Industry and logistics 4.0 cover the entire supply chain, from placing orders and delivering components to shipping of goods and after-sales services. Modern tools support employees by giving them access to valuable information at any given time and place. Companies which introduced such innovative solutions can reduce the costs and gain an advantage over competitors.
Integration of systems and people in industry and logistics 4.0 is possible thanks to the Internet and IT technologies. It’s about the easy identification and flow of information, carried out vertically: from individual elements to the IT system and back. The data flow also takes place horizontally – there are machines involved in the process that also provide information to each other.
Wabco is a global supplier of parts and subassemblies (mainly in the field of safety) for trucks, which decided to implement the Logistics 4.0 solution to optimize work in the warehouse, as well as when loading and unloading goods. The system created especially for Wabco consists of three interconnected modules.
Logistics 4.0 in a warehouse
The first module covers a ramp and a warehouse. Sensors placed in a warehouse provide information on a given pallet’s availability and update it to the system. The operators of internal transport also see this data on screens suspended above the ramps and on terminals in which each vehicle is equipped. In addition, on the fast-moving places located on the outermost areas of the shelves, there is a traffic light which improves the work and helps operators to make sure that the place is free or occupied.
One of the elements of the module is a network solution facilitating the planning of loading. Thanks to it, on the monitors placed above the ramp, employees can find detailed information about the task at a given position. The second module handles unloading operations and is based on assumptions similar to loading. In turn, the third module is responsible for reporting. It is this module, and more specifically the functionality associated with the analysis of the report, which allows the streamlining of the flow of goods by precisely identifying mistakes and delays in the work of operators and carriers.
All activities get a code
Integration, optimization and automation of the flow of information, and as a result simplified management and improvement of results is also the effect of implementing an innovative solution at Fuchs Oil (manufacturer and supplier of, among others, oils for vehicles and machines). A large number of branches in dispersed locations allows on the one hand for quick access to the client, on the other, it generates a significant number of data, the quality of which required improvement.
Time-limited service technicians may not always make precise reports that are so important for the company in order to determine the need for often very expensive substances. The first step to fully automating the processes was to find a device that on one hand would fulfill the function of a mobile computer, telephone and camera, and on the other hand would be resistant to falls, humidity, dust and dirt. In the next stage, the emphasis was placed on improving the monitoring of oil supply to customers, reporting along with the acceleration of receiving feedback as well as the elimination of potential errors.
Photo: Fuchs Oil
The serviceman, going to the customer to perform commissioned work, for example in the area of oil and lubrication in machines, knows that every device on which he will work has its barcode, just like any oil and grease pack. Such barcode is also assigned to every activity performed by the service technician. Its task is to scan all codes, enter the number of materials used and provide his or her location along with the customer’s name. In addition, they must enter the amount of time devoted to the requested action and details of the person approving the work on the client’s side.
After returning to the home branch, all data from the performed maintenance services are placed in the central computer, which generates a detailed report for the client. The report takes into account the duration of particular activities, amount of materials used, and serviced devices among others. The report along with the invoice is sent to the customer. All data is encrypted and can also be exported to other departments, i.e. for comparison purposes.