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f+h Intralogistics 5/2015

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f+h Intralogistics 5/2015


WAREHOUSING Viastore replaces WMS at Wika continuing operations 42 f+h Intralogistics 5/2015

WAREHOUSING Delivery reliability is a focus issue at Wika one of the global leader in pressure, temperature and fill level measurement technology. The company therefore attaches the utmost importance to delivering goods to the customer quickly and on time. This shouldn’t change, even during the replacement of its old, discontinued warehouse management system (WMS). Wika turned to Viastore for the solution for this project. The company Wika is headquartered in Germany and currently employs 7,900 worldwide. Every day, around 200,000 units leave the company’s production facilities all over the world. “We need a highly available logistics system to be able to handle this,” says Michael Werner, Head of Logistics at Wika. For years, delivery reliability has been a key focus at Wika. “For our logistics system alone, the delivery reliability target is at over 99 percent,” Werner sums up. 9,500 different items on stock The core of Wika’s logistics processes is a distribution and production warehouse, consisting of a six-aisle mini-load automates storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) with 48,000 storage locations, a two-aisle pallet AS/RS storage system with 1,036 storage locations and a small manual storage section. Approximately 9,500 different items are stocked in the warehouse – from seals weighing only a few grams to heavy equipment having a weight of several hundred kilograms. The warehouse is directly linked to production; the same blue containers employed for storing goods in the AS/RS are also used for transporting the required items to the production area via conveyor system lanes. The majority of purchased parts and raw materials are delivered in these plastic boxes by external suppliers or other Wika subsidiaries. The mini-load AS/RS has 16 pick stations, where the finished parts are prepared for shipping and the required items are put together. There are three more pick stations in the pallet warehouse (Image 01). To manage all logistics processes, Wika previously used a Warehouse Management System that was closely linked to the ERP system Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta). However, the provider announced it would discontinue its support for the system. “So we had to look for an alternative,” says Werner. An industry journal which listed 120 providers of warehouse management systems was used as the starting point, but the number of potential suppliers for a new WMS decreased rapidly, as the Wika experts presented their list of requirements. “By the time it came to the question of integrating the system into our SQL servers, most suppliers had to admit they were at their wits’ end,” recalls Klaus Grosch, IT Application Development at Wika. Eventually, Wika contracted Viastore to implement the new WMS. The international company, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany is a leading integrator of intralogistics systems as well as of intralogistics software. Furthermore, Viastore has many years of experience in the reconstruction, modernization and retrofitting of existing logistics systems – even installations from third-party providers. The company’s viadat WMS is suitable for both conventional and automated warehouses. 01 Pick quantity is checked at the pick stations using scales Tailored to individual requirements A major reason for selecting Viastore was the high level of flexibility that this WMS offers, explains Uwe Fersch, Technical Manager for Warehouse and Shipping Logistics at Wika: “Our conditions and flow of goods are subject to constant change. Therefore, we need a flexible system which allows the rapid adjustment of all the processes, from goods receiving to shipping, so that we can achieve our delivery reliability.” In addition, the software was expected to have as many standard functions as possible to match Wika’s list of specifications, as well as integrating to their existing ERP system: “Hardly any providers were able to set up a solution with our ERP system,” says IT expert Grosch. Here viadat offers a distinct advantage due to its software architecture, as Markus Müllerschön, VP Sales at Viastore Software, explains: “We have localized all operating system and database accesses in our own Viastore class library. This enables us to support a range of very different databases and operating systems. We maintain this library on a permanent basis. If the operating system or the database are discontinued, we simply replace this library with the latest version and run the system on a new platform. This means we could even operate viadat on platforms that do not even exist today.” About viastore systems viastore systems, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, is an international leader in the supply of turnkey automatic intralogistics systems, WMS, SAP logistics solutions, material flow and process control, as well as shuttle and automated storage/ retrieval systems. With a workforce of 450, the company registered a turnover in 2014 of 120 million euro. The system integrator has local business units in Brazil, China, France, Russia, Spain, the Czech Republic, the USA and elsewhere around the world. f+h Intralogistics 5/2015 43


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