Böwe Systec project report

Warehouse modernisation in five months

The objective of the warehouse reorganisation was the replacement of the ten-year-old hardware platform as well as upgrading the warehouse management software, which was also obsolete. As general contractor, S&P was responsible for the introduction of the new warehouse management software, the modernisation of the underlying control system (MFR) and integration of the SAP/R2 software through an online interface. The entire modernisation and reorganisation of the warehouse was subject to a total duration of just five months. During the reorganisation, functional components from the PPS system that resulted from Böwe-specific production conditions were integrated into the new warehouse management system. The host system transmits all production orders online to the warehouse management system, each with an average of 400 operations. There, the required quantities based on production are bundled into removal orders for several complete production lots per operation and article. The significant aspect here was the reduction in picking effort in the automatic small parts warehouse (ASPW) with a significant reduction in picking line items per workstation.

The data exchange between the PPS and the WMS, which had previously been done on magnetic tape, was converted to an online connection. The prerequisite for this was the implementation of an interface based on Lu6.2 using CPI-C libraries from SAP. The R/2 connection was also converted during live operation to an SAP R/3 connection via IDOC. 

The basic requirement for introduction of the new software was a smooth transition from old to new warehouse management system without stopping warehouse operations for longer than a weekend. 

During that period, the inventory was moved into the new database one storage location at a time (including the tray layout). The production orders already started in the PPS were also migrated, along with the requirement quantities from the old warehouse management system. 

To integrate the ASPW, warehouse operations were reduced from three to two shifts during the two-week commissioning phase. During the third shift, the 6-aisle ASPW with fixed trays was coupled to the new warehouse management system and tested. During the rest of the time, the manually operated sheet metal and rod storage as well as the pallet and component warehouse were put into operation.

Application software

  • Goods receipt data entry based on prior notices from SAP
  • Consideration of article-specific packaging units during goods receipt data entry and picking in the manually operated sheet metal and rod storage
  • Scrap accounting and reporting of incoming and outgoing materials in the sheet metal and rod storage to SAP
  • Bundling of production orders into stacks based on similarity of operations in production, with the objective of reducing the number of picks
  • Assignment of transports by priority, taking into consideration single-item stack picking in the automatic warehouse
  • Entry of replenishment orders for "Kanban parts" in production using MDE
  • Bypass function for missing parts in goods receipt, with a notice to SAP for missing quantity resolution
  • Warehouse information system (among other things)
  • Operations management (among other things)

Hardware and system software

  • The project, originally implemented on a Compaq Alpha server, was migrated to the IBM RS/6000.
  • A TCP/IP network was used to connect 14 network terminals with barcode reader guns, 2 PCs, 12 barcode label printers and 2 fast list printers.
  • The original online host interface to SAP R/2 through SNA/LU6.2 was replaced with an IDOC interface to SAP R/3.
  • The connection to the underlying control system for the automatic small parts warehouse by viastore systems (previously Haushahn Automationssysteme GmbH) was implemented using an Ethernet connection.

About Böwe Systec

BÖWE SYSTEC GmbH, headquartered in Augsburg, is among Europe's top providers of high-performance envelopes, card logistics and shipping, reader technologies, mail sorting and innovative software. The company one of the world's leading solution providers of modern printing and mail processing centres, so-called mailrooms. 

The company was founded in Augsburg in the early 50s. Its roots lie in cutting machines for continuous documents. Later came powerful envelope systems, special systems for the shipping of sensitive documents like insurance policies, and plastic cards as well as special software concepts – a development culminating in their status as a globally active complete provider for the mailroom. BÖWE SYSTEC GmbH and its international subsidiaries are a part of the Possehl Group, which earns about 2.8 billion Euros in sales each year with over 11,000 employees.