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How Warehouse Optimization Technology : Impacts Sparkling Wine Manufacturer Schloss Wachenheim

by Thomas R. Cutler   |   March, 2022

In a newly built warehouse in Trier, Germany, Schloss Wachenheim AG centralizes its logistics for subsidiaries Vino Weinhandel GmbH and Rindchen's Weinkontor GmbH & Co. KG. A demanding promotional business and seasonal fluctuations define the daily business of these two wine retailers. Schloss Wachenheim mastered these challenges with Pick-by-Vision from Picavi. The company reduced the error rate in order picking and optimizes productivity and workplace safety. Red wine in winter, white wine in summer and a fruity ros? in spring - at Vino's and Rindchen's stores, anyone looking for a fine wine with the best price - enjoyment ratio will find what they are looking for. Rindchen's Weinkontor and Vino are subsidiaries of Schloss Wachenheim AG, one of the world's largest suppliers of sparkling wines. In addition to its headquarters in Trier, the company is represented by other subsidiaries in France and Eastern Europe. Schloss Wachenheim sells its products in more than 80 countries around the world.

Carsten Funke has been working for Picavi since 2016. Since 2018, the Chief Sales Officer has also been a shareholder of the Aachen-based company. At the beginning of 2019, the trained businessman also took over the position of CEO at the US subsidiary Picavi U.S. Inc., which will promote the North American business of the provider of the pick-by-vision solution. Carsten Funke, born in 1975, worked in the management of a non-profit organization before joining Picavi,

TRCutler: How did Picavi help the company centralize logistics in the new warehouse?

Carsten Funke: Logistics for the two wine retailers had previously been handled by logistics service providers. In order to centralize and standardize the processes, Schloss Wachenheim built its own warehouse in Trier at the beginning of March 2021. Vino currently handles its entire logistics from here, and Rindchen will move into the new building in summer 2022. The aim is to align the process flows and the IT platform of the brands and to centralize all logistics in one place. Schloss Wachenheim stores the goods of both wine retailers in an area over 50,000 square feet with more than 6,000 storage spaces.

TRCutler: Why is the order picking required at such a high level?

Carsten Funke: A high level of order picking is required, especially during heavy promotional sales, on days such as Black Friday and in the run-up to Christmas. In day-to-day business, the weekly deliveries to the 35 stores, each with up to 80 items and around 5,000 bottles, are also prepared from Trier. This is a huge task for the order pickers in the warehouse, for which those responsible at Schloss Wachenheim wanted to provide them with digital support.

TRCutler: How does the Pick-by-Vision technology offer an assistance system for the pickers?

Carsten Funke: According to Arno Kuhl, supply chain manager at Schloss Wachenheim AG, the company was looking for an assistant to make the pickers' work easier. The company goal was for employees to have both hands free throughout the process. Especially for handling fragile goods, this was important. Lists or scanners are just a hindrance reported Kuhl. The company is focused on the fastest possible delivery of the orders, completeness is also a priority, a complex final inspection was added, which cost valuable time and at times even required an additional employee. This employee had to remove each individual bottle from its carton, scan its barcode again for verification, and repack it. The company wanted to avoid this time-consuming process at its new warehouse location as a preventative measure. But the standard solution of the ERP system introduced for this purpose also showed similar weaknesses to Pick-by-Scan, as picking was to be handled via an app on the smartphone. Since conventional Pick-by-Scan and Pick-by-Paper solutions proved too inefficient, the company turned to Pick-by-Vision expert Picavi.

TRCutler: How was the final inspection directly integrated into the picking process?

Carsten Funke: In practice, the advantages of Pick-by-Vision quickly became apparent. With the help of the smart glasses, the time required can be reduced considerably, as the tedious final inspection is integrated directly into the picking process. For this purpose, the barcode of the item was linked to that of the corresponding carton. The picker finally scans it at the item's storage location to confirm the product.

TRCutler: How does the system handle questions or problems?

Carsten Funke: In case of questions or problems, the control station also communicates unproblematically with the employees via the smart glasses and, after confirmation by the picker, optionally connects directly to the interface of the smart glasses. Communication takes place via push notifications, visually or auditorily during operation. Two priority levels with which the control station can send the messages help with this. Urgent messages immediately cover the entire screen with signal colors and require immediate attention from the picker. The picker then implements the instructions on the glasses immediately.

TRCutler: What advantages has the team at Schloss Wachenheim noticed with Pick-by-Vision?

Carsten Funke: Some of the advantages were seen even before the practical test. Kuhl noted that during the presentation of Picavi, they were allowed to test the smart glasses. Immediately the team knew that the intuitive interface of the smart glasses would massively reduce the training time for new warehouse employees. This was a particularly strong advantage especially for seasonal peaks because the need to deploy additional staff at short notice requires easy to use technology.

TRCutler: How have the pickers responded to the Pick-by-Vision technology?

Carsten Funke: Pickers are enthusiastic about the solution. All items in the new warehouse are commissioned with Pick-by-Vision. The feedback from the pickers is positive with many describing the handling and user guidance of the smart glasses as intuitive and simple compared to the MDE devices and other picking methods. The interaction with the back of the hand scanner from ProGlove also proved to be optimal.

TRCutler: What is the next step for Picavi and the team at Schloss Wachenheim?

Carsten Funke: The company is considering adding Picavi Cockpit functionalities to the solution in the future. With the Smart Data Analytics function, the company could use the data generated during picking to identify optimization potential in the technical warehouse infrastructure or the arrangement of items in the warehouse. In particular, this could prove to be a valuable support during the periodic rearrangements of the warehouse, which are regularly necessary due to the strong seasonal business.

Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., celebrating its 23rd year. Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 9000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. TR Cutler, Inc. launched two new divisions focusing on Gen Z and the African manufacturing sector. Cutler authors more than 1000 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Over 5000 industry leaders follow Cutler on Twitter daily at @ThomasRCutler. Contact Cutler at See More Details.

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