«Maximum transparency is key»
Dataphone assisted Ökoring Handels GmbH in the digitization and modernization of their warehouse in Mammendorf, Germany. Christoph Weigl, Managing Director & Co-Owner and Markus Queitsch, Management Board & Co-Owner, speak about the introduction of the warehouse management system (WMS) Logis and the transport management solution Hermes.
Mr. Weigl and Mr. Queitsch, you have chosen the warehouse management system (WMS) LOGIS and Hermes to digitize your warehouse and transport management. Can you summarize the main advantages of the two new systems?
C. Weigl: We help to protect the environment because we significantly reduced our paper use. And we are talking about a very large amount of paper with 2'500 pages delivery notes printed on both sides 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Another important advantage is that LOGIS enables us to achieve seamless traceability of our transports. We are dependent on this transparency in our communication with authorities and customers. Furthermore, the control panel provides us with an instant overview of the warehouse and the processes that are currently taking place.
M. Queitsch: We expect Hermes to bring various benefits over the medium to long term. E.g. the paperless work but also a reliable tracking system that optimally complements our cooling monitoring system. Maximum transparency is key. Hermes registers the exact time our goods are being delivered. Ökoring is the first organic wholesaler in Germany to use Hermes.
Why did you choose Dataphone solutions?
C. Weigl: Since a lot of our industry colleagues have already been working with Dataphone, we asked them for references and further information. We did not want to reinvent the wheel but use synergies instead.
M. Queitsch: It only is beneficial when an industry and thus also our competitors choose to work with one single system. It makes it easier to exchange knowledge. In the end, the vicinity also played a role. It is not far to travel from Munich to Zurich and vice versa.
LOGIS has been in operation since autumn 2017. What improvements have you noticed in respect to quality (error rate reduction), performance and efficiency?
C. Weigl: We have become significantly more efficient in our picking processes. The warehouse system specifies where to store certain goods – and most of the time, our employees agree with the suggestion (laughs). Errors still happen which is normal taking the human factor into account.
How did your employees react to the new warehouse management system and the TMS Hermes?
C. Weigl: We all got used to the WMS LOGIS quickly. Our employees had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the system with industry colleagues.
M. Queitsch: Some of our drivers were a bit skeptical at first, but ultimately the introduction of Hermes was smooth. This track-and-trace system is easy to use and so are the iPhones which are serving as our portable data terminals. Most of our drivers already use the devices in their daily lives.
You mention the iPhones. These come with our Linea Pro scan cases. Why did you decide to obtain hardware from Dataphone, too?
C. Queitsch: We did this on the recommendation of Dataphone and can draw a fairly positive conclusion so far. Additionally and as already mentioned, our drivers got the hang of it quickly and did not need any special training.
What can you tell about the LOGIS go-live?
C. Weigl: The go-live was pretty tough - but I think that's part of the game (laughs). We got used to the speed quickly though.
M. Queitsch: The Hermes go-live was more relaxed because we were already familiar with the system. We also brought a specialist on board who trained the drivers in advance. The first data was quickly available, and we were able to make initial evaluations shortly after the go-live.
What are the challenges to be overcome?
C. Weigl: When it comes to LOGIS, we still have to improve some of our internal processes, e.g. our retrofit orders. Not all warehouse zones are optimally structured yet.
M. Queitsch: There are still a few «teething troubles» to overcome like loose contacts or connection problems, but we will get them under control. A whole different story is the new way of working: in the past, we wrote everything down and handed the notes over to the drivers. That was supposedly easier. Our staff now has to learn to deal with new challenges. New technologies are a necessity for further development.
Thank you very much for the conversation.
Read all about the two projects at Ökoring Handels GmbH as well as other launches in our Success Stories