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EPG optimizes warehouse management for automotive supplier NGK SPARK PLUG


NGK SPARK PLUG is a name that dominates the automotive industry like no other. The market leader for spark plugs and lambda sensors supplies every automotive manufacturer in the industry as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), as well as supplying the aftermarket – the spare parts business that includes distributors, parts dealers and workshops. The German branch with headquarters in Ratingen has a new logistics center in the Port of Duisburg.

NGK relies on the LFS.wms warehouse management system from the Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG) to meet the various different requirements for its areas of business. The solution controls and manages the shuttle and pallet warehouse with a total of around 66,700 bins, pre-calculates the shipping HUs and optimizes packing units. NGK also uses the LFS.tls transport control system from EPG to use its forklift fleet capacity most effectively.

»Complex customer requirements, strong pressure to meet deadlines and varying order volumes are some of the huge logistical challenges in OEM and aftermarket – and you need a powerful warehouse management system to deal with them,« explains Damien Germès, Regional President EMEA, President & CEO NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE and Corporate Officer of the Global Headquarters in Japan. That is why the world market leader for spark plugs and lambda sensors installed the LFS.wms warehouse management system at its distribution center, which covers an area of around 21,000 m². The warehouse stores more than 6,000 different items, ranging from spark plugs and glow plugs through ignition coils to various sensors, supplying around 2,000 customers in more than 40 countries worldwide. »LFS.wms provides the 44,000-bay automatic small parts warehouse with orders, whilst also managing the pallet warehouse with 50 rows of racks and around 22,000 pallet storage bins,« explains David Schwager, Manager Customer Projects at EPG.

A characteristic feature of the aftermarket is the wide range of order sizes. Some orders only have two items, whilst others can have several hundred. LFS.wms calculates the volume based on the order and the items and determines a suitable shipping HU, into which the goods are picked directly. This eliminates the need for subsequent repacking. »This ready-made process is an enormous advantage when it comes to throughput times at NGK,« says Germès. LFS.wms also optimally assigns the packing units to a package by size and weight. The greater efficiency when planning packaging means that NGK has significantly reduced the number of packing units, so shipping costs have also fallen. In contrast to the aftermarket, OEM business exclusively involves very high-volume incoming orders. The warehouse management system retrieves entire pallets for these orders. The company also uses the LFS.tls transport control system from EPG. The solution distributes vehicles and employees to transport tasks, as required, prioritizing time-critical tasks, for example. Empties, downtimes and bottlenecks are reduced to a minimum and the forklift fleet capacity is used most effectively at all times.

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