Successful stories we are writing in Epilog. For more than 25 years, based on your trust and our solutions, we have been writing stories that help you to optimize your operations and growth.
ATLASWMS SUPPORTS SAPA’s GROWTH ASPIRATIONS
Sapa Building Systems is one of the largest suppliers of aluminium building systems in Europe and is part of the Norwegian group Sapa. It has subsidiaries in 20 countries worldwide and is recognized as one of the leading European manufacturers of aluminium building solutions.
A large scope of operations usually brings about many challenges. Sapa Building Systems Ltd in Tewkesbury (UK) were faced with such challenges when they aspired to optimise the operation of their warehouses and processes. If, at the very beginning, there was still a hint of doubt on the part of our client about our system and operations, it disappeared practically immediately. In their own words, “When selecting a supplier, there are always concerns about how we are going to get along and whether we would be able to establish a long-term partnership. Very soon our fears subsided as Epilog’s team proved that they are experts in warehouse operations, that they are proactive towards work, and are able to find solutions to problems in an innovative way. They understand operational requirements and offer the client even more than what was agreed. They were very patient and resourceful throughout the process. And last but not least, they adapted to Sapa’s way of work in no time!”
How? By introducing the AtlasWMS system, we have created substantial additional savings in time and money: now Sapa can ensure the traceability of stock, the movement of forklifts has been optimised, the number of pickings of material has been reduced through consolidation, and all paper-based working methods have been eliminated.
Even though AtlasWMS is, in essence, a warehouse management system, we have expanded its application for Sapa Building Systems Ltd. Thus, we fully supported their rolling line process, including the supply and use of material, as well as the handling of products and offcuts. In addition, our AtlasWMS system manages the supply of material for the kit production necessary for the assembly of end products and the delivery of finished kits back to the warehouse.
The picking of material was organized and adjusted depending on the type of material, warehousing type and location (customer or production). The picking process can also depend on priorities on the level of the order item, the shipping date, the route and other criteria, making the operations more transparent and enabling the more efficient organisation of work.
Forklift drivers now have an overview of the requested movements and their order of priority, as defined by the warehouse manager. The Hubtex multidirectional side loader ensures movement optimisation in horizontal racking and organises forklift movements into efficient combinations, resulting in minimizing forklift side/aisle movement changes and other time-consuming movements.
The vertical carousel with accessories, working according to the ‘goods-to-person’ principle, is integrated into AtlasWMS using a TCP/IP interface and external displays with additional information needed for picking processes. In order to reduce the number of incorrect deliveries, AtlasWMS fully manages the shipping area with containers on locations and controls packages and stillages until they are loaded on the truck. With AtlasWMS Dashboard, a web system for the visualisation of key indicators such as total stock, turnover, performance in picks/hour, etc., the current situation in the warehouse can easily be tracked.
Our British mission was successfully accomplished, which is also reflected in the reaction of the satisfied client, Nigel Eley, Operations Director at Sapa, “Since AtlasWMS is implemented we have seen a benefit in stock accuracy, material flow has improved significantly, as well as stock accuracy at location level. We now have a system in place that will support Sapa in its growth aspirations!”
WE HAVE AUTOMATED THE STATE-OF-THE-ART SANDOZ-LEK LOGISTICS-PACKAGING CENTRE
In September last year, Lek Pharmaceuticals, a member of the Novartis division for the production of Sandoz generics, opened a new packaging and distribution centre in Lendava, Slovenia. This centre supplies pharmaceutical products from Sandoz’s factories around the world to more than 60 European and world markets.
Epilog provided the “brain” for the logistics part, i.e., an automated high-rack warehouse with a capacity of 11,000 palettes. With Atlas MFCS (Material Flow Control System) we entirely automated the processes for warehousing palettes of intermediate goods, the processes for supplying the packaging plant with intermediate goods, the warehousing of end products, and the automatic preparation of dispatches. The automated system is made up of three rack-feeders with two tables made by Swisslog; a comprehensive inter-rack transport; two fast trolleys on the same axis, both featuring two tables for the transport of palettes in and out of a remote packaging plant; and an automated system for sorting dispatches into distribution channels. The customer’s ERP and MES systems – SAP and Werum – were connected with Atlas into a single, entirely automated system that does not need to be manned. Lek previously performed all of the aforementioned processes manually, with forklifts, which was very time consuming. Today, this method of work would no longer enable them to keep up with the enlarged capacities of the renovated packaging centre.
A major challenge for us was the extremely short implementation deadline – only nine months from the signing of the contract to the opening of the centre. Before signing the contract, we successfully passed a particularly strict evaluation by the suppliers of the Novartis department for QA. In the implementation phase, Atlas was modified so as to ensure 100% traceability of user interactions in addition to the existing 100% traceability of material flow. This functionality has now been added to our standard implementation.
We are particularly proud that the entire project was successfully completed in accordance with Novartis’s extremely demanding pharmaceutical standards FDA/ GMP/ Part 11.
BELARUS EXPORTER’S CAREFREE WAREHOUSING
The leading Belarus producer of natural dairy products and juices Savushkin Product tackled the challenge of automation of their palette warehouse and streamlining of the logistics of the more than 200 different products that they export to many Asian and European countries.
As the recipient of the prestigious title of socially responsible brand of the year, Savushkin Product is committed to ensuring the naturalness and high quality of each of their products. Savushkin Product operates in the food processing industry, producing sensitive products with very specific demands. In order for their buyers to enjoy the best dairy products, the company needs to comply with numerous strict conditions for preserving quality, from warehousing methods, to appropriate temperature and monitoring use-by dates.
