Although the hearing aid’s dimensions are not so big its storage is the key factor in the DGS Poland supply chain. In 2014 the company’s production site located in Mierzyn was expanded by adding an automated Distribution Centre, which launched operations in 2015. Besides being a DC for distribution of finished goods to over 130 countries the site is also a production warehouse. Sophisticated products require sophisticated goods flow care – in DGS case this is done through Astro WMS®.

raised OTIF
order lines are being picked daily

The Distribution Center has 4 400 m2, stores 110 000 different SKUs in 2 860 pallet locations, 18 000 miniload containers and 4 500 shelving units. Every day, with the use of pick-by-light and pick-to-tote, 13 500 order lines and 1 200 production lines are being picked.

Great number of operations, small components, need of labelling each piece before it leaves for production are the challenges that people working in the Distribution Centre face every day. Orders differ from a single up to tens of thousands finished goods units. All this is supported by Astro WMS® delivered by Consafe Logistics.

Astro WMS® implementation process.

Switching from a manual warehouse with paper list printouts and increasing the efficiency by several times – this were the goals achieved with the opening of the Distribution Centre. Pre-study on how to implement and connect the WMS with other IT systems and a fully automated warehouse started in 2013. A team involving IT and logistics experts from DGS Poland, Consafe Logistics and automation vendor prepared a functional specification, described and mapped all warehouse processes and planned the way the new warehouse should work. Based on that system changes and process solutions have been developed.

Regular operations in Mierzyn started 3 months after all tests were completed and reaching targeted KPIs as OTIF took another 9 months.

“We have a very good partnership with the polish Consafe Logistics office. During the project we were provided with a detailed technical documentation”

Jerzy Hamerlak | IT WMS Business Consultant DGS Business Services

Efficient goods consolidation.

In order to meet all future needs the WMS provider implemented some advanced functionalities – First of all the system supports different types of picking and packing based on who the final recipient is. DGS prepares many different types of orders to fulfil the needs of end Customers. Picking can be done manually or automatically and there might be a need to combine all components into one set or ship each one separately. Some goods require scanning of a serial number and some don’t. The number of combinations created a need to use really advanced algorithms – Justyna Ganiec, Solution Responsible at Consafe Logistics. One of the most interesting functionalities is adjusting the optimization of packing to the specific industry requirements. Hearing aid elements are picked as separate components and then combined into a single set. During the whole picking process, both single components and sets, are moved into standard size plastic containers. And here comes the challenge – the same containers are being used for components as well as for the ready sets. However the dimensions of components used to create set are different than dimensions of a assembled set. To make it happen and to make the best use of containers space, Consafe developed a special algorithm for Astro WMS box calculation module.

Astro WMS® functionalities at DGS Poland:

  • GOODS OUT – offers a great view on all orders and their completion. Giving an option to easily identify delayed tasks and gain control over orders in the system.

  • ARTICLE – enables to modify the master data of thousands of SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) at once. In order to reach maximum effciency, proper article slotting (based on ABC classifi cation, purpose and dimensions) was a must.

  • UTILITIES – enables to present SQL queries directly in the application. Presents a real-time data when required by the end users.

  • MONITORING – access to system logs and history. Finding out picking errors and who made them takes only few minutes and gives a chance to correct them fast.

Easy packing.

One of Astro WMS® main abilities is material tracking with the use of storage units and combining manual picking with an automated one. It also stores each operation performed and gives a live view on all operation in the warehouse. Each component like hearing aids, accessories, instructions in desired language are transported to the packing station in plastic containers. They are then put together into a single set, their serial numbers and batches are scanned and the box are labelled. To secure a proper way of building a set a step by step instruction is shown together with pictures on the computer screen. The WMS guides the person preparing the set by presenting each step and gathering all data needed for later tracking. Astro WMS® has a built-in logic that allows to present packing instructions for many different types depending on the target country.

On time and without errors.

Right now every DGS Poland team leader has access to Astro WMS®. This allows them to check who is handling which package, what is the status, location and many more. Paper lists were changed to handheld terminals that guides picker through the warehouse. Operators do not have to search for articles having all needed information on one screen. The number of picking errors and mistaken articles has significantly decreased.

“Thanks to Astro WMS® implementation our OTIF (On Time In Full) indicator is at the level of 99,47%”

Piotr Szyszłowski | DC Support Manager DGS Poland

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