Today, creating efficient, flexible and transparent picking and shipping processes in modern distribution centres is hardly possible without a strong link between product and information flows. The German company Blanco GmbH & Co. KG, one of the world's leading manufacturers of kitchen technology, achieved this goal by integrating the goods management system - SAP R/3 - with the interface module, MOBIS VSTI (Virtual SAP Transaction Interface). With this new exclusive solution developed by Mobis, Quality Partner of Datalogic in Germany, delivery notes can now be issued in real time.
The picking process in the Blanco distribution center in Bruchsal
Blanco has been in the household article business for over 70 years, with operations in more than 110 countries. It is one of the best known of such manufacturers worldwide, and every year it manufactures approximately one half million sinks. Moreover, Blanco also operates in the field of medical and catering technology.
From its distribution center located in Bruchsal — which includes a high-rack warehouse — products like sinks, batteries, garbage sorting systems, accessories, and spare parts are distributed to retailers, kitchen constructors, and other clients. This means processing, picking, and packaging nearly 900 items to be delivered each day. Due to the considerable size and weight of the products involved, every item is packed in a single package and is shipped via UPS or another freight forwarding company.
In order to automate order processing, each package is identified with a UCC Code 128 label. The bar code uniquely identifies every parcel, thus making it possible to track and trace it at all times in the transportation system and in the logistics information system. The items are scanned by Datalogic's DS6100 fixed position scanners, which are installed on the top of the conveyor belts. The information provided by the scanners is used for directing the packages to the right destination and for printing the delivery notes in real time. In this case, the DS6100 reads the 12-digit code applied on the parcel, and eight of these digits are used for activating the automatic writing of the delivery notes.
Online generation of the documents made it possible to offset the disadvantages of batch handling, which is included in the standard version of SAP R/3 already installed at Blanco:
The interface was specifically designed for real time transmission of field data to the corresponding SAP R/3 module. This enables an immediate and complete registration of all product movements as well as plausibility checks in shipping and receiving, in the warehouse, during and after picking and in the despatch department. Information such as volume, weight, numbers of pieces, or the warehouse's address are examples of information that can be transmitted. At Blanco, the interface is used for collecting the bar coded information read on the package and transmitting it to the SAP-Transaktion VL 03 printing of delivery notes. The sorted packages are sent to the dispatch area via a stationary conveyor system.
A DS6100 scanner is installed at the end of the conveyor line and transmits the collected information to:
Solution produces results beyond all expectations of time savings and allows security from defects.
The expectations of all operators at the Blanco distribution centre concerning the usefulness of printing the delivery notes in real time were considerably surpassed. "The results, (e.g., time savings, optimizing throughput and defect security), speak for themselves," says Doris Schwenk, project manager at Blanco in Bruchsal. "We no longer need to search in the dispatch area for sold products. The rate for correct assignment of delivery notes to product exceeds 99% and we always have the capability to tell our customers if and when the products left our facility."