MTU Friedrichshafen holds topping-out ceremony: The new Logistics Center for spare parts which is currently under construction in Überlingen will provide the future hub for MTU’s entire spares logistics processes, ensuring significant benefits for the whole sequence from order through to dispatch. Precisely coordinated IT systems will be available to control and monitor every stage of work in the new stores which are located on a covered site extending over a total of 20,000 square meters or the equivalent of three football pitches. The Logistics Center will house around 60 workers and provide approximately 14,000 storage locations in a 14-meter high-bay pallet store served by high-lift stackers.
The Center will also accommodate a fully-automatic small parts store with around 35,000 storage locations served by automatic rack storage and re-trieval units. Other storage and order-picking systems will also be in place to handle bulky and heavy items such as crankcases.
Central location simplifies spare parts logistics
The new facility is MTU Friedrichshafen’s response to the increasing de-mands associated with spare parts logistics. 20 years ago, MTU erected a logistics center at its Friedrichshafen-Manzell plant. Over the years, how-ever, demand has outstripped the capacity available there so that the company had to rent several different off-site stores and was no longer able to process spare parts storage centrally. The processes involved be-came ever more complex whilst the market demand for just-in-time supply continued to grow with customers expecting same-day processing of their orders.
Integration of IT systems
MTU’s economically efficient and comprehensive concept for spare parts logistics at a new, central location satisfies these market requirements as well as benefiting its lucrative spare parts business. The concept involves storage systems which are automated and mechanized to a high degree so that the integration of the materials flow and the IT systems is a vital factor in ensuring fast and trouble-free operation.
In future, all orders will be processed online at MTU with computerized control from receipt of order to dispatch. To achieve this, amongst other tools, MTU will be using the “Extended Warehouse Management” program which was specially developed by the SAP company. This warehouse administration software was conceived with large-scale spare parts stores and complex processes in mind and it controls all the processes which run within the stores. When an order is received, the parts required need to be removed from the store and collated. In the case of items from the small parts store, this is accomplished using fully automatic rack storage and retrieval units moving at up to four meters a second. Items from the 14-meter high pallet store are retrieved by high-lift stackers.
With 14,000 storage locations in the pallet store and 35,000 in the fully-automated small parts store, powerful software is needed to ensure a clear overview. The warehouse administration software to be used can depict the entire warehouse in detail on screen. The quantity of any particular spare part available can be determined with a click of the mouse and the system can also identify the parts’ exact location.
The software controls order collation and processes procedures between the placement of an order and dispatch of the goods rapidly and reliably. As a result, even urgent, last-minute orders from foreign customers can be made up on the same day and passed on to the relevant logistics partner ready for dispatch and with the correct transport order. In future, orders received before 16:00h will be guaranteed for same-day dispatch without the need for any special procedures.
Operation to start in mid-2008
MTU placed the first orders for the new storage facility in April 2007 and tendering for various fitting-out contracts is currently in progress with the aim of completing the building by December 2007. Installation of the technical facilities is scheduled to begin in parallel.
Comprehensive systems and facilities tests are planned for the first quarter of 2008 with relocation due for completion by the end of June 2008 when the entire spare parts logistics system will be run from the Überlingen facility.
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