May 5, 2014, 6:16 PM

Cloud-based data make it a breeze to meet demanding delivery requirements

With web-based warehouse management software, Strama-MPS more quickly delivers the robotic and other assembly and testing equipment for a new factory building chassis for a Germany-based car manufacturer.

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For a new manufacturing plant under construction for a German car manufacturer, Strama-MPS no longer has to rely on spreadsheets to locate equipment in its warehouse—a process that would have made it virtually impossible to meet the carmaker’s need for fast and precise “just-in-time” delivery. 

Strama-MPS receives in its warehouse facilities manufacturing equipment the carmaker orders from multiple suppliers, then manages the final delivery of the equipment to the plant and installs it for the carmaker.

To better manage the logistics of getting the manufacturing equipment from its warehouse to the carmaker’s plant, Strama is working with a new Internet-based warehouse management system that enables it to deliver the equipment within hours of getting a request from the carmaker, which Strama was not free to name, says Christoph Schulte, Strama’s head of logistics planning. With Strama’s warehouses located one hour by delivery truck from the new chassis manufacturing plant, Strama now is better positioned to locate and prepare the ordered equipment and deliver it to fulfill an order—all within the two-hour just-in-time equipment strategy the car manufacturer demands. 

The just-in-time strategy is important because the new plant doesn’t have storage space to hold the robotics and other equipment that Strama delivers until the car manufacturer is ready to have Strama install it. So as the carmaker oversees the installation of components of its complex assembly and testing equipment, it needs to be able to quickly order and receive new components as it’s ready to have Strama install them, says Bernhard Oymann, managing director of Softeon EMA GmbH, the provider of Strama’s warehouse management system, which is known as WMS Cloud. Softeon EMA GmbH is the Germany-based unit of Softeon Inc., which is headquartered in Reston, VA. 

Instead of dealing with spreadsheet reports showing lists of equipment and their locations in warehouses, Strama relies on a warehouse management system that lets warehouse workers use handheld radio frequency devices to scan new equipment when it arrives at a warehouse and when it leaves for delivery to the client, Softeon says. As a result, personnel at the carmaker and Strama can log on to the WMS Cloud application to get instant updates of inventory availability and location, allowing the carmaker’s engineers to manage the progress at the plant site with real-time information on orders and deliveries.

An added benefit of the Softeon technology, Strama says, was the ability to quickly set it up for serving the chassis plant from the four Strama warehouses. "We were very pleasantly surprised at how quickly and smoothly Softeon could implement our requirements in an operational system,” Schulte says. “We were able to concentrate fully on our processes at any time with confidence that Softeon would deliver.” 

Schulte adds Softeon also was able to quickly make adjustments to the WMS Cloud application—for example, to accommodate changes in warehouse picking processes to keep order fulfillment and delivery within the required two-hour period. “Softeon´s logistics experts and software engineers were always available for last-minute changes or adjustments and the system implementation was very agile and flexible,” Schulte says. He adds that, despite the modifications, Strama did not have to renegotiate its contract price with Softeon. “The project was very goal-oriented,” he says.

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