Schäflein can deliver faster thanks to more efficient order management with the EIKONA Logistics Cloud.
What was the challenge for Schäflein when managing orders in its automated warehouse?
Schäflein AG optimisedthe processes and inventory density at its logistics centre by automating its logistics operations. Goods-to-person picking accelerated lead times in intralogistics, while employees benefited from shorter walking distances due to warehouse automation. However, the opportunities provided by automated storage and retrieval systems had not yet been fully leveraged. It was not yet possible to dynamically manage the goods while they were being transported to picking stations for individual shipping orders. Therefore, one of Schäflein AG's goals was to more precisely align retrieval speed with the shipping orders' requirements, thereby ensuring more flexibility in the material flow. Our development team took on this task and has proven to be a true process optimiser for Schäflein AG.
Solution: accelerate information flows through real-time communication
To find the right starting point for the desired improvements, our experts first had to analysethe potential for efficiency improvements in the operation of the automated storage and retrieval systems. It quickly became clear that the current technology's strengths lay in inventory optimisation. However, some speed was lost in communicating with the logistics service provider's connected warehouse management system (WMS). We therefore started with material flow planning in order to speed up goods movements on the automated conveyors. We developed a material flow control system that improves information flows and effectively links the warehouse systems to the warehouse management system via interfaces. That way, the new software also speeds up internal processes within the automated warehouses.
The ability to dynamically prioritise shipping orders after receiving them improves our customers' delivery speed. Our WMS sets the pace with EIKONA software. And our efficiency has improved in the process.
Site Manager at the Langenau Logistics Centre of Schäflein AG
Result: WMS: the leading management system
The solution now performs inventory and flow controls across all systems. The software matches unpicked and picked orders with the items' positions in the conveyor system in real time. This provides more flexibility: Based on the urgency of the orders, the material flow computer (MFC) constantly redefines the output sequence to the picking stations – which means that shipping order fulfillment is now entirely time-optimised. The solution can also use defined rules to calculate the requirements for just-in-sequence handling. The calculation considers regulations on handling hazardous substances and can use different picking processes simultaneously. The new software makes the WMS the leading system in the control structure, uses interfaces to integrate warehouse systems in individual areas and thus ensures high flexibility.
- Order-specific picking prioritisation
- Automatic material flow planning for all areas
- Faster turnaround times due to optimised information flows
About the company
Established in 1939 with three trucks, Röthlein-based Schäflein AG is now a logistics company with 1,650 employees at more than 27 locations in Germany, Austria and Poland. Interdisciplinary teams of operational logistics specialists, freight forwarders, engineers, IT experts and managers live and breathe logistics at the corporate group. All processes in the Schäflein network are IT-supported.
What are the advantages of using automated warehouse technology?
Automated storage systems serve the purpose of ensuring short lead times for goods in storage. To achieve this goal, they shorten the transport routes within the warehouses by employing goods-to-person picking in intralogistics. They increase the warehouse's inventory density while reducing the cost per pick.