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Grimme Landmaschinenfabrik GmbH & Co KG has turned to the Ehrhardt Partner Group (EPG) to optimise the logistics processes between warehouse and production. The agricultural machinery manufacturer uses both the LFS Warehouse Management System and the new SUBURBAN control software. This planning and control platform coordinates the wide range of different transport vehicles based on the given order volume and plant infrastructure. Grimme expects annual cost savings of more than ten percent of transport costs. The pilot phase started at the beginning of February. SUBURBAN is scheduled to go live in autumn this year.
Producing a range of more than 150 high-quality machines for potato, beet and vegetable technology, Grimme is the world's market leader in potato technology. At its main site in Damme, Lower Saxony, the family-owned company produces 4,000 machines a year for harvesting and storing potatoes and for tending and planting the crop. The company's 5,000 square-metre logistics centre in Damme is adjacent to the production halls with three assembly lines. The centre has a high-bay warehouse with double-deep storage and 14,434 spaces and an automated small parts warehouse with 15,500 spaces. The "supermarket" for interim storage of single parts and welded assemblies before automatic colour-coding and the material supply zones for just-in-time supply to the assembly line complement the logistics centre and ensure there is a permanent flow of goods in the production halls. Unlike in the automotive industry, for example, the in-house logistics has a high manufacturing depth. Combined with high variance of 90 different product ranges and more than 200,000 material numbers, Grimme is therefore dependent on highly standardised logistics processes.
SUBURBAN avoids expensive waiting times and downtimes
Different types of forklift trucks and electric lift trucks that bring larger components such as welding assemblies to their points of use have to be coordinated, in addition to a tugger train that supplies small parts such as chain wheels, O-rings and sheet metal parts. All of which used to be done via different systems and with fixed routes. "We have very complex logistics, so we approached EPG with the goal of establishing a new control system that manages all the movements of material between our production processes on one platform", says Stefan Daniel, Head of Supply Chain Management at Grimme. SUBURBAN brings together all these requirements by coordinating all sections to avoid expensive waiting times and downtimes. The software solution complements the LFS Warehouse Management System with a solution that fully networks all logistics processes. "We think of the plant with all its movements and warehouses in SUBURBAN as a small city where all the transport movements from all the systems converge. That eliminates the individual islands that exist at the moment", explains EPG Product Manager, Steffen Thron.
SUBURBAN delivers fully joined up planning
Given the complexity of the material, caused by the high manufacturing depth, the forklifts frequently used to have to make empty runs. They were assigned to the different logistics areas, which frequently cuased inefficiencies when handling higher-level movements. This is now to change thanks to fully joined up planning with SUBURBAN. "We believe that the control software will make our plant logistics more effective, will make it easier to plan our order volumes and to clearly assign orders", says Daniel. Advance planning takes into account the orders and the warehouse infrastructure, with all storage areas, restrictions and routes.
At Grimme, transport orders come from different systems
The particular challenge when introducing SUBURBAN at the agricultural machinery manufacturer is that the transport vehicles are supplied with transport jobs from different systems. Commands come from the logistics warehouses via LFS, but also from the production hall via the ERP system. "SUBURBAN now gives us a solution that coordinates our different systems and bridges the critical interfaces", says Daniel. From 2022 onwards, it is also possible that transport movements between the individual locations will be interconnected via the public road network.