Hamamatsu Photonics had recently upgraded their IFS ERP platform to version Applications 9. Following this, they entered a period of business improvement reviews to drive more efficiencies and leverage the use of IFS across more of the business.
At their site in Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany, Hamamatsu Photonics were constructing a brand-new warehouse to house their supply chain processes and wanted to ensure the efficient use of IFS to underpin these processes for increased traceability and stock visibility. More specifically, they wanted to implement a mobile data capture solution to allow their warehouse operators to make use of barcodes for the handling and tracking of inventory/sales parts and reduce the manual burden on the order processing team.
“Cooper software was a great help with our first steps into a location bound warehouse system. The High Level Unit solution they have provided is a real game changer for our logistics.” Stephan Kalkschmidt, Warehouse.
Cooper Software worked with Hamamatsu Photonics to undertake a Business Information Review (BIR) to review their supply chain related processes, from procurement and purchase order receipt, through to customer order fulfilment. The BIR examined the key business requirements and data workflows. Based on the outcomes from this, a solution would be proposed for the use of mobile data capture where appropriate.
The BIR was carried out through a process focused workshop which was conducted on-site at the Herrsching am Ammersee facility, including a walk round of the current stores and of the warehouse currently under construction.
Based on our analysis of the key business requirements, we discovered that Hamamatsu Photonics existing data capture process was very manual therefore the chance of error was high. What’s more it was heavily paper based. Stock levels were also updated offline therefore there was a lack of accuracy. We recommended the roll out of ACQUIRE to the incoming goods and manufacturing processes. By configuring areas of IFS and implementing ACQUIRE transactions for receipt of goods, inventory management and picking/packing of customer orders, the ACQUIRE platform would allow the warehouse team to immediately operate more effectively and efficiently.
More importantly, it would allow the in-line capture of the required process data in order to provide key management information around the tracking of inventory, material usage and waste of raw material. The new ACQUIRE solution would:
- Integrate seamlessly and in real-time with IFS.
- Create part identification labels in order to easily track the goods.
- Improve traceability of batches in the supply chain to alleviate the need for operators to capture quality data on paper forms.
- Automate multiple system transactions in order to simplify the process for the end users.
- Provide a foundation for future rollout of the new warehouse processes.
Cooper Software proposed an incremental approach to delivering the full warehouse solution. By adopting this approach, feedback could be addressed on a phased basis, based on the previous increment in terms of any issues found or changes required.
This approach mitigated any risk in managing the change by ensuring the key stakeholders had early visibility of the solution and had sufficient time to become familiar with the new business processes. The approach also allowed those responsible for the technical infrastructure (server, handheld devices and RF network) to introduce the new technology in a gradual way – for example, set up of a single access point and device for initial testing and training.
Furthermore, we proposed an iterative approach that allowed us to deliver specific processes early and often by first implementing the most common flows and then iteratively add support for the special processes or handling of exceptions.
The project was delivered in approximately 4 months. Cooper Software were responsible for the configuration, customisation and delivery of the mobile data capture software solution. Hamamatsu Photonics were responsible for the supporting infrastructure in the new warehouse including the server infrastructure (test and production), RF networking and handheld devices. This included the procurement of, installing, testing and commissioning.
Benefits of the Solution
Hamamatsu Photonics are now fully up and running using ACQUIRE which has brought the following benefits:
- The provision of a robust user-friendly data capture solution that allows warehouse and manufacturing operators to perform system transactions using handheld scanners.
- The ability to capture key data for the traceability of batches or serials from supplier through receipt and onwards to customers.
- Significantly improved the availability of data within warehouse processes.
- Eliminated the need for paper-based forms to be completed for tracking raw material batches used.
- Mobile devices or dedicated workstations are now used to perform in-line system transactions.
- IFS transactions now are carried out by the warehouse operators at the point of execution as opposed to making use of the IFS back flush functionality where relevant.