"The RAVAS mobile scales integrated in our WLAN system, speed up our production time significantly. This means that our trailers can leave earlier from our DC to supply our nineteen stores, enabling us to supply even our remote stores early in the morning so that they in turn can supply the local hotels with fresh food."
- VICTOR GHIUREA, OPERATIONS MANAGER
In Rumania, Metro has nineteen stores that are supplied on a daily basis with fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and meat products, from a distribution centre in Bucharest. This DC is run by 3PL provider Tibbett & Britten. In multiple shifts, orders for chilled and frozen foodstuff are picked and shipped by trailer transport to the Metro stores.
Order placing: quick, easy and error-free
In the Bucharest DC, Tibbett & Britten operates thirteen Jungheinrich electrical pallet trucks for ‘order placing’. On a handheld terminal, the operator receives his orders from the warehouse management system (WMS), via a wireless local area network (WLAN): e.g. to collect a full pallet of tomato’s from the stock area. With this full pallet the operator than moves to the order area, where wheeled containers are lined up, each representing an order from one of the stores. He tares out the pallet to 0,0 kg net weight. On his hand terminal, the operator then starts receiving his order lines: e.g. to place 20 kg of tomato’s in container 3, then place 45 kg of tomato’s in container 6, 30 kg in container 12, etc. With the barcode scanner integrated in his hand terminal, the operator has already scanned barcodes on the pallet truck (so the WMS knows which operator is working with which pallet truck/mobile scale) and the pallet (so the WMS knows the operator is placing tomato orders).
WMS stores results of order placing
Now, with each order line, he first scans a barcode on the container (so the WMS knows in which container he places the order line), then places the required amount of tomato’s in the container, helped by the scale on the truck, which shows the weight removed from the pallet. Once the order line is placed in the container, the operator signals ‘order line ready’ to the WMS and pushes the print button on the 4100 indicator to transmit the removed weight to the WMS. For this purpose, the 4100 indicator is equipped with WiFi, that allows the RAVAS scale to log on to the Tibbett & Britten WLAN network. In the header line of the 4100 print data block an ID-number has been placed, so the WMS knows which scale is transmitting. Thus, the WMS stores the results of each order placing for future reference.
Higher order capacity and no extra personnel needed
When starting up the DC for Metro, Tibbett & Britten decided for mobile scales. Using fixed floor scales for weighing during the order placing, would have created endless waiting lines and the need for extra personnel to operate the scales. All in all, the RAVAS mobile scales significantly speed up the order placing process, creating a higher order capacity with the same personnel. At 11 o’clock at night, trailer trucks start driving out, reaching the furthest Metro stores at 3 or 4 in the morning. At 6 o’clock Metro personnel starts stocking their store with fresh foodstuff, right on time to service the buyers from local hotels and restaurants who come in at 7 o’clock.
Service level raised
Since the results of every order placed are registered by the WMS, including data about operator, article and weight supplied, any question or claim from the receiving Metro store can be adequately answered. This raises Tibbett & Britten’s service level to their client and minimises the risk of loss or pilferage.
Tibbett & Britten
In order picking performance comes down to two things: speed and accuracy. Errors mean a burden on the organisation, because they cost time, money and goodwill. Weighing on order picking trucks helps preventing picking errors. If an error is signaled, the order picker can react immediately and correct the error where the cost is lowest: at the picking slot. If the integrated scale is used in its counting mode, the order picker can also read on the display how many articles in the order line he has picked. This will raise his handling speed and reduce the opportunity for counting errors.
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