A company that expands its product range in the electronics sector often faces complex challenges. Cost efficiency and speed count more than ever, and choosing the right logistics strategy often crowns the success. Electrical wholesaler Fega & Schmitt has been using Kardex Remstar dynamic storage systems in its central warehouse in Heilsbronn for the past year. Items order once a month are stored in two Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) 30 meters high, saving space and enabling fast access to an extensive range of products.
With its wide range of electrical products for the installation sector – consisting of 40,000 items in stock and available – as well as cable and testing equipment for light installation or data and network technology, Fega & Schmitt, based in Ansbach, also sees itself as a partner to the transformation of the energy system. From its central warehouse near Nuremberg, the wholesaler can deliver goods to electricians, solar power specialists and building sites in its core region, which stretches from central to southern Germany, . One of its special services involves the production of individual wire gauges for all cable types and lengths together with the required insulation.
“People who compare small items in the electrical wholesale business often go for the lower-priced product,” explains Bernd Eberlein, head of logistics at Fega & Schmitt in Heilsbronn. The logistics specialist has been responsible for planning, picking, shipping and distribution at one of Germany’s leading electrical wholesalers for more than ten years now.
“There were plans to expand our range of small parts in 2014, but we had limited space available. Accordingly, we had to come up with something and the only way was up,” says Eberlein. Two 30 meter high Shuttle XP 500 VLMs from Kardex Remstar have been supporting intralogistics processes in Heilsbronn. The idea was to use a space saving storage concept to expand the product range within the limited space available. Up to 3,000 different items can be stored in each VLM. The company is already looking to the future with its expansion: There are plans for another six VLMs.
More than 16,000 order lines are processed in Heilsbronn every day. The journey around the central warehouse begins when the customer’s order is received. The order is scanned and forwarded via modern conveyor technology to the various storage areas, where the orders are then picked.
Picking carts are used to link the Shuttle XP with the other sections of the central warehouse. With very little effort, operators are in a position to prepare batch orders for shipping. Frive orders make up a batch and they can be processed simultaneously at one packing station. 500 orders are processed out of both Shuttle XPs daily.
Power Pick Global inventory management software is linked to the ERP systems and prioritizes the order sequence. With the software-assisted logistics strategy, it is now possible to classify the items precisely from A to Z and slot items accordingly. “Employee’s actions at the Shuttle XP can be traced within the software, providing the kind of access protection that isn’t available with open static shelving. In addition, the small parts are better protected from dust and dirt when stored in the Shuttle XPs,” says Eberlein.
Increasing worker productivity by eliminating the need to walk long distances to pick orders has improved order cut off times. Orders can be placed until and still be available for next day delivery within the core region. Since the dynamic storage systems from Kardex Remstar have been implemented, it has already been possible to add another 3,000 items to the product range. There are plans to expand the product portfolio up to 6,000 items. The addition of six more Shuttle XP VLMs over the coming years will gradually enhance the successful logistics strategy in this area of the Fega & Schmitt facility.