In close cooperation with I+O Industrieplanung und Organisation, Heidelberg, HERMES prepared a data processing system analysis for the new logistics system and carried out the corresponding system planning.
The warehouse management system as well as the complete information technology including the radio data transmission components were awarded to the software company S&P Computersysteme GmbH from Stuttgart. Within the scope of the project, the standard modules SuPCIS-L developed by S&P were used, taking into account customer-specific adaptations.
The result of the logistics planning was a 6-aisle fully automatic high-bay warehouse realised by Mannesmann Dematic in Offenbach with approx. 11,000 pallet spaces, some of them double-deep, and a capacity of 225 storage and retrieval operations per hour. The picking warehouse is supplied with replenishment via a dynamic picking station and a full retrieval station. Production and external goods receipt and goods issue are directly connected to the high-bay warehouse via one retrieval and one storage line each.
At goods receipt, a distinction is made between externally delivered goods and internal goods receipts from production. The loading units to be stored are all batch and article clean; the Euro and chemical pallets destined for the high-bay warehouse pass through a contour and weight check.
Orders are transferred from the AS/400 HOST system to the warehouse management system (WMS). The standard software SoftM for distribution and Movex for inventory management, batch determination and production planning are used on the HOST. Both applications are linked to the WMS by file transfer via TCP/IP (FTP). Both customer orders for distribution and production orders are processed in the WMS, taking into account optimal storage and picking strategies as well as consistent batch tracking.
The picking warehouse on the first floor consists of four flow racking blocks. Picking is done with the help of picking trolleys equipped with radio terminals and mobile printers. After the order picker has logged on to the system, the next pending customer order is automatically displayed, the required carton size is specified and the corresponding shipping label is printed on the mobile printer. The order picker is guided through the warehouse in a route-optimised manner. A distinction is made between, among other things, the removal of broken pieces, packaging units and whole original cartons. Each pick is confirmed by scanning the article barcode and the picked batch. This makes missing pickings almost impossible. Replenishment for the picking channels is automatically triggered when the stock level falls below an adjustable minimum and is confirmed via MDE Online after it has been carried out. Should a compartment nevertheless be unscheduled empty, the order picker can carry out an inventory and trigger replenishment by reporting the zero crossing. Other pickers who need the same item are redirected.
Packed cartons are placed on the carton conveyor system. The weight is checked via an integrated scale and if there is a difference from the target weight determined in advance by the system, the cartons are discharged to the checkpoint. There, comparable to a supermarket checkout, all items are scanned again and the differences are determined. If the weight is the same, the goods are automatically transported via the conveyor system to the dispatch area, where the necessary delivery note papers are printed automatically.
The hardware and system software
The hardware platform for the warehouse management computer is a fail-safe dual computer system distributed over 2 computer rooms based on IBM RS/6000 computers with AIX (Unix) operating system and Oracle database.
Both the stationary workstations and the Symbol Technologies radio data terminals are connected via the TCP/IP network using client/server broadband technology.
The new logistics solution enables HERMES to significantly increase the delivery service as well as the transparency of inventories and business transactions. This is particularly evident in the processing of rush orders. At times, free warehouse capacities will be made available to other clients. Inventory management and invoicing are also carried out via the client-capable warehouse management system.
Effervescent tablet output is currently around 600 million units per year and can be increased to up to 1 billion. Every working day, around 15 tonnes of raw materials, primarily citric acid and carbonates, are processed. Production takes place in two shifts. HERMES currently delivers to a total of 40 countries worldwide. HERMES looks to the future with optimism. The dynamic growth of the past decade can be continued on the basis of the modern and highly available logistics solution.