DHL bets on an innovative picking solution
In the plant of a German car maker in Bratislava, DHL ensures that the assembly belt does not stand still. For this, orders for more than 200,000 automobiles per year have to be picked. Thanks to the solution of WERKSREVOLUTION, DHL was able to introduce a paperless picking system in a short time. Thereby the quality and the productivity of the picking process were increased. This also opened new possibilities on the job market.
PLANT: German car maker in Bratislava, Slovakia
ROLE: responsible for the in-plant logistics of the production of automobiles in the areas of incoming goods, warehousing, direct delivery (of engines, gears and other vehicle parts) directly to the production lines in accordance to the production plan
PERFORMANCE: logistics for 200,000 vehicles / year (2016)
WORKFORCE: 1,200 employees
Reduction of error rates
Due to safe process management via light signals the picker is guided through the process. The intelligent laser registers every pick and displays picking errors.
Analyses & Reports
The most important key figures, documentations and real-time stocks as well as analyses for the improvement of the workplace design can be viewed via the user interface.
Increase in productivity
Visualization of orders by various colors makes Multi-Order-Picking possible
Due to digitalization of the process, error sources (like media disruption) are eliminated and processes automated.
Flexible personnel deployment
New opportunities on the job market and regarding deployment come up due to simple processes and the 85% reduction of training time.
Via interfaces the integration of pickFinder in the existing IT-infrastructure was easy. This also applied for the physical integration into the existing rack systems.
The starting situation
An increase in production requires simple and scalable picking processes
Since 2010, DHL is responsible for the in-plant logistics of 50% of the production materials that are needed for the car models produced by German car maker in Bratislava.
The constant increase of the automobile production up to 380,000 vehicles per year was also noticeable in the plant of DHL. The existing paper-based picking system for the production lines, which DHL used so far, could not withstand the increase in production.
Furthermore, the unemployment rate of 5.34%¹ in the region around Bratislava makes it difficult for DHL to find qualified personnel. Therefore, DHL was looking for a safe picking system, that defuses the skills shortage besides reducing the picking errors and increasing the productivity.
In addition to the three main topics – quality assurance, increase in productivity and skills shortage – the new solution should be highly flexible and scalable, in order to be capable to adjust it to the daily changing parts. Moreover, boxes for small and large parts should be supported.
Simple integration in existing infrastructure
Few months later, WERKSREVOLUTION implemented a cognitive assistance system with an intelligent laser (pickFinder) at one workplace in the warehouse of DHL as pilot project. The system guides the picker via light signals to the appropriate compartments according to the picking lists. The LED strip above the compartment shows the quantity of the parts to be picked. Through the application of different colors multiple orders can be processed simultaneously, what increases the productivity of the picker.
The intelligent laser, installed horizontally in front of the compartment, registers every pick and updates the picking lists. The lists are visualized on a tablet computer. Picking errors are displayed to the picker immediately and are also registered in the system. The laser has a range of up to 10 meters and is therefore suitable for KLT and GLT boxes. Additionally, the laser can be divided in arbitrary sections by DHL, what ensures flexibility and scalability.
The whole process was mapped digitally and has no media disruption. Picking lists are retrieved automatically and visualized to the picker on a tablet computer. Through interfaces the integration of the new system into the existing infrastructure was simple and fast. Stocks and order processing are synchronized automatically with DHL’s WMS. Also the physical integration into the existing rack systems went without any problems.
Simple process management creates new opportunities on the job market
At the end of the test phase, DHL implemented the solution at seven working places in 4-shift operation. On a surface of 4,000 square meters 2,000 parts for three car models are picked. Due to the safe guidance of the picker through the process, the error rate could be reduced to 0.01%. The productivity of the individual picker was increased significantly, as multi-order-picking was possible now – bottlenecks are now caused by the production pace of the car maker.
¹ cf. https://ec.europa.eu/eures/printLMIText.jsp?lmiLang=de®ionId=SK0&catId=2808, accessed 17.07.2017.
Source video & images: https://youtu.be/0QsZpo1ykWw, accessed 17.07.2017