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PROLAG®World: Warehouse logistics as production logistics


Thanks to a new production template, CIM’s Warehouse Management System PROLAG®World is unbeatable when it comes to combining efficient warehousing with optimal production supply and disposal.

Every warehouse manager and production manager knows: Achieving the highest standards of product quality, organizing production workflows as efficiently as possible while ultimately optimizing processes in the warehouse – balancing these three tasks is one of the greatest challenges faced by production companies in terms of intra-logistics.

The challenge increases exponentially as the number of production steps and the quantity of raw materials and intermediate products also increase. “Once a company has reached a certain size or a certain degree of complexity”, explains Fritz Mayr, managing director of CIM GmbH, “systematic and individually tailored process control is the only way of guaranteeing quality and efficiency.” – Highly sophisticated software systems are required for effective synchronization of production logistics and warehouse logistics. As a supplier of innovative Warehouse Management Systems for more than 27 years, CIM is one of the leading names not only as far as general intra-logistics and warehousing are concerned, but particularly
when it comes to cleverly linking warehouse logistics and production logistics.

PROLAG®World supplies production lines

For a number of years now, PROLAG®World has been the system used by a production supply company in Bochum to coordinate and manage what is one of the biggest industrial production lines in Germany. Around 120 employees are responsible for picking cables and distributing them to exactly the right point on the production lines – all within a very short space of time. There are currently about 34 vehicles per hour rotating through the assembly area. With such a high throughput, production supply has to be absolutely accurate. A wrong or missing cable can have serious consequences for the production process.

As any warehouse manager and employee will verify, a minor percentage of picking errors is inevitable: We all make mistakes, and when pickers in the warehouse are working under immense time pressure, it can happen that they reach for the wrong box or put a part into the wrong container or package – various studies have confirmed this observation. According to Fritz Mayr, “the trick is not to force people not to make mistakes; the real skill lies in configuring and implementing the Warehouse Management System to recognize and rectify every single picking error. What’s more, there must a 100% guarantee of efficient performance; production supply has to run as quickly and smoothly as possible.” PROLAG®World guarantees maximum reliability by using a scanning system to check every storage location and every cable that is picked as well as the tray on which the cables are transported to the production lines, and ensuring that the parts reach the production line in the correct order.

Production monitoring - the E-Kanban system

In recent years, various industrial companies across Europe have been using an EKanban system developed by CIM engineers to optimize their production supply processes, including a well-known tire manufacturer at six of their sites. Each machine has a graphical traffic light system showing the requirements as regards the various products being manufactured. Thanks to demand-driven production, valuable storage space can be saved for raw, intermediate and finished products. There is also a reduction in lead times: ordered products reach their destination considerably faster.

As well as food manufacturers, France’s best-known name in kitchens and an exclusive brand for bathroom accessories, a number of well-known developers and manufacturers of fine mechanics, propulsion and automation technology, industrial machinery, hydraulics systems and engines have also opted for PROLAG®World. In the summer of 2011, for example, an iron foundry and machine shop in North
Rhein-Westphalia implemented PROLAG®World to link their warehousing and production processes.

Each and every manufacturer has unique and customized process types, whether for historical reasons or due to their particular product and location. For a provider of logistics software systems, the skill lies in developing a standard software solution that maps all potential processes.

Production supply using PROLAG®World’s production template

The production of hydraulics machinery at an iron foundry and machine shop in North Rhein-Westphalia normally passes through a number of successive steps at different machines; each of these machines requires different quantities of different raw materials. The user interface in PROLAG®World now provides a production template which controls all the various steps of machinery production quickly and flexibly. Predefined default values ensure that the raw materials quantities typically required for each processing step are always available. Employees at the machines still have the flexibility to control requirements on an individual basis, however, and determine exactly when the various production supply steps are carried out. They request the specific raw materials they require in the production template; PROLAG®World immediately creates a picking order with route optimization; a warehouse employee brings the required raw materials by forklift to the different machines and takes back any material that is not required. Completed machines are
booked immediately in the software system and brought to the warehouse or dispatch area. PROLAG®World thus enables a highly automated production supply and disposal process, while simultaneously achieving an overall optimization of intra-logistical warehouse processes.

The success of the PROLAG®World Warehouse Management System at the interface between warehouse and production logistics is not least due to the modular design of its standard concept, which is scalable and can be individually tailored for a range of different applications. This facilitates not only the complex fusion of
speed and 100% accuracy when it comes to picking processes, but also ensures maximum flexibility and precision – and all of this comes with an all-round refinement of warehouse processes including route optimization, storage area consolidation and reduction of lead times.

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