Best Practice: Improve Performance With Single-Source Warehouse IT
Sensor technology manufacturer elobau was able to increase its warehouse performance by up to 20 percent. This was made possible by the use of a forward-looking software solution. When all systems come from a single source, interfaces are reduced and warehouse performance increases. But how do you choose the right warehouse IT? In this best-practice example, we explain the advantages of an integrated IT infrastructure and use the example of elobau to show why the introduction of a comprehensive system solution is worthwhile.
In recent years, elobau has focused on growth at its headquarter in Leutkirch. The next logical step towards the future was to look for software for warehouse management and coordinated process control. The task was to find a system that fit the company and the existing structures.
The internationally leading supplier of non-contact sensor technology and control elements has its origins in the Allgäu region of Germany. With more than 1,200 employees, the company generated annual sales of over 160 million euros in 2022. elobau supplies customer-specific solutions in 48 countries and is characterized by flexibility due to its high vertical range of manufacture.
Requirements for the New Warehouse IT
Due to the grown structures in logistics, it was important for elobau to consolidate the existing IT landscape. It was necessary to reduce interfaces and to redesign and standardize processes.
The goal was to find a system that would ensure the stability and availability of the logistics processes and display them transparently. In addition, the ongoing processes in the warehouse were to be controlled, monitored and analyzed. The challenge: an AutoStore connection and integration into the existing software landscape.
The future-proof warehouse management system (WMS) should fulfill the following 5 criteria with an extended range of functions:
- Simplify IT infrastructure
- Design processes efficiently
- Identify and eliminate inefficient processes
- Increase performance of automation systems
- Create a digital image of logistics
A Future-Proof Solution Is Required
Why was it necessary to replace the previous warehouse management system? The keyword is: future viability. The warehouse management system was an isolated solution. It could no longer keep up with the growth and restructuring of logistics. In the search for the right WMS, the following criteria were of particular importance
- Technical performance and
External warehouses were to be connected and replenishments ensured. The aim was to improve the performance of the AutoStore system with growth of around 20 percent. For the employees, the use of the software was to be made as simple as possible. Therefore, usability was an important criterion in the software selection.
The sensor technology manufacturer quickly found what it was looking for: The team around warehouse manager and lean coordinator Matthias Gromer opted for the warehouse management system PSIwms.
Optimal Integration of WMS and ERP as a Key Factor for Success
The reason for the contract award developed, among other things, from the positive previous experience. elobau has been relying on the ERP software PSIpenta since 1999. The optimal interlocking of the ERP system and the WMS contributed significantly to the decision. "PSIwms was convincing compared to the competitors with a better understanding of our needs and processes," says Gromer, explaining the awarding of the contract.
"PSIwms outperformed the competition with a better understanding of our needs and processes."
The ERP system has been successfully used by the sensor technology manufacturer for over 20 years. It was obvious to look for a WMS from the same software provider. With success: elobau was able to increase its warehouse performance through the system implementation and thus raise its IT infrastructure to a new level. "The improved process efficiency confirms the decision for the IT system," says Gromer.
The range of functions is precisely tailored to the requirements at elobau. Thanks to the optimal dovetailing with the ERP system PSIpenta, the two systems offer continuous networking of operational and process data.
Higher Performance by Connecting to the Autostore System
PSIwms takes over the management of incoming goods and storage locations as well as piece-by-piece picking. It controls the demand-based provision of components for production via transport kanban from the AutoStore system and high-bay warehouse. "The AutoStore system is the heart of our intralogistics," says logistics manager Gromer.
"The AutoStore facility is the heart of our intralogistics."
The facility offers a total of 30,000 storage locations for around 16,000 different raw parts and assemblies. Around 90 percent of the orders run through it. In the meantime, all the hardware has been connected to PSIwms.
The compact warehouse is connected to the coordinated process control via a standard interface. AutoStore is integrated into inventory management, material flow and process control through the WMS. Direct connection of the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) increases the performance of the AutoStore system by up to 20 percent. Each day, the WMS controls 550 stock placements and 2,000 stock removals at the AutoStore facility in Leutkirch.
Win-Win Situation at elobau
The interaction of the existing ERP system PSIpenta and the new warehouse management system PSIwms creates a holistic warehouse IT at elobau. "Today, we are recording an increase in performance of 15 to 20 percent due to the uniform software IT and coordinated processes," summarizes Gromer.
"Today, we see a 15 to 20 percent increase in performance thanks to the unified software IT and coordinated processes."
The advantages are obvious: The reduced interfaces simplify the IT infrastructure, optimize processes and improve performance thanks to digital mapping of logistics. In the words of warehouse manager Matthias Gromer: "One of the biggest digitization steps in our company history."