End-to-end warehouse automation at DAW SE with SAP EWM
Distribution and automation in the warehouse
Publication of LogiPlus in the E-3 magazine | November 2023 | Thilo Matheis and Christian Speck | German article
End-to-End warehouse automation at DAW SE with SAP EWM
Distribution und automation in the warehouse
Deutsche Amphibolin Werke (DAW) built a state-of-the-art logistics centre with a high-bay warehouse and AutoStore and benefits from the holistic and direct integration in SAP EWM. Only through direct EWM integration can automation solutions realise their full potential.
DAW SE has been developing, producing and selling premium products for buildings and building protection for more than 125 years and is the home of numerous strong brands. The headquarters in Ober-Ramstadt is also DAW’s largest location, where the core brands Alpina and Caparol, among others, are produced and where the Research & Development and Innovation departments are based. A new distribution centre with a high degree of automation and digitalisation was opened in September 2022. Among other things, LogiPlus Consulting provided support in converting the existing warehouse management solution SAP Warehouse Management (SAP WM) to SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM) and in integrating the technical systems into the SAP landscape during the entire multi-stage project planning. This resulted in the end-to-end automation of intralogistics at the Ober-Ramstadt site.
Initial situation and goals
DAW faced several complex challenges in 2018. A continuous increase in the variety of articles over the past 15 years and changing market requirements increased the need for storage capacity, which could no longer be covered by the existing structures on the factory premises. Due to space problems, DAW had to store goods in various external warehouses and pick partial product ranges there. This led to an enormous effort in inventory management and requirements planning. Picking required a high level of article expertise of the employees, as mobile dialogues and forklift control in a proprietary, subordinate system were outdated. This was compounded by the discontinuation of SAP WM and the planned parallel introduction of SAP S/4HANA. DAW therefore decided to replace the existing IT infrastructure and put it on a completely new foundation.
Intending to optimise the entire supply chain processes and reduce transport routes, the warehouse locations that were previously spread across the factory premises and external warehouse locations in the region were to be brought together under one roof. To create the necessary storage capacity and simultaneously optimise the processes in the warehouse, the concept included the construction of an automated high-bay warehouse (HBW), an AutoStore system and an automated, dynamic picking buffer, including the conveyor connection of the various storage areas. The automation of processes was to be accompanied by a considerable reduction in the workload for logistics employees, including the integration of manual areas and existing systems such as conveyor technology. Another key objective was to optimise the workplace design for warehouse employees based on ergonomic criteria.
From SAP WM to SAP EWM with integration of automation solutionsThe scope of the project also included the software integration of all systems to efficiently control all logistics processes and ensure ongoing operations. With a view to future-proofing, compatibility and centralised control of the warehouse in a dominant system, DAW decided to migrate the existing SAP WM system to SAP EWM. As SAP S/4HANA had not yet been introduced as an ERP system, a decentralised SAP EWM was implemented.
With the optimisation of the material flow using SAP EWM MFS, automation solutions such as AutoStore and a forklift control system could then be introduced and integrated into the project. SAP S/4HANA was implemented downstream as an ERP system and now complements the automated intralogistics landscape at DAW’s main site.
“The project consisted of medium and long-term goals. In the medium term, the existing SAP WM and the existing systems had to be replaced by SAP EWM and SAP EWM MFS. In the long term, the SAP EWM processes had to grow in line with the construction progress and the associated commissioning,” explains Jörg Martin, Head of Finished Goods Warehouse at DAW.
Thanks to the increased storage capacity, DAW now has all its retail and , finished goods and packaging under one roof. This has improved the availability of items and the stability of processes and DAW can offer its customers a better delivery service.
The material flow was improved by running in one direction from the central goods receiving area on the third floor of the logistics building to loading at the ramp on the ground floor. Overall, output increased by 57 per cent to around three million delivery note items per year.
AutoStore as a prime example of seamless SAP EWM integration
As a result, stocks and storage locations are managed directly in SAP EWM, and SAP EWM becomes the dominant central control system.
Communication between SAP EWM and AutoStore is handled on the basis of TCP/IP in XML format via http. This allows SAP EWM to transmit all storage and retrieval orders directly to the AutoStore controller.
This central control unit of the AutoStore takes over the route control of the robots and decides which robot can access the required container most efficiently. The operator at the port is guided through the process optimally and intuitively via the user interfaces and dialogues individually developed by LogiPlus. This means that even new employees are quickly up and running.
Further details in our article in E-3 magazine