IT support from ASSIST4 Warehouse Management
The entire intralogistical process—from goods receipt to stock putaway, from picking and stock removal to packing, from complete freight document preparation to loading—is mapped by the transport and warehouse management software ASSIST4, developed by AEB. Standardisation and automation were the benchmarks in planning and designing the IT architecture of the new logistics process. For ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH, automation means not only mechanised support but process support. This support is ensured by:
One innovation that facilitates stock putaway and removal in the automatic small-parts storage area is the inclusion of both a laser-guided display and a monitor display.
ASSIST4 also supports the picking process in the manual warehouses. The warehouse management software calculates the best route within the warehouse using transport chains and priorities stored in the master data. Employees receive route-optimised driving orders on the forklift control terminal in the high-rack storage area. In the other storage areas, handheld devices are used. Scanners support the removal of the goods in all storage areas.
The pull principle, already implemented in production processes as "kanban" control, is now applied to logistics—for example, through the installation of "pulling" packing stations that are mapped in the warehouse management system.
While consolidating goods from the various storage areas at the packing stations, bottlenecks are avoided by triggering a picking order only after a line or location in the staging area shows the appropriate capacity.
Following the system-supported check for completeness, the consignment is released for packing. The packer receives a corresponding alert in the packing station application. The packing process is "qualified": Each article with a batch or serial number is scanned once more before being physically packed to make sure it is in the right consignment. This provides an extra layer of control against the errors of individuals in support of a system-wide zero-error strategy. It also enhances traceability based on batch and serial number.
The entire process is controlled and monitored by a system of indicators. All relevant process information - involved parties, lead times, consignment contents, consignment routes, track-and-trace information - is available for operational control, creating greater transparency in the process, enhancing the reliability and lowering the error rate. By consistently tracking the relevant indicators, ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH is able to continuously increase logistical performance.
The conscious selection of an integrated software package - in which warehouse, transport and export processes are mapped in a single environment - has paid off by reducing the number of interfaces.
ERBE Elektromedizin GmbH has responded to legal requirements and internal targets by reorienting itself and completely reorganising its logistical processes within two years. The sales department has been relieved of organisational responsibilities and is now able to focus exclusively on customer contact, shipment releases and availability checks.