Well prepared for the future: New software in logistics at electronics distributor Bürklin has proved its worth
Konrad Lauberbach, Manager Logistics and Company Strategy
1.5 years ago, synko Bürklin Elektronik introduces a new logistics software. How has the software performed? Bürklin has a review.
An important reason for introducing the new software was the guiding principle “Ordered by 6 p.m., delivered tomorrow – products in stock are consigned on the day the order is received and delivered to our customers the following day”, as Konrad Lauberbach, Head of Logistics at Bürklin Elektronik, explains.
One and a half years have now passed since the roll-out of the new logistics software. What improvements have been achieved through the installation? What is the level of satisfaction among customers and employees? How is the cooperation with the system house going after the introduction?
Easy to handle, top support, high level of satisfaction
synko GmbH was involved in the implementation of the logistics part of the software project. Many years of IT and process experience in companies with demanding logistics characterise the employees of synko, and the industry solutions are tried and tested. The system house demands the highest quality and ease of use – and the software solutions stand out above all because they are easy to use. Konrad Lauberbach, Head of Logistics and Corporate Development at Bürklin Elektronik, takes a summary.
„We are 100 percent satisfied. Not only with the functions, i.e. the mapping of efficient processes and operability, but also with the manageability of everything outside the operational processes. We were very sceptical at the beginning and didn’t want to take too many risks. If everything works well, it’s great; but if there are problems, a new system can quickly outgrow the staff due to its complexity. In extreme cases, this can lead to acute disruptions in the process if staff members have difficulties in their day-to-day work and do not know how to handle problem cases and what to do. But this did not happen. The software introduction went exactly as planned and since then everything has been running smoothly! And if something does not run smoothly and the operational process comes to a standstill, errors can be corrected quickly and easily. Everything is documented completely and clearly. That makes the work much easier. And if we get stuck ourselves, the maintenance and accessibility of the synko staff are really top-notch. We receive feedback very quickly – and I have to say that makes me really happy.“
High service benchmark
„In terms of usability, functionality, support and service, everything is really to our maximum satisfaction. I am totally thrilled and this sets the bar very high for software service providers in our company. Other service providers sometimes have difficulties with this, but this high level makes working in the warehouse extremely easy for us,” says Lauberbach. In a brief summary: Not only did the project go very well, but also the entire follow-up support, the service and the availability are excellent.”
Feedback: Effects noticeable, prepared for crises
According to the motto “Do well and talk about it”, the project’s success was publicised in-house. Of course, the advantages of the new logistics software have been noticed by colleagues – also in strategic management. “How can we control our use of capacity? How can we cope with difficulties, for example, like the one this year caused by Corona with a strongly fluctuating order situation? That’s where the enormous efficiency gain in the warehouse helped us to cushion the situation,” Laubenbach sums up. The new solution led to significant improvements in the process flow. Since its introduction, Bürklin has been working with chaotic warehousing with continuous batch tracking, a proper FIFO (first in, first out) or FEFO (first expired, first out). This has made extreme progress for the company: Significantly less storage space, much faster storage, no more cumbersome rebuilding. Further improvements have been achieved in order picking. An enormous amount of time is saved here. Now the employees can pick four orders at the same time (multi-order picking) – in contrast to one order before. They have the same route as before, but can handle four times as many items along the way. The walking distance and the processing time per order have shrunk to a quarter and that is of course an immense advantage. This has been a great help, and the upper management level has also noticed this through the performance indicators.
Supply promise: We keep our word
The warehousing and order picking areas in particular have benefited greatly from the introduction of the new software. For logistics, Bürklin Elektronik now uses synko Mobile, synko BarScan, synko Labeling and synko Printerserver.
„We have saved 80 per cent in warehousing and 20 per cent in order picking. Contingency operations are no longer necessary and the resources are available for value-adding processes. The employees don’t spend time running around and doing time-consuming processes,” says Lauberbach pleased.
An extremely high level of automation, which also enables the system to automatically cushion many special cases, helps to reduce the manual scheduling of special orders. All together, this ultimately benefits the customers as well as the delivery promise “Ordered by 6 p.m., delivered tomorrow.” with extremely short order and throughput times. Another important topic was transparency: the consistent tracking of all storage locations, all warehouse movements and the transport route. When goods are taken out of the storage compartment and go to dispatch, it is possible to determine at any time where the goods are at the moment and who picked the goods. An order can be cancelled or changed at any time if special customer requests are received. “If we need special packaging or something similar, for example, sales and the warehouse can communicate efficiently. The employees from sales leave their notes at the position so that the colleagues in picking always know what to do right away. That works great.
The issue of tracking and traceability is possible without any gaps via this continuous batch management. Fortunately, we haven’t needed it yet. Simply because we have an extremely low error rate. In an emergency, however, we are very well protected. That was extremely important to us when we asked for the software solution,” Lauberbach summarises.
Extremely low error quote: further improvements
Bürklin Elektronik is in the tenth of a millimetre range in terms of the complaint rate measured against the position. Here, the rate could be reduced by another 25 to 30 per cent. The storage process is not only faster and more efficient, it is also much simpler. Previously, it was very cumbersome on the software side and therefore also extremely error-prone. This demanded a very high level of concentration from the employees at all times, which of course cannot be ensured 100% per cent of the day. “That is no longer the case today,” Lauberbach notes.
„Due to the chaotic storage system, the smaller compartments, the better separation as well as the traceability of the individual batches in the house, the error rate of stock errors, wrong storage locations and the like has decreased enormously. We have been able to significantly reduce the main sources of error.“
Intuitive handling generates quick acceptance among employees
Of course: new things are first viewed with a certain mistrust. But the solution was very quickly accepted by the staff. It is extremely simple and intuitive. That removed their worries and made the introduction easy. In routine operations, the work became much easier. Everyone benefited personally and this had a positive impact. Staff have more time and capacity for the real value-adding processes. Less hectic that leads to mistakes.
„The work today: The employees can concentrate on the really important tasks. Packing the orders for the customer correctly and in the right quantity. In short: The work has become easier and more error-free,” says Lauberbach.
A view into the future
On the agenda: the incoming goods area. It now has more functions and performs more tasks than it used to. Which is really good. And Lauberbach says the main target is: “To simplify the work in the incoming goods department and to manage the process more tightly. The aim is to reduce complexity in order to create more efficiency in the incoming goods department. We will work on that!“