Outgoing Goods Operations Optimized
9th May 2023
In order to further optimise the outgoing goods process, avoid misdirected parcels and thus reduce the costs of returns, electrical wholesaler FEGA & Schmitt once again chose Wanzl as a partner for intralogistics solutions. Following the successful implementation of smart package roll containers from Wanzl, including the asset tracking system last year, Wanzl has now developed a targeted, tailor-made scanning solution together with software provider BOX ID Systems and ProGlove, a wearable scanner manufacturer, which improves the processes in outgoing goods at FEGA & Schmitt.
In order to advance the digitalisation of its logistics, FEGA & Schmitt explored the market in search of an efficient scanning solution for its shipping process. As a comprehensive solution provider with a large partner network, Wanzl met all the requirements. “At Wanzl, the focus is always on the customer and their needs. Wanzl also has highly qualified specialists who work together to create a customised solution,” says Roland Huber, Logistics Project Management at FEGA & Schmitt, explaining the renewed collaboration. In discussions with the customer and partners BOX ID Systems and ProGlove, Wanzl first developed the opportunities and possibilities to offer FEGA & Schmitt the right solution for optimising its outgoing goods department. In doing so, Wanzl analysed the processes, identified weaknesses, and highlighted the potential for improvement. Always in mind: economic efficiency for the customer.
Joint development of a customised solution
“If a solution is not worthwhile financially or has long amortisation periods, we advise our customer against the project. It is important to us that the solutions suit the customer’s future structures. We also consider the customer’s growth, goals and other upcoming projects,” says Cassandra Hieber, Product Manager for Digital Solutions at Wanzl. In the specific case at FEGA & Schmitt, a scanning solution was created that helps employees to correctly assign packages to containers. This prevents misdirection of packages, thus contributing to cost reduction. In addition, the scanning solution makes the outgoing goods process more reliable and can be integrated into the existing asset tracking system.
The new scanning solution optimises the outgoing goods process
The technology developed by BOX ID Systems and ProGlove specifically for this project is based on a data comparison of the package ID, the assigned tour and the package roll container. For this purpose, each package roll container was given an inventory number and provided with a corresponding barcode label. In addition, the individual tours are stored in a database with a tour code. If a package roll container is assigned to a specific trip, it will also receive a trip card with the QR code of the tour code. The inventory number of the roll container and the tour QR code are then scanned using the ProGlove scanner. The data is then automatically “married” in the database and the appropriate packages can be assigned by the hand-held scanner. Employees can then begin loading the roll container.
Each package in outgoing goods has its own package ID as a barcode on the shipping label. The employee in outgoing goods must now scan the two barcodes of the package and the appropriate roll container with the ergonomic back-of-hand scanner. Real-time communication between the systems ensures that it detects whether it has assigned the package to the correct load carrier. The scans are sent to a central server via the newly developed interface. There, the software from BOX ID Systems checks whether the package is really intended for this load carrier with the tour ID. If the package matches the container, a green signal lights up on the back-of-hand scanner. The employee can load the package and scan the next one. If the data does not match, the employee receives negative feedback on the back-of-hand scanner: an acoustic signal sounds, an LED light on the scanner lights up red and the scanner vibrates. This effectively informs but does not hinder the employee. Only when the employee has rectified the error (i.e. assigns the package to the correct container and the scanner provides positive feedback) can the new scanning process be started for the next package. This prevents the package from going on the wrong tour despite negative feedback. Package roll containers are assigned to the shipping gates or trucks based on the same principle.
In addition to the requirements for simple implementation and intuitive handling, it was also important for FEGA & Schmitt that the new system be transferred to its sister companies. Wanzl therefore paid attention to the scalability of the process from the very beginning when planning the project. Distinguishing between the containers of the two companies played an important role here. At the same time, it was important that the tour designations are coordinated with each other. “Wanzl is a true organisational talent,” reports Roland Huber from FEGA & Schmitt and adds: “In this case, support had to be provided not only to ourselves as a customer and to the project partners, but also to our sister company. This made close collaboration, detailed coordination, and precise coordination all the more important. Wanzl did this excellently while ensuring that every challenge was solved to the satisfaction of everyone.” During the entire project, various functional tests were carried out continuously to regularly check and optimise the different development statuses. After successful completion, FEGA & Schmitt initially only used the scanning solution in a sub-area and tested the go-live in the picking zone, where the goods are assigned to the containers. When this test run was successful, the customer gradually expanded the area of application. More than 1,700 load carriers are now compatible with the BOX ID Systems tracking system.
Pioneering work as a team
FEGA & Schmitt, BOX ID Systems, ProGlove and Wanzl have jointly combined two innovative technologies: the wearable scanner with worker feedback and asset tracking with a scanning solution. “We have developed a completely new way of exchanging information with a central server without an intermediate Windows or Android device,” says Marc-David Wagner, Sales Director at ProGlove, explaining what was special about the project. “That was great teamwork! Dominik Buchinger from BOX ID Systems has done an excellent programming job in a short time. And the FEGA & Schmitt employees in Jürgen Gundermann’s dispatch team have also contributed to making the system as efficient and suitable for everyday use as it now is,” says Roland Huber from FEGA & Schmitt. The scanning solution has been perfectly developed for use at the electrical wholesaler but can also be adapted to the needs of other customers, such as for tracking returns or detecting process errors. The development and specification potential of the solution is huge. It can contribute to better integration of processes and interfaces and can be used in dispatch centres, distribution platforms or freight forwarders.
FEGA & Schmitt is extremely satisfied with their experiences with the scanning solution so far. All the partners look back on a successful project: “For us, the best success is to see the system being used at the customer’s site with the desired effects. The scanning solution reliably detects possible misdirections and provides immediate remedy,” summarises Matthias Piekarczyk, Chief of Sales Office at BOX ID Systems GmbH. For Wanzl, customer and project support does not stop here. Together with BOX ID Systems and ProGlove, project management has designed an after-sales service that monitors the scanning systems and provides and manages software updates. There is also a hardware service that replaces faulty scanners within 24 hours. FEGA & Schmitt are already planning the next projects with Wanzl and its partners: new load carriers and new hardware in the area of transport container tracking are in the pipeline.