Digital at full power
The Kraft Baustoffe GmbH has optimized its logistics processes to a large extent and uses all modules of the Wanko–Suite for warehouse, transport and fleet management.. The close cooperation between Wanko and Kraft leads to permanent improvements.
When it comes to digitizing delivery processes, the building materials industry is not exactly considered a pioneer. All the more fall Companies like the Munich-based Kraft Baustoffe GmbH which recognized the signs of the times as early as 2007 have “We wanted to take advantage of the great potential of IT for more customer service and transparency, and set out to find for a suitable logistics software“, explains logistics manager Michael Herzner.
"We wanted to use the great potential of IT for more customer service and transparency and set out to find suitable logistics software"
Michael Herzner | Logistics Manager
Short learning times
Back in 2008, the long-established building materials dealer and service provider installed Wanko’s PraMag warehouse management system. The software guides employees step-by-step through the putaway and picking processes. PraMag calculates the route optimized for each delivery bill, which is processed on the basis of the dialog on the display of the mobile scanners. “PraMag has minimized the sources of errors and drastically shortened the training period for new employees. Today, it is no longer necessary to know our 12,000 items and be able to tell them apart when retrieving them. New colleagues are very productive after just a few days,” reports Deputy Logistics Manager Georg Hempel.
At Kraft, PraMag is directly connected to the Unitrade merchandise management system. “At the time, Wanko was the only provider that could digitally map not only our delivery processes, but also our 500 to 700 daily self-pickups,” Herzner says. Another argument in favor of Wanko was the great flexibility and the will to constantly develop the solution further and adapt it to the needs of the customers. “This is where it becomes noticeable that Wanko, just like us, is a
"PraMag has minimized the sources of errors and drastically reduced the training time for new employees."
Georg Hempel | Logistics Manager
In addition, Wanko was able to offer an end-to-end solution for all goods movements between goods receipt and delivery. An option that is consistently used by Kraft Baustoffe: Since 2012, the approximately 300 daily delivery orders have also been distributed among the 30 vehicles with the help of the PraCar route planning and transport management system and delivered within 24 hours of receipt of the order. Kraft delivers within a radius of around 60 kilometers around Munich – for smaller loads weighing up to 300 kg in the immediate vicinity, Kraft uses two cargo e-bikes.
Freight e-bikes and trucks are dispatched centrally by four dispatchers for all Munich locations. Central scheduling only became possible thanks to PraCar, which brought an enormous savings effect. After all, the construction sites are not always in the delivery area of the commissioned branch and are sometimes approached more efficiently from another location. In addition, not every location has the entire assortment, so that for some tours two locations have to be approached for loading.
Orders can be changed at any time
In this context, another advantage of the Wanko Suite comes into play: “Delivery orders can also be changed or split up in the course of route planning. This is important if, for example, an item is no longer available at the intended location and has to be loaded elsewhere,” knows scheduling manager Patrick Bouassida. Due to the proximity between PraMag warehouse management and PraCar route planning, the dispatcher can see at a glance which goods can be loaded at which location. The actual route planning is then carried out clearly on three large screens using “drag & drop”.
PraCar’s user interfaces follow the same logic as PraMag’s screen views, creating another major advantage: “Because of the similarity of the software applications, our employees can easily switch between the warehouse management and scheduling work areas,” says Hempel. However, not only the change between departments, but also the complete new start in the Kraft team is easy with Wanko. “Even for new colleagues without an affinity for IT, it’s easy to learn how to use the Wanko Suite. Once you’ve seen it, you quickly get to grips with it,” Herzner has observed.
"Delivery orders can also still be changed or split up in the course of route planning. This is important if, for example, an item is no longer available at its intended location and needs to be loaded elsewhere"
Patrick Bouassida | Disposition Manager
Life made much easier
Since 2014, the dispatchers have also been supported by the PraBord telematics solution, also from Wanko. “Telematics and its tracking function has made life much easier for dispatchers and drivers,” Bouassida notes. Almost all communication now takes place via the on-board computers, which allows the drivers to concentrate better on their work. Especially during the unloading processes, which are not infrequently supported by loading cranes or transportable forklifts, every phone call is a disruption.
Even independently of this, drivers no longer want to do without telematics and the associated mobile on-board computer. On its display, they see not only the current orders, but also the upcoming tours of the day. This allows each driver to be well prepared for what is still to come.
Last but not least, the workload reduction for dispatchers has also helped absorb the growth of the fleet, which has grown by 50 percent from 20 to 30 vehicles between 2015 and 2022. “Without the Wanko suite, the work would have long since been impossible to manage by four dispatchers,” Bouassida says.
But with the introduction of the third module of the Wanko suite, Kraft Baustoffe’s IT project was far from over. “We are in constant contact with Wanko and are working together on further improvements,” says Herzner, who mentions another significant advantage of the end-to-end software solution in this regard: “The Wanko suite eliminates interfaces between the individual modules, which always mean a risk – this is especially true for changes.” With multiple vendors, any software update can cause problems that no one wants to be responsible for.
Accelerated pickup process
Herzner and his team don’t have to worry about such things when they work with Wanko on improvements and optimized processes: Currently, the focus is on an accelerated pickup process that is currently being tested in Höhenkirchen. “The salesperson sends the retrieval order directly to the forklift driver’s mobile scanner. However, the driver can change the order at any time if another need comes to mind for the customer in the warehouse,” Hempel explains. The customer then signs on the display of the Honeywell CT60XP mobile computer, which triggers the printing of the receipt.
Another planned improvement to the software relates to cost sharing. A new function will soon make it possible for sales staff to see on the monitor during the sales call what the logistics costs of the order in question will be. “This provides our sales staff with targeted warnings of orders with negative contribution margins,” says Hempel, who expects the new function to generate significant savings.
The cooperation with Wanko works very well, especially since several Wanko employees now know our specific requirements and are deeply involved in the matter."
| Logistics Manager
Kraft Baustoffe is relaxed about the upcoming coordination talks with Wanko: “The cooperation with Wanko is working very well, especially since several Wanko employees now know our specific requirements and are deeply involved in the matter,” Herzner emphasizes. This concentrated know-how will also simplify the planned introduction of the electronic delivery bill in 2023.
Background: Kraft Baustoffe GmbH
The KRAFT Group is currently the largest building materials trading company in the Munich area. In and around the Bavarian capital, KRAFT operates 5 locations with large storage and exhibition areas. They are located in Freimann, Sendling, Aubing, Parsdorf and Höhenkirchen. The company operates another site in Mönchengladbach. The range consists of around 12,000 items, most of which are permanently available in a warehouse area of 55,000 square meters. For the stock range, the traditional company offers a 24-hour delivery service in the Munich area.
The fleet comprises around 30 vehicles that are equipped for almost all unloading situations: These include trucks with special cranes, lifting platforms or truck-mounted forklifts, as well as the option for floor unloading. Sprinters and cargo e-bikes round out the company’s own fleet. The history of the company dates back to 1886. More info under www.kraft-baustoffe.de.
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