- Case Studies
From factory structure planning, warehouse planning to process design, tender management & change management
For many companies, their own location and the value created there represent the core of corporate activity. There are many challenges here, challenges that are essential for the successful development of business. Topics range from factory structure planning and warehouse planning to material flow design, on through to process design. Depending on individual requirements, other aspects such as a structured tender management or start-up support can be crucial for success. Personnel, a cross-sectional function that affects all areas of a location, deserves special attention. As part of organizational development and change management, employees have to be incorporated into the change process and actively advance the implementation. This results in greater acceptance of the measures and therefore secures their long-term success. In addition to these topics, the potential of automation and digitalization should always be considered, and technical innovations in every phase checked with regard to their rationale and applicability.
Challenges of factory structure planning
For many companies, the factory is the central point of corporate activity. Frequently, however, it is the case that its production and/or logistics structures were conceived or erected many years ago. Significant market growth and expanded sales opportunities make the adjustment of production and logistics capacities inescapable. Spatial expansion possibilities in existing locations are often limited, which is why existing buildings have to be used as efficiently as possible.
This is why it makes sense to re-think existing infrastructure and processes in production and to adjust them with the help of factory structure planning. Essentially three areas can be examined with factory structure planning:
A structured and transparent process enables sound investment decisions
The process is similar for all three areas, so that these challenges can be examined in parallel.
In the beginning, the actual situation on-site is recorded and analyzed. Combined with the goals in question, initial potential and possibilities for action are derived. In the next step, adjustments are made based on the existing layout in order to implement measures and realize the potential. For example, this includes space utilization in individual areas and material flow planning in production. To depict these transparently, we simulate the new layout with our own MAGELLAN software. Adjustments and their effects as well as optimizations can then be traced directly in the 2D and 3D visualization. Then the measures identified are categorized, evaluated and prioritized using business cases, so that recommendations for further procedure can be made.
Brownfield or greenfield?
In particular cases, it makes sense to adjust existing structures or expand them so that optimized space utilization and a material flow concept can be implemented (brownfield). valantic can help with detailed implementation planning so that the adjustments can be made without shutting down normal operations. If it appears that current capacities cannot be adjusted to market requirements even with optimizations, the design of a new location or expansion of the existing location may be required (greenfield). With our comprehensive approach, we can use our experience in location development planning to help you with all relevant planning steps, from the rough concept to the implementation concept on through to start-up.
For more than a year, valantic helped a medium-sized company in the construction industry with factory development planning for its locations. Initially, through a one-week logistics audit, the current state was determined and weak points were identified. Based on these impressions, measures were derived, which were checked for their feasibility and economic efficiency. The implementations ranged from system engineering and process design for a new ERP system to tender assistance for logistics equipment, on through to implementation planning including risk analysis.
At the beginning of the project, the actual state analysis was done with a value stream examination of existing processes and structures in the current location. The material flow analysis revealed weak points within the processes and structures, which were then clustered and prioritized. In joint workshops with the customer, several scenarios with different degrees of granularity were developed, discussed, evaluated, and agreed upon. valantic’s 2D/3D simulation tool Magellan ensured transparent decision-making and visualization. This way, it was possible to reduce the customer’s circulating stock and external transport costs and to reduce throughput times.
Warehouse capacities are very important at many companies and for numerous products. On the one hand, storage means supply security for the company’s own production and for customers and buyers of finished or semi-finished products. At the same time, storage means maintaining large, valuable spaces at the company, spaces that cost a lot. That’s why companies have developed many alternative concepts for storing products in recent years. However, just-in-sequence and just-in-time deliveries and externally managed warehouses are not possible and do not make sense for all types of parts. That’s why close-to-production warehouse structures are absolutely necessary.
For efficient and cost-effective storage, the existing infrastructure has to be re-planned and adjusted from time to time. Due to dynamic adjustments in the product and quantity spectrum of a warehouse, its processes also have to be checked at regular intervals to ensure they are up-to-date. Here it is crucial that intervention into the warehouse structure should not interrupt business operations and that optimizations and changes be added smoothly.
valantic’s consulting approach offers warehouse planning that creates plant structures for high-performance, future-oriented processes. We plan and dimension comprehensive storage and picking systems using the software-supported mapping of processes relying on the warehouse management system. This ranges from planning manual and automated technical infrastructures to designing the logistical process environment, on through to simulating various storage operation strategies and initial target storage assignment.
With goal-oriented consulting services and valantic’s MAGELLAN software suite, we offer customer-specific solutions for location development planning, from planning to tender assistance to the start-up of brown- and greenfield projects.
To increase transparency and speed up decision-making, we use valantic’s MAGELLAN software for planning projects. Thanks to their extensive project experience and using existing storage building blocks, valantic’s consultants can create a map of storage capacities very quickly. A custom infrastructure is also easy to configure. With Magellan, optimization measures can be implemented, tried out, and assessed in a virtual environment. The result secures acceptance across all levels and speeds up decision-making.
In the course of a comprehensive evaluation of processes and IT, the task was to analyze current storage structures and operating strategies to reveal optimization potential. After a detailed “as is” analysis and mapping of the warehouse configuration in MAGELLAN, various optimization scenarios, including warehouse topology and operating strategies could be simulated in SAP EWM. Part of the optimization depicted storage by product line network based on a shopping cart analysis. As a result, inventory density and productivity could be increased.
valantic did greenfield planning for a new warehouse location for a mail-order company in the context of location development planning. First, all necessary operative planning master data was collected, analyzed, and enriched with additional information. Sensible functional areas and layouts could be derived and dimensioned using the master data and the planning premises. Incorporating the building structures and the functional areas designed, planning scenarios for the new location were visualized and simulated as digital twin in 3D. Our agile, flexible, and interactive 3D planning allowed short adjustment times and realistic planning early on. The procurement of logistical infrastructure and equipment for pickers was done early and without changes until the go-live. The optimal, ergonomic initial assignment of the new warehouse location taking into account all operative processes resulted in a significant efficiency increase.
Focus on core business thanks to the selection of a partner
Many companies are outsourcing ever greater parts of their logistics activities to service providers so they can focus on their core business. Through new tenders, companies can ensure that services will be provided in the right quality and at the optimal price; if necessary, they can re-award services. In the process, tenders have to be adapted to current requirements in the internal material flow and transport network so that these keep up with current and future requirements. valantic helps companies plan and provide these quotations, with a structured procedure, appropriate industry expertise, and new analytical methods.
valantic aids both sides – both tendering companies and service providers who want to win people over with their service offerings.
Plausibility check and optimization of internal material flows
Creation of requirements specifications incl. quantity structure, layouts, and specifications
Preparation of a shadow calculation incl. investment and personnel costs as basis for comparison
Organization of the various events (e.g. bidder’s days and awarding rounds)
Analysis and evaluation of the bids including identification of levers
Establishment of a qualitative and quantitative ranking of the bidders
Benchmarking with best practices and experiential values
Accompaniment and support of awarding rounds
Planning of logistics processes
Calculation of required resources (e.g. equipment, personnel, and infrastructure)
Benchmarking with best practices and experiential values
Layout creation of planning scenarios
As part of a warehouse planning and realization project, valantic can help companies find a logistics service provider for the planned supply center. For this, a requirements specification is created, the bidders’ day organized, the bids checked for plausibility and evaluated, and support is provided for the awarding rounds. The goal is to select the best bid with the best quality at a competitive price.
For a logistics service provider, valantic handled the planning of shopping cart zones as part of creating a bid for an automobile manufacturer. The planning included creating a quantity structure based on premises, planning the individual shopping cart zones including layout, and a temporal assessment with the MTM method. In addition, valantic helped its customer on-site with the awarding round.
Digitalization also influences your supply chain
The digital transformation is changing many processes and structures at companies. With regard to increasing globalization and the challenges it brings, digitalization and automation are the building blocks of long-term successful corporate management. This development doesn’t stop for medium-sized companies and affects nearly all industries. Processes and information grow together, even today, data frequently plays a more important role than equipment or available space. That’s why a proactive approach to the use of innovative technologies and automation solutions in interplay with a company’s own processes and structures is a critical factor for future company success.
valantic’s consultants start right where customers are and help them transform logistics. For us, the initial situation is described below:
Excellent logistics processes can only be achieved with a joint examination of processes and IT
Lean principles are not replaced by Logistics 4.0, but rather form the basis for it
Logistics 4.0 does not necessarily mean automation of logistics, but rather transparency and process excellence
Modern logistics processes can be adjusted and scaled flexibly: They are the basis for the digital transformation
Integrated examination of processes and IT
The joint examination of processes and IT is the basis for a future-proof logistics design. Relevant order data about all logistics processes is just as available as the current location and status of materials and equipment. Together with the customer, valantic defines the next steps on the path to excellent and transparent logistics processes and helps select and implement the best-suited IT solutions. In the process, we are not fixated on automation and digitalization; instead, we examine each individual case to consider cost-effective alternatives such as retrofitting.
Digitalization and sustainability
In addition to a practically-oriented automation approach, we also consider the aspect of sustainability when thinking about digitalization. Both of these future topics can work hand-in-hand for the right design. valantic examines both aspects and enables the people in charge to lead their company into a more sustainable future.
valantic helped a customer in the context of location development planning to implement a location-spanning web tool in after-sales. With this tool, the company harmonized its locations despite heterogeneous IT environments and different service agreements with service providers. In the course of the project, routine tasks were automated and a central platform for exchanging expertise and ideas was created. Furthermore, the web tool provided continuous communication for all stakeholders.
Materialfluss – Hand in Hand mit der IT
Due to the volatile market environment and trends such as automation, digitalization, modern analytics, AI, and IoT, the requirements for a modern supply chain have increased dramatically. Today, material and information flows have to be scalable, transparent, and lean, so that they can be adjusted quickly and efficiently to new circumstances.
As part of classic material flow planning, valantic examines the processes from goods receipt to dispatch. In addition to material and information flows within the warehouse, we also record the value stream in order to distinguish value-creating activities from waste. By eliminating waste, we achieve a lean material flow with low throughput times.
For valantic, the focus of material flow development and optimization is on the design of future-oriented processes. Taking the basic conditions into consideration (ERP/WMS, adjacent material flows, production, etc.), we will develop the material flow with the appropriate technologies. Thanks to our extensive expertise, we develop solutions that orient the supply chain strategically and for the long term regardless of the industry or production type. valantic can advise you in the location development planning about technology selection, IT adjustments, the integration of subsystems, and then help you with the implementation.
As part of a warehouse planning project for our customer, which provided future storage for production-relevant materials on factory premises, the supply of the production hall was re-planned. In the course of material flow design, the existing supply concepts were analyzed and adjusted to the new requirements.
The focus here was on changes in the delivery time, the conversion from truck supply to route and trailer train, and the resulting adjustments within transfer areas in the production halls in question. This conversion was done simultaneously for provision, so that selected materials were no longer transported as complete loading units, but rather in small-load carriers. In the process, additional areas within production were cleared for use.
In the course of preparations for a SAP S/4HANA migration, valantic helped with the actual state analysis, initial phase, and exploration phase of a complaint process that was implemented in all international locations. The focus here was on harmonization, standardization, and the closing of existing system gaps in order to ensure transparent, efficient processing. The process was formulated in close cooperation with all the customer’s national and international locations.
Standardization and harmonization of business processes
Today, companies are confronted with the challenge of advancing the digitalization of their processes across the boards. Here, in addition to the digital transformation, the focus is on the standardization and harmonization of processes that have developed historically. The main requirement for today’s processes is that all information and actions within a system environment function, without gaps between systems and manual activities. Users should be able to get an overview of and process all necessary information quickly.
Process design as success factor for the transformation
With our standardized and consistent process design methodology, valantic helps customers redesign their business processes. We work with process experts on-site to analyze the existing processes, reveal potential, and harmonize processes, thus formulating a new process environment. The focus is on goal-oriented, efficient process documentation, the definition of clear responsibilities in order to be able to continue improving processes in the future. For the development of the new process, close cooperation and exchange with the experts in question is required, so that there is great acceptance at the company from the very beginning.
Management of change with planned incorporation of employees
Each project and especially digitalization and automation projects bring changes. These changes make employees feel insecure since they cannot estimate the effects on their positions and security. Frequently, this uncertainty results in resistance to the project; this cannot be ignored. People have to be regarded as the success factor for every project and incorporated accordingly. Change management is an elementary component of organizational development, with the goal of project development and efficient project management.
Change management model borrowing from Bruce Tuckman. In his model, team originally run through four phases, mapped here with the extended fifth phase “adjourning.”
Change management as complementary or stand-alone project component
Change management should be a component of every project. This is our opinion, and that’s why valantic’s employees are sensitized to this and consciously apply change management methodologies that ensure long-term project success. valantic’s consultants are experienced in formulating and implementing communication concepts and project marketing. For organizational development, we will advise you and help you equip your organization so you will be ready to face current and future challenges.
For a tier-1 supplier, valantic defined roles and standard tools for selected escalation cases in procurement management. These escalation cases include handling critical suppliers, making allocations, and monitoring a customer to be escalated. As part of the project, 12 employees of our customer’s company in four global locations were trained in the application of roles and use of the tools.
In the context of location development planning valantic handled change management and quality assurance for restructuring a central warehouse network. Strong sales growth, increased customer expectations, personnel transfers, and product line changes made this restructuring and a multitude of change processes unavoidable. Thanks to conscious project control with active incorporation of employees, it was possible to increase motivation, engagement, and acceptance of the upcoming changes. The long-term success of the restructuring ensured the anchoring of expertise and empowerment of the organization.
New structures require preventative and supporting measures
The implementation of logistical changes in context of location development planning in value and supply chains frequently presents companies with challenges. Should a new building be put into service? Should processes be integrated vertically or outsourced to external partners? A successful start-up requires risk-minimizing planning and an effective roll-out to secure process stability, parts availability, and delivery reliability.
Our expertise in planning and coordinating start-ups
Based on our many years’ experience in planning and coordinating start-ups, valantic can ensure a smooth start-up of a changed organization, process environment, and IT, on through to the transfer to live operation. We help you with sound knowledge and proven approaches in the sub-projects construction, IT infrastructure, organization, and moving. This ranges from developing qualification concepts to the coordination of the installation of logistical equipment and facilities, on through to the design of test scenarios that span sub-projects.
As part of a start-up of 16 regional warehouses around the world, valantic was responsible for securing delivery reliability and process stability for the hypercare starting from the go-live. The focus was on troubleshooting on-site, defining and implementing immediate measures, implementing shopfloor management including KPI reporting, and realizing continuous process optimizations.