The Digitalization of Intralogistics

Stefan Bröse

Stefan Bröse

How to move simple applications in complex processes to mobile devices.

Until recently, PC terminals were set up at neuralgic process points, such as in production, goods receipt, goods issue and for quality inspection, in order to retrieve information and confirm tasks. Even today, input masks are often complicated and rarely self-explanatory.

With the advent of wireless devices with high computing power, these terminals are now gradually becoming obsolete. However, the applications in the SAP environment often remain in a technologically outdated state.

Are you looking for easy to use Fiori Apps for classic SAP processes and SAP applications, with which you can achieve a high user experience and performance for your employees in logistics and production?

Optimized logistical processes supported by mobile

Do you still carry out inbound deliveries on your PC? The design and scope of the goods receipt is relevant for the performance of your warehouse. Incorrect planning in goods receipt usually leads to disruptions in the entire operating process.

With the help of a simple mobile app, you can compare, change and post all typical inbound processes directly in the app. Improve your key figures for your goods receipt targets by using mobile apps!

Popular features for optimizing workflows can be added. Possible examples are:

  • Easy-to-use identification of materials using picture verification

Thanks to picture verification, the operator at the goods receipt can identify the notified materials without prior knowledge of the incoming goods.

  • Damage report 

A further partial step of the goods receipt process is the documentation of damages. Photo attachments can easily be made and attached directly to the goods via the mobile device. Unnecessary ways are avoided. All relevant attachments are thus located in one place only, without the employee having to fill out paper or leave his workplace.

  • Sampling (Quality assurance -> QM integration)

During the process, the characteristic of the goods at goods receipt is further refined, for example after the inspection of a sample. A quality release and thus the integration of the quality management is also possible directly at the goods. This bundling of data ensures that the processes of the individual areas interlock seamlessly.

The highest goals of a successful goods receipt are to create short lead times and to keep inventory as low as possible achieving high process quality. This can be significantly improved by the use of Fiori Apps (or mobile apps) at goods receipt which in turn increases employee loyalty by digitizing manual tasks.

For a successful production supply, efficient warehousing and optimally coordinated processes are essential.
To ensure success, “just-in-time” or “just-in-sequence” goods supply is immensely important.

The different types of staging are supported by various applications. We adapt the appropriate apps to your warehouse management software and take your infrastructure into account.

  • Support of different staging types, such  as staging byproduction/process order, anonymous production supply or KANBAN
  • Individual calculation of demands by taking into account stocks in production, special stocks, call-offs already made, and integration into the ATP check (availability check)
  • Own KANBAN App (empty scan/full scan), integrated in SAP KANBAN board, including verification at pickup and transfer
  • Dedicated app for manual production supply in order to be able to trigger requirements in a targeted manner through a simple guided ordering process.

How you design the individual process steps of the respective picking zone basically depends on the layout and process organization of your warehouse. Uniform for all picking processes is the removal (source) and the transfer (destination) of the goods.

Efficient picking means flexible picking

With the help of a system-controlled, mobile app, your employees receive current picking orders via the work lists directly on their mobile devices. Regardless of single-stage or multi-level picking, the procedure is always the same. The source is controlled, the goods are picked and verified. Then the destination is selected and the transfer is verified.

Depending on the complexity of order processing, we recommend different mobile solutions.

  • forklift control system supports you in mapping multi-stage transport chains and in ensuring that the transfer processes are optimally synchronized.
  • With the option “Drive on sight” you enable the forklift driver to pick up handling units independently and to acknowledge the transfer.
  • Even in combination with paper pick lists and scanner support, you can effectively control your picking processes.

The digitalization of warehouses has made it possible to send the information from the forklift control system to the forklift control unit. Forklift control systems and the warehouse management environment work together in an increasingly interlocked and integrative way. The Driving-Instruction-App is able to send information in real time from the warehouse directly to the forklift control system. Technically, simple telegram transmission via ABAP Push Channel is used.

 

Ensure efficient organization (planning and execution) with the Inventory Management App.

Trust, but verify. Mobile Apps ensure clear conditions everywhere where stocktaking is concerned. Detailed and exact results are guaranteed by the digitalization of the inventory.

The inventory serves as an overview. Counting lists are created, inventory documents are printed, differences are checked and posted out again. No matter which inventory procedure you have chosen, the Inventory Management App works on the basis of the inventory document.

Stocktaking overview and stocktaking on mobile devices with SAP UI5

Keep track of who counts what and how much has already been counted. Easily monitor the progress of the count in real-time. The inventory results and corrections can be retrieved and adjusted directly in the app.

Support for counting goods is provided by the inventory counting app. With the help of this app, the person counting is guided to the corresponding storage bins. By verifying the individual storage bins, the link to the inventory document is established. The person counting scans material, or if necessary, the batch, and enters the counted quantity, after which he is guided to the next storage bin.

In order to organize the inventory even more efficiently, it is possible to carry out the inventory automatically by connecting to an RTLS (Real-Time Locating System) platform. The RTLS service locates and automatically records the materials previously tagged with a tag.

The Stock Info App supports you in all questions concerning your stock.

The automated reporting can be viewed at any time.

You can call up ad-hoc stock figures on storage locations and storage bin level. The feedback is displayed in the so-called drill-down function starting from plant/storage location down to warehouse bin.

Storage bin overviews on mobile devices with SAP UI5

Status reports of your KANBAN containers are also possible. You can view the status of the containers in real time and, if necessary, take immediate action to optimize fill levels.

Not a vision of the future - turn your warehouse into a smart warehouse today

The next step to the warehouse in times of industry 4.0 is the connection of RTLS. By tracking materials and their positions, automated actions can be triggered, such as a material transfer – completely automated without user interaction.

Ready for cloud and on-premise

All our apps are SAP Fiori apps (based on SAPUI5). Thus we work with the new standard UI technology of SAP. Data retrieval and update routines are based on SAP standard APIs from ERP and are ECC and S/4HANA ready. In addition, all apps can be provided and operated via the SAP Cloud Platform as well as on-premise – thus the apps are future-proof and a safe investment.

The cherry on top:

  • No further license fees
  • 100% integrated solution
  • No Vendor-Lock
  • Realtime data in your system (Digital Twin)

We recommend: Think big, start small

Are you facing the need to digitalize your warehouse? The improvement of your key figures can be initiated in small process steps. Many micro-processes lead to rapid success and thus to a fast return of investment.

  • We endorse the idea of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and develop quickly deployable apps for you, which continuously improve and gradually learn new functionalities.
  • In our experience, it is most sensible to apply an agile project methodology to new software development processes. The key to success lies in user centricity – i.e. early integration and orientation to the needs of the end users.

We support you in making your internal processes more efficient, safer and more cost-saving, thus improving your ability to deliver. Find out more about the quick to implement applications of Fiori Apps in your warehouse!

If you have any questions about this or any other topic in this Blog, please contact blog@leogistics.com.

Stefan Bröse
Senior Consultant SAP Logistics – leogistics GmbH

Bastian Schiele
Senior Solution Architect – cbs Corporate Business Solutions GmbH

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