Monday, April 29, 2013

Porsche Supply Chain and Logistics Quality Maintained During Distribution Centre Move

Hundreds of Thousands of Parts Make for a Complex Operation
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – UK - Any company which can boast a 168 year history has to be doing something right, especially when involved in the diversities of providing complex supply chain products. The logistics involved in the production and distribution of prestigious household name commodities utilising hundreds of thousands of parts across a range of top quality items are simply mind boggling and require both physical and documentary systems and equipment capable of delivering any item, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, when and where required. When renowned German sports car manufacturer Porsche required a modern and efficient automated small parts storage system it turned to BITO, acknowledged experts in the field for generations.

Porsche supplies spare parts to around 700 dealers throughout the world from its central spare parts warehouse in Sachsenheim. More than 70 per cent of the 80,000 stock keeping units are small parts, which are suitable for storing in bins. Main contractor Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH has installed an automated small parts store for these items with around 170,000 storage positions whilst BITO Lagertechnik Bittmann, Nuneaton-based BITO Storage Solutions’ German parent company, was involved in the project as an experienced partner for the steelwork of automated small parts stores when the centralisation plans were approved.

BITO not only manufactured and erected the storage shelves but also provided the peripherals in the form of eight sequencer towers, a steel platform, gravity roller conveyors and finally the picking stations and shelving units from BITO’s Ergo tubular system range. In parallel with the implementation of the automated small parts store by the main contractor, Porsche procured the bins and trays, for which BITO was again the supplier of choice delivering 137,000 bins of various sizes.

Various packing materials, ranging from paper bags to cartons and containers with hinged lids, are used in the areas of order picking and the packing of outgoing goods. All these dispatch packages are transported on trays and held in position by means of simple and at the same time flexible standard fixing elements. Jörg Reinelt, designer of the automated small parts store at Porsche AG in Sachsenheim, said:

 “The objective was to standardise on a common bin size (base areas) to enable us to optimise the operation of the conveyor equipment. From an ergonomic point of view, we specified a maximum weight of 15 kg for each container. This enabled lightweight bins to be chosen, which the operators appreciate every day. BITO’s intelligent solution impressed us, as the fixing elements can remain on the trays even when they are stacked. This enables us to store the trays without any problems in an automatic buffer until they are needed again for order picking.”

When dealing with an international brand renown for quality that aspect has to transfer to every phase of the supply operation and BITO says it was not only able to impress with its technology and its advisory service but also with clever detailed solutions for the gravity roller conveyors for feeding the packing stations (manual vibrator so that even very light bins do not stick; single foot unlocking to release individual lagging containers).

The same applied to the individually matched delivery of bins and trays for the move to the new warehouse. In order to avoid double handling, at the appropriate time BITO delivered a number of bins, which had been determined in advance, directly to each of the previous warehouse locations that were about to be closed. Here, the goods were removed from standard shelving and pallet storage systems and packed straight into the plastic bins intended for the purpose and transported by truck to the central spare parts warehouse in Sachsenheim. While an outline plan specified the weekly delivery quantities, the delivery locations were only determined a few days in advance depending on the progress of the move and BITO was also able to faultlessly overcome this last logistical challenge.