All deliveries and removals are automatically recorded by “WIstockIT®” using RFID technology, registered and forwarded to WIKUS.

Procuring band saw blades digitally

Rigid systems and inefficient processes reduce business performance. Digital tools can automate processes and thus increase the company’s success. WIKUS-Sägenfabrik offers such solutions, which optimize purchasing processes, warehousing and intralogistics.

Spangenberg, 26th of October 2021:Each company can achieve a limited maximum performance with the resources available to it, its “Execution Capacity”. Many fall far short of their potential because of various barriers – such as procurement. A recent survey of 2,000 executives from manufacturing companies, including those in purchasing and order management, conducted by software provider Celonis (study “State of Business Execution Benchmarks Report 2021”), shows that the greatest obstacles to this are a lack of process transparency (42 percent), a fragmented system landscape (41 percent), and faulty or inefficient processes (39 percent). While in average-sized companies barely more than half (56 percent) of orders are already processed fully automatically, this is the case in eight out of ten of the top companies.

The automation of processes therefore offers enormous potential, especially for medium-sized suppliers, because here production increasingly has to be on schedule. In the production process of many companies of this type, processing plays a role for which the precise availability of tools and materials is particularly relevant in order to be able to work in a time- and cost-optimized manner.

The more efficiently purchasing functions and ensures the availability of the sawing tool, the greater the savings potential in relation to the overall performance of the company. The ultimate goal in purchasing, to ensure procurement at an optimal price-performance ratio, is approached with digital tools. Today’s formula for success includes integrating digital tools in a supportive manner and as a central building block in the purchasing and procurement strategy.

Digital tools for the next performance level in purchasing

But what tools are already available? Especially for processing companies, Europe’s largest saw blade manufacturer WIKUS has developed a total of three digital tools to optimize important phases of tool management. The newest is WIstockIT®. Its goals include: To improve ordering processes and inventory management through automation, thus reducing time and costs in processing at the same time (Fig. 1). The service solution automates reordering as well as warehousing and offers, among other things, options for collecting and analyzing relevant key figures for process optimization, such as the current inventory of band saw blades in the warehouse or consumption statistics.

Before automated reordering, the band saw blade must be selected for the first time. WIKUS also offers a digital tool for this application: the blade selector, which queries the customer’s individual requirements in six steps, gives concrete recommendations with