In May 2015, Epilog helped Savushkin Product to achieve the successful launch of their automated palette warehouse by installing our AtlasWMS – Warehouse Management System software solution. Due to the diversity of the products and their distribution paths, 6,720 palette locations needed seamless logistics, and support had to be provided for all of the required processes and specific features that are characteristic of the food processing industry. In addition to the automation of warehousing processes and automated picking, we also optimised the process of the manual overview of smaller work orders and ensured better product loading and dispatch control.
As the company exports more than 200 products under six own brands to countries ranging from Russia to Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Moldova, it was facing the challenges of simplifying processes and improving the identification of palettes, stock and picking locations. At the same time, it wanted to ensure a user-friendly experience based on the successful integration of Epilog’s AtlasWMS system with the external systems of the client’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) systems of the companies responsible for operating individual devices.
The workers also confirmed that this is an excellent solution. We prepared a graphic interface in Russian for them – even using the Cyrillic alphabet – and adapted it in such a way that the user can use the system primarily by scanning.
ATLAS GLOBAL CONNECTS ALL WAREHOUSES INTO AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM AT RICHARD KÖSTNER AG
Towards the end of January, we successfully put into operation the central warehouse of the German company Richard Köstner AG, one of the largest technical equipment companies in northern Bavaria, established as early as 1934.
With our AtlasWMS software, Richard Köstner AG will supervise and manage their warehouses more easily. In May 2014, we successfully put into operation their automated warehouse in Bamberg, Germany, while at the end of January we connected the first of four of their manual warehouses in different locations into an integrated system with Atlas Global. The latter is a module of the AtlasWMS software that now offers Richard Köstner AG one-stop-shop central management of several warehouses in different locations – with a single application and from a single central server. The system provides the company with a simple management process and enables an insight into stock and order status, as well as other important information – for all of the warehouses together, and for each of them individually. Thus all key information is gathered immediately and at one place, which leads to more efficient and transparent operation. With the aid of the implemented system, the stocktaking of the company’s entire stock, which includes around 30,000 items, was a truly simple exercise.
The client’s wish to have a more transparent and simple purchase process posed a particular challenge. This is why the Atlas system was upgraded with a new process that, in addition to the regular warehousing processes (receipt, warehousing, overview of goods flow, packaging, etc.), also takes care of the stock in the individual shop in Richard Köstner AG, and supports the process of picking during the buying process itself. The buyer simply collects the goods in a basket equipped with a special bar code. The selected articles in the basket are 100% traceable, and at the counter the sales clerk links the data on the selected goods with the ERP system by merely scanning a barcode. The ERP system collects the data on the material and quantity, and creates the final invoice. With the Atlas system, the purchase process is thus even faster, simpler and more transparent.
Having introduced AtlasWMS in the central warehouse of Richard Köstner AG and in the first of several warehouse units in different locations, we will proceed to equip other branches with our software solutions in the coming months.
PRODUCTIVITY INCREASED BY 50% AND ERRORS REDUCED BY 99%
With the introduction of the AtlasWMS system in Extra Lux, a Slovene company that has been working in the field of sales of office materials and equipment for some 25 years, we have recently increased the speed of picking and improved the overview of the goods flow, thus significantly reducing potential errors and improving the traceability of the packaged material intended for dispatch.
The company opted for our solution because the existing paper-based working methods did not enable major improvements and faster picking. In addition, the client wished to ensure high efficiency in the case that they expand the scope of their operations.
The predominant challenges for Epilog’s expert team were thus the speed of picking and better supervision of loading onto trucks or vans. Due to the nature of the products themselves (office equipment, small size), the speed of manual picking was already quite high even prior to the AtlasWMS system implementation. In order not to slow down this process through working with WMS, we applied barcodes to the stock, locations and packages for easier identification, and integrated the support for EAN13. The graphic interface was adapted so that it requires as few clicks as possible (users operate the system mainly by way of scanning) and so that its use is as simple as possible for occasional users as well (e.g., students gaining work experience). We also integrated the guiding of warehouse pickers to follow the optimal route.
By implementing the AtlasWMS system, the client improved the integration of reports on completed work and forecasting, which contributes to better organisation of work as a whole. “The productivity itself has thus increased by at least 50%, while errors have decreased by as much as 99%”, Andraž Gruden, Head of IT in Extra Lux commented on the results.
“Epilog’s expert team has fulfilled all of our wishes down to the minutest details. We cooperated closely from the very beginning of the project to the point when the entire process was fully operational. We are certainly going to work together again in the future”, Blaž Dobnikar, Extra Lux’s project manager summed up his satisfaction with the implemented project.
ATLAS GLOBAL SIMPLIFIES MATERIAL FLOW MANAGEMENT IN THE RENOWED SLOVENE COMPANY MDM
We are very pleased that a new Slovene company has joined the group of our partners, who mainly come from abroad. With a 35–year tradition, the company MDM from Ljubljana is an internationally renowned supplier of stainless–steel and aluminium products and semi–products. By implementing the AtlasWMS system in their warehouses, we replaced several partial solutions with a single, integrated solutions.
AtlasWMS supports both the manual and automated warehouses. By connecting to their Navision ERP system, we introduced AtlasWMS through the Global module in all of their business units, enabling them to control everything simultaneously with a single application. At the Sinja Gorica business unit, we also implemented logistics support to the production facility, in the supply of intermediate goods and the transport of end products and scrap from the production line.
Although seemingly routine, this particular implementation was in fact very interesting for us. For the first time, we connected to the automated warehouse of Kasto, a German partner for the sawing and storing of metal bar stock and sheet metal. The fact that part of the retail sales process takes place directly in the company (the function of the material collector in a warehouse) also represented a unique challenge in the speed and ergonomics of the application. At MDM, they are very pleased with the optimisation of all of their processes, and ever since they have managed their warehouses with a single application they claim that Post–It Notes are history for them.