"Innovative, individual, international. - the globally operating, owner-managed BACHMANN group of companies has been successfully active in the electrical engineering sector for more than 70 years and develops, produces and sells numerous different products for various application worlds. These include the "intelligent socket", the award-winning desk connection panels or digital services and solutions for flexible and future-proof office equipment. In order to maintain the constant company growth in the long term and to be able to meet market requirements in the future, BACHMANN has decided to expand its warehouse logistics and introduce the SuPCIS-L8 warehouse management software at the Gumpelstadt site. By linking production and distribution, BACHMANN has since been able to react even faster to customer requests and reduce delivery times as best as possible.
With a customised solution to increase effectiveness
The distribution centre offers extensive usable space, allowing BACHMANN to access a large number of storage spaces for its wide range of electrotechnical components and systems. When designing the warehouse as well as the processes and storage strategies, the project partners were able to draw on the expertise of the Reutlingen-based planning office UBS (Unternehmensberatung Nobert Schröter) from the idea to the go-live. The SuPCIS-L8 warehouse management software controls and manages both the intralogistical processes and strategies in the distribution centre and, in its function as an MES, the supply of production. In doing so, SuPCIS-L8 takes over the entire control - from goods receipt to order picking to shipping - and in this way creates a smooth and digitalised material flow. In addition, the new warehouse management system's integration with the Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system enables information on order progress and the current stock situation to be made available in real time.
"In the course of expanding the warehouse logistics and introducing a software solution, it was important for us to expand the existing possibilities at the Gumpelstadt site in the best possible way and to optimally exploit the potential in the process. The flexible intralogistics strategies and paperless processes have also enabled BACHMANN to respond flexibly to changing requirements," says Thorsten Dietz, Head of Supply Chain Management at BACHMANN's corporate headquarters in Stuttgart.
The numerous deliveries, such as finished goods from the production of different locations, external supplier orders and customer returns, arrive at BACHMANN via the goods receiving area and are separated there by the employees. A special feature of the incoming goods process is the delivery of containerised goods. In order to cope with the high sorting effort in the incoming goods department, S&P has designed an additional process that significantly supports the container separation. In this way, articles can be sorted "ready for storage" using an article scan, which significantly reduces the workload of the warehouse staff.
At BACHMANN, the cable drums are managed individually by the WMS. Both length and drum type are known to the system. Via an interface to the ERP system, the WMS receives the information on the individual picking orders for cables. The orders are then displayed to the warehouse staff on the PDC devices and can be processed promptly in this way. After the cable has been cut to length, the quantity actually picked is reported back to the WMS via the PDC and the remaining quantity on the drum is returned to the buffer location. The WMS provides additional support through an automatic replenishment logic: if a cable drum on the pallet becomes empty in production, this is acknowledged and another drum is conveyed to the front position. In addition, the WMS places a replenishment order on this buffer lane and ensures stock availability in this way.
Another typical industry requirement is the management of KTG drums. These have a predefined, rent-free storage period that is stored in the system. The WMS not only manages the individual information on the respective drums, but also generates an alarm message for the control centre in the event of a critical storage period, so that this KTG drum is preferably consumed and can be returned on time.
Efficient and transparent interaction between distribution and production
The integrated multi-order picking principle ensures route-optimised and thus efficient picking in production supply and distribution in the BACHMANN distribution centre. During pick order planning, the reserved stock withdrawals are planned within a picking group. While general cargo orders are picked order-related on pallets, different picking trolleys are used in the shelf area for simultaneous picking of several orders in different strategies. Here, too, the warehouse management system optimises the processes with an intelligent logic: the shipping volume is calculated by SuPCIS-L8 before the picking process and the picking trolley is equipped with the corresponding totes or shipping cartons. Items that can be shipped directly are picked directly and shipped in shipping cartons without repackaging. Another special feature of the BACHMANN warehouse is the picking of long goods. This is carried out separately from all other order items, as these goods always have to be packed separately. In order to achieve the greatest possible efficiency, these orders can be released and processed separately for picking.
"Due to the complexity of the intralogistical processes and procedures in the warehouse, the available master data of the individual articles must be very precisely defined and maintained in our system. If an employee reports an error in the running process, the data must be corrected in order to be able to use the processes optimally. This was a challenge that we were able to solve thanks to the flexibility of the software and together with the entire project team," says Sabrina Radlach, logistics manager at the Gumpelstadt site.
Under the motto: "Long waiting times in production cost a lot of time and money!", rush orders from production have the highest priority at BACHMANN, as otherwise there is a risk of lost time in production. For this reason, the WMS automatically releases the rush orders. The "normal" orders from production, on the other hand, are triggered by the system - as soon as the time of need is reached - with parameterisable lead times per movement type and processed by the employees in the warehouse. In this context, the storage of buffer orders is added to ensure the continuous supply of production in the best possible way. In this case, the material intended for this purpose is controlled in a delivery buffer for production and only retrieved when there is a demand in production.
The C warehouse for storing bulk goods such as screws is also managed by SuPCIS-L8.If a container stock is used up, the employees can quickly and easily report the empty stock to the system by scanning the container using the MDE device.In accordance with the classic multiple container principle / KANBAN, the WMS subsequently triggers a replenishment order and thus ensures a smooth material supply.
Intelligent logistics strategy for a wide range of requirements
Against this background, the intercompany process for managing and checking accounting transactions between the sister companies was also integrated into the WMS and the backlog resolution was moved to the WMS. With the integration into the WMS, the paper-heavy, time-consuming and manual accounting activities are a thing of the past. With simple and automated processes that adapt to the material flow, the WMS efficiently handles this process and ensures the designated distribution of finished products from the production flows. A distinction is made between goods that are produced in stock and goods that are produced to order for external sales. SuPCIS-L8 ensures that the different types of use are taken into account and automates the necessary postings in the ERP in order to comply with the ownership relationships.
"By building our distribution centre and using the software solution from S&P, we have a fully comprehensive and powerful logistics solution. With increased efficiency, performance and flexibility of our intralogistics, we are now optimally equipped for the future," says Ulrich Stumpf, managing director at Bachmann Elektrotechnik GmbH.