Harro Höfliger Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH
Design of a new logistics and picking center for Harro Höfliger Verpackungsmaschinen
Fit for the future following the design of a new logistics and picking center
Thanks to its impressive strength in innovation, Harro Höfliger Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH grew so quickly that adapting the infrastructure of this successful SME company was no longer a simple affair. Familiar manual processes were reaching their limits. Working in close cooperation with their client, consultants from Ingenics AG delivered an object lesson in how to design a successful restructuring project.
- Development of a practical solution, taking into consideration specific machine designs (e. g. changing and growing parts lists)
- Consolidation of product-related flows of goods at a storage facility
- Implementation of the 6R methodology as a principle of logistics (the right materials, at the right time, in the right quantity, at the right place, in the right quality, and at the right cost)
- Development of delivery and control logic for production
Harro Höfliger Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH had reached a critical point: the SME company had grown so quickly as a result of its innovative strength that it was no longer a straightforward matter to adapt the infrastructure one step at a time. Additionally, capacity was tight and familiar processes – many of them manual in nature – were reaching their limits at the traditional site in Allmersbach im Tal (Rems-Murr, Baden-Württemberg). To make the company and its processes fit for the future, Harro Höfliger asked Ingenics to come on board. Working closely with the client, the consultants developed a convincing solution.
As it happened, Harro Höfliger had recently commissioned a second assembly hall. Due to rapid and unpredictable growth, however, the company was once again reaching its capacity. Established processes that had formed the backbone of assembly for decades were also at their limit. These problems were most noticeable in the area of logistics. At the same time, it was becoming increasingly difficult to supply the second plant in Satteldorf with parts in a timely fashion.
Despite every effort and a range of temporary solutions, the production of individual parts could no longer be expanded in the existing space. As a result, the management had no choice but to agree on the development of a new production and logistics center. Given the urgency of the situation, it was not possible to consider the alternative of a new building. Instead, the team found a suitable commercial property in the nearby village of Aspach. It was then a matter of finding a pragmatic way to implement the clear vision of management and developing a sustainable, forward-looking logistics concept during regular operations that would allow for anticipated future growth without locking up excessive investment funds.
The factory and logistics planning experts at Ingenics proved to be the ideal partners when it came to developing a solution for this challenging task – not least because they set out to involve employees in the process while following an efficient, methodical approach in logistics planning. This turned out to be a significant success factor because the products at Harro Höfliger mean that not only official processes are important, but also ongoing discussions on an individual and specific basis. Especially given that the technical solutions are extremely high performance – from fully automated assembly and filling to the packaging of innovative products – a sustainable logistics concept plays a decisive role.
In order to prepare the team for the changes ahead, the initial analysis workshop served to document current logistics processes as a group. A summary was then drawn up to describe what those concerned wanted to optimize before the range of parts in the existing inventory was analyzed and classified. On this basis, it was possible to find a valid calculation for the actual space requirements at the new site at an early stage – a figure that turned out to be remarkably accurate.
The logistics planners from Ingenics then developed a practical approach for the range of parts that entailed allocating the individual parts supplied for particular orders to different storage systems (standard crates, Euro pallets, and custom sizes) depending on their size category and the assemblies within. The new warehousing strategy is so flexible that it can meet all requirements in every way.
Since the new logistics and picking center has been in operation at the Aspach site, it has supplied the company’s assembly plants (now three in number) without difficulty. Based on the overall concept, now tried and tested in practice, a strategic continuous improvement process has been developed.