ekz Bibliotheksservice project report

ekz.bibliotheksservice GmbH is a specialist in libraries whose product range covers all the needs of libraries. That includes:

  • Furniture
  • Accessories/materials
  • Library systems
  • Media 

A comprehensive reorganisation of the material flows in the area of media – especially books, games and audio media – was needed to continue to meet the needs of the market. The requirement for faster delivery while simultaneously reducing process costs was one of the project's primary challenges.

The significant design tasks were:

  • Reduction of through times by 20%
  • Elimination of inventory
  • Optimisation of procurement paths
  • Direct pick-and-pack process
  • Increased transparency at all levels

The consistent solution approaches were defined by measures throughout the supply chain:

  • Procurement
  • Warehousing
  • Goods receipt
  • Production
  • Picking
  • Shipping


One entirely new feature is the procurement of media on already existing customer orders. This requires the precision preparation of customer orders, but also fast, reliable delivery by suppliers, which is ensured by means of appropriate contracts with the publishers and retail booksellers.


Customer-specific procurement almost entirely eliminated the inventory required and therefore warehousing costs.

Goods receipt

Together with the reduction in process steps, an exact assignment of titles and each copy of each book to the corresponding customer order is essential. This important task is already handled during the goods receipt processing. There – in addition to the inspection and entry of master data – the individual copies are labelled with a 2D barcode. That already defines the individual copy explicitly as belonging to the specific customer. The copies for the customer-specific production process are prepared during goods receipt. 


Production includes different types of production and thus also different production lines. The basic distinction is between:

  • Shrink-wrapped
  • Sewn and shrink-wrapped
  • Bound with a protective cover or
  • Bound without a protective cover

The production lines were reorganised to ensure a continuous, straight material flow from goods receipt to finished product. At the same time, production systems were replaced or added to meet quality and delivery speed requirements.


After production, all copies are sent to a sorting system.

In the first step, the copies are automatically pre-sorted. Large and normal orders are handled separately at this stage. The second step in sorting for normal orders is manual, but with system support. At the end of the ejection tracks there are scanners installed that read each copy once again. The system then shows the worker a customer carton into which the copy must be packed. The customer cartons are stored in shelving racks equipped with a pick-by-light system. The storage process is supported by lamp displays on the shelves. Each storage item is acknowledged.

Special handling

The particular service provided by ekz.bibliotheksservice GmbH is ready-to-lend processing, which gives libraries the option of lending all media with no further processing. This is carried out on a carton-by-carton basis and is integrated directly into the workflow. An additional service at this stage is the option of RFID labelling.

Goods issue

All shipping cartons are labelled by a central process, provided with an accurate delivery note and sealed.

IWLAG, a planning and consulting company in Ulm, supported the ekz.bibliotheksservice GmbH project group from development of the idea to detailing of the processes to operational use.

S&P Computersysteme GmbH provided the application software connected to the host system for sorting and storage of the books, Linux-based server systems, the pick-to-light system and the entire workstation equipment set consisting of touch screen PCs and 2D digital scanners. The overflow areas were also installed, each also equipped with a 2D scanner and MC9060 mobile data radio terminals with Wireless LAN.