- Linux-based project
- Goods handling after the FIFO principle
- Empties administration with return delivery by france
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Danone Waters Deutschland sets very high standards for the logistics service provider LTG from Landau who is commissioned with storing and distributing the nationally marketed drinks brands Evian and Volvic: In order to fulfil these demands and to optimise warehousing processes, the logistics service provider relies on the LFS 400 warehouse management system from the Boppard based supplier Ehrhardt + Partner. With this system, LTG guarantees unbroken product and batch traceability and creates the prerequisites for clear-cut increases in capacity for the seasonal drinks trade.
This large logistics service provider employs 380 staff and not only has a site in Hockenheim, but branches in Garching, Passau and Regensburg as well. Customers include John Deere and Paulaner, amongst others. The Landau transport company began building up the drinks logistics side of the business just five years ago. LTG has been in charge of the exclusive warehousing and partially also the nationwide supply of water brands Evian and Volvic for Danone Waters Deutschland (DWD). "We have invested around three million Euros in the Hockenheim site to fulfil the high demands of Danone Waters Deutschland. In order to conform to the customer's standards and the requirements of the EU ordinance 178/2002, we decided to integrate a powerful and efficient warehouse management system," explains Reiner Landsgesell, department head for drinks logistics at LTG in Hockenheim. There are three warehouse complexes at this site with an internal area of approx. 36,000 m² and an external area of approx. 10,000 m². Up to 30,000 pallets can be stored in the block store in these halls. LTG stores and loads only full pallets in Hockenheim. The supply methods for both French drinks brands are very different: Whereas Evian is directly and entirely supplied by freight train to the factory via its own rail connection, Volvic is delivered from France for the most part by road transport. Evian and Volvic are supplied nationwide by LTG and partner transport agents; a lesser amount is collected from LTG in Hockenheim by customers' own transport agents. LTG processes management of empties and the related return of reusable crates/boxes and compressed PET bottles to the production sites in France.
Supplier selection and project implementation
The logistics service provider LTG needed to find efficient software which fulfils all the stated requirements. Following intensive discussions with several providers, LTG decided on Boppard based warehouse expert Ehrhardt + Partner (E+P), who offers a standard software for Linux with the warehouse management system LFS 400. E+P had very little time to realize the project between order allocation in September 2005 and commissioning in January 2006. Danone Waters Deutschland initially had its own distribution centre and then gradually closed the warehouse from January, which meant that warehouse operation in Hockenheim increased quickly in response. Since the end of March 2006, the Evian brand is being exclusively distributed in Germany from the Hockenheim warehouse; the same applies in part to Volvic as well. LTG employs the Linux based version of the warehouse management system. "The special thing about LFS 400 for Linux is the single code development which means the same software code is used with Linux as is being developed on the IBM system i/OS – formerly AS/400," explains Marco Ehrhardt, managing partner at E+P. Exactly the same software functions of the warehouse management system are available to both systems. There is also no difference in how they are operated. The standard database mySQL guarantees the necessary data security thanks to the integrated options for replication. In order to connect to the superordinate ERP system from J.D. Edwards, it was necessary to create an EDIFACT interface which was done by the E+P subsidiary LogSolution. "During the integration phase of LFS 400, Danone France converted the ERP system from J.D. Edwards to SAP. This was a further challenge for LogSolution as a transparent interface was required for both systems. However, these software experts successfully managed this as well," emphasizes Reiner Landsgesell. In order to guarantee an optimum start to the project, LTG employees were prepared for working with the new warehouse management system by training sessions at the E+P subsidiary company IAW – Institut für Angewandte Warehouse-Logistik (Institute for Applied Warehouse Logistics).
Optimised warehousing processes
On average, the throughput quantity for a warehouse is about 1,400 pallets per day; at peak season times this number rises to up to 2,000 pallets per day. For the 30 LTG employees, this means about 80 tours daily which are put together according to the FIFO principle and while taking into account the BBD. The goods arriving at goods-in are recorded using LFS 400 employees scan the manufacturer labels and thereby enter all relevant data directly into the warehouse management system. LFS 400 carries along product information, e.g. batch and best-before date, through in-house processes thereby ensuring unbroken traceability from manufacturer to vendor. A particular feature of the project at LTG is so-called subcontracting. This means unpacking of goods from a Euro pallet, for example, onto a loading unit of another size. This is how, for example, goods for the food chain Plus are repacked onto CHEP pallets by LTG employees. LFS 400 ensures unbroken product and batch traceability during this process: With subcontracting, the employee generates a new NSU label from the LFS 400 system. The batch and product information contained within this correspond to the original pallet. The process is documented in LFS 400 and can be traced back at any time.
Overall, the logistics service provider LTG achieved the following results by integrating the LFS 400 warehouse management system: