time, order throughput times were shortened, errors eliminated, and food safety requirements further increased. The expertise required for this, including software and hardware, was provided by proLogistik.
Us Joy of Quality” – under this maxim, Rullko has been supplying both commercial kitchens and catering businesses throughout Germany with a wide range of food products for more than 90 years. At the company’s headquarters in Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia, located directly on the A2 freeway, Rullko employs around 150 people and stocks a full range of more than 20,000 articles there. Rullko Großeinkauf is certified according to the IFS Logistics standard and is also a cooperation partner in the Intergast Großverbraucherservice Handelsgesellschaft mbH group of companies.
Improved performance in view
Fresh meat and sausages, dairy products, dry goods, canned goods, beverages, frozen foods and non-food items are stored on a total area of around 20,000 m². Accordingly, the areas are divided into dry, fresh, frozen and seasonal storage. Until the switch to an end-to-end digitalized warehouse management system, logistics were handled with the help of pick lists that were processed manually.
“At the beginning of 2017, we decided to introduce a warehouse management system in order to increase inventory accuracy, reduce errors in picking as well as in goods receipt, and shorten order lead times,” explains Uwe Langerbeins, Head of EDP, Organization, Controlling, Logistics, Accounting and Administration at Rullko Großeinkauf GmbH & Co. KG. At the same time, those responsible promised themselves further improved traceability through optimized MHD and RLZ as well as batch management.
Phase model creates security
The intralogistics system house proLogistik, located in nearby Dortmund, was commissioned with the implementation of the project: “Short distances and the company’s many years of experience in the implementation of warehouse management systems were factors that influenced the choice of provider. No less relevant, however, was the fact that proLogistik not only supplies the software, but also the necessary hardware from a single source. In addition, the industry application pL-Store Foodline was convincing. “With this solution, we offer a warehouse management system in which numerous functions that are especially relevant for food wholesalers are already included as standard,” adds Richard Martin, who is responsible for industry sales Foodline at proLogistik.
After initial detailed clarifications in mid-June 2017, the specifications were accepted just two months later, so that implementation of the pL-Store Foodline warehouse management system, including its connection to the existing Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning system, could begin. Commissioning took place in four stages between February and July 2018. “The phase model was chosen to reduce complexity and thus the implementation risk,” explains Richard Martin. For example, the Easter business is comparatively uncritical, so that customers would not be particularly affected by any start-up difficulties that might arise. Consequently, the seasonal warehouse was equipped with the pL function modules goods receipt and transports in order to “start picking” directly after receiving the Easter goods.
Voucherless to increased productivity
The go-live in the dry and fresh storage areas as well as in the deep-freeze warehouse set up at a separate location was completed successively. Since then, order processing has been paperless throughout. Forklifts have also been equipped with on-board computers to handle transports in the main warehouse as well as in the frozen food warehouse. Furthermore, robust and handily designed data acquisition devices are in use in the order picking area. Initial skepticism of individuals towards the new technologies was quickly dispelled. “In this context, too, the phase model proved its worth, because the employees affected in each case were able to be optimally prepared through on-the-job training in areas that had already been switched on,” says Richard Martin.
No complex adjustments required
Thanks to online inventory management, orders can be checked for plausibility in terms of goods availability and processed in real time. If Rullko also selects this option in the future, it will be possible to combine partial quantities from different orders, thus saving further walking distances. The statistics generated can be visualized and made available to other departments or used for presentation purposes.
Fit for current and future requirements
Today, Rullko Großeinkauf in Hamm manages a total of around 14,000 storage spaces, distributed over two warehouse locations, using the pL-Store-LVS. At the material flow level, constant adjustments to the daily order situation ensure the best possible coordination of available resources, such as means of transport and personnel. “To say that there were no discussions or teething problems during implementation would be frivolous given the complexity of the project,” emphasizes Uwe Langerbeins.” But thanks to the implementation expertise of the proLogistik team and a partnership of equals, any problems that arose could always have been cleared up quickly.”
With further improved, system-supported traceability of goods, food safety is also guaranteed in the future.