As a leading global logistics services provider, DB Schenker supports its customers in many different industries. At one of its contract logistics sites in the south of the Netherlands, services are provided for a consumer goods manufacturer. “We’ve been doing this for around twenty years. To the client's satisfaction,” says Govert Stroeve, Logistic Support Senior Operative at Schenker Logistics Nederland. “What started out with four pallet locations has grown into an entire warehouse and a logistics operation employing a large and dedicated full-time workforce.” In the logistics center, the services provider is responsible for, amongst other things, various value-added services and getting shipments ready. “We send shipments out to customers all over the world,” adds Stroeve.
In order to optimise part of the work, Schenker Logistics Nederland B.V. enlisted the help of Datalogic, who together with partner Kobobss and EVC (Verpakking), developed a solution to ensure faster and more efficient processes and being less susceptible to errors. Not that the error percentage was high. On the contrary, very few errors were made. Stroeve explains: “Once assembled, all pallets get checked by a quality auditor before going to the shipping department. A pallet will be disassembled first of all, and any errors corrected, and then the pallet will be re-assembled. The packaging has several labels and the barcodes are close together. Scanning the codes was laborious and took a lot of time. In short, we felt that we could make efficiency improvements.”
Our task was clear: develop a robust solution to raise productivity on the workbench and so reduce cycle times without having a negative impact on the ultimate quality. Furthermore, the solution had to be scalable to be able to accommodate the increase in volume and increase in stock-keeping units in future. “We ourselves considered a scanning solution like the ones you see in the supermarket. ‘Simply’ move the packaging across a display and all the information is processed,” explains Stroeve. The issue turned out to be more complex however. The packaging that is checked during the quality control features an array of information, including product number, serial number, country of origin and number of units. “Much of this data is not required for ensuring effective control. There are also exceptions, of course,” according to Stroeve.
The final solution, which has been named Scan-O-Matic, is not unlike the supermarket solution initially envisaged. The intelligent workbench features a Datalogic high performance imager, type Matrix 410N, supplied by Kobobss.
The imager takes a photo of the products that are moved across the display. The software knows what information is required, and stores it. With the new multi-scanning solution, all data is available, including photos. This way, any subsequent complaints or queries can be dealt with quickly and properly. “And if we then require different or additional data in the future, we can make any adjustments ourselves via the interface very easily and quickly,” explains Stroeve. For optimum ergonomics, the imager’s red light has been replaced with a blue light. The scanning table is also electrically height-adjustable and so it is easy to adjust to suit the operator.
Whereas before we were doing around 1,000 scans per hour, the Scan-O-Matic achieves 5,500 scans per hour without any problem. “So, we have easily attained the envisaged productivity gains,” says Stroeve. For the time being, the intelligent workbenches are only being used for pallet shipments leaving the DB Schenker site. “But it is entirely feasible that we will also use them for our retail orders in future. We already know that time savings can be made here too. Plus, you have the benefits of ergonomic working,” concludes Stroeve.
Client: Schenker Logistics Nederland B.V.
Industry: Third party logistics
Application: Quality control
Country: The Netherlands
Datalogic partner: Kobobss — Yerseke