High pressure in spare parts replenishment - TGW in the loop |02/2014 - Magazine - TGW Logistics Group
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TGW in the loop 02/2014

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High pressure in spare parts replenishment

TGW SUCCESS

TGW SUCCESS

High pressure in spare parts replenishment

Kärcher's new spare parts distribution centre realized by TGW in the German town Obersontheim supplies a fast replacement.
When it comes to cleaning systems, the whole world relies on products and solutions by Kärcher – private as well as professional users. But, what do you do, if a nozzle of one of the high pressure cleaners is blocked up? No problem – Kärcher's spare parts distribution centre realized by TGW in the German town Obersontheim supplies a fast replacement.

12.5 million devices were sold by Kärcher in the year of 2013 alone– and counting. 10,700 employees work at Kärcher, operating sales offices in 60 countries.


Immediate spare parts supplied from the central warehouse


The logo of the cleaning technology specialist at the distribution centre in Obersontheim is clearly visible from far away.The logo of the cleaning technology specialist at the distribution centre in Obersontheim is clearly visible from far away. "From our site here in Obersontheim, we distribute spare parts, accessories and parts for our cleaners into the whole world, which emphasizes the importance of the site. Spare parts have to be available quickly and this is exactly the challenge we are faced with," explains Roland Fahrmeier, Head of Logistics Management at Kärcher.

After a wide-ranging offer, systems integrator TGW was entrusted with the implementation of the technical solution. "We searched for a systems integrator, covering as many aspects as possible.
TGW offered all these features: they were able to do the engineering, they were able to program the respective software, and they could do more for us than building 'just' a mini-load warehouse, a high-bay rack P&D station or a shuttle. They were able to implement the entire solution."

65,000 items – from screws to brush rollers

Today, we mainly work with a 'goods-to-person' approach, which is only possible if you increase automation,"
says Roland Fahrmeier. Thus, the throughput times of the orders in the distribution centre were drastically reduced. Orders with only one item are generally available within a time frame of 30 minutes. The biggest part with regard to quantity is by the mini-load warehouse, where about 70 % of the order lines are picked.Goods-to-person – automated picking system. The automated TGW mini-load warehouse provides 85,000 storage locations for totes, which are filled with items adapted to the size of the totes in the goods-receiving area. There are eight aisles and each Mustang stacker crane operates in a 77 meter (253 feet) long, 14 meter (46 feet) high, single-deep aisle. A goods-to-person strategy has been applied in the picking area in order to save time and spare the employees from walking long distances. Ergonomic workstations by TGW care for high picking performance and lowest error rates.Ergonomic workstations by TGW care for high picking performance and lowest error rates. In the design of the picking workstations, Kärcher, planner Miebach and TGW paid particular attention to an ergonomic design and high picking performance. This is why eight TGW PickCenter workstations were implemented. On each workstation, alternating source totes are provided from where the goods are picked. The open order tote is situated in the middle. All three positions are inclined to provide ideal vision into the totes and to enable optimal distance to reach. Ergonomic workstations for high picking performance. Besides the small parts picking area, the bigger items are picked in other areas of the distribution centre. "On average, we have three order lines per order," says Fahrmeier. "This means we have to consolidate goods from various areas. This was one of the reasons why we implemented the shuttle system." The two-aisle buffer storage accommodates 5,200 totes. On the whole, 36 TGW Stingray shuttles care for the required 1,800 storage and retrieval movements per hour. The picked totes are consolidated and arranged in the ideal sequence for packing. "The shuttle systems allows us to retrieve the goods at the latest possible time to consolidate the goods into one package and ship it to the customer. Therefore, we are able to prepare as few packages as possible for our customers. And if the customers order several times a day, we aim to consolidate these orders into one package," says Kärcher's Head of Logistics. The volume handled by Kärcher's employees in Obersontheim is impressive: more than 60,000 spare parts and about 5,000 accessories are stored in Obersontheim, among them a lot of slow-movers stressing the sense of a strong, centralised distribution centre. 2.8 million order lines are shipped per year, and 2.2 million of them are sent to the end customers directly. The other 600,000 order lines are shipped to international subsidiaries and retailers. And the seasonal variations should not be overlooked. "We had a lot of person-to-goods processes where our employees had to walk more than 10 km (6.2 miles) per day in order to reach the aisles and pick the goods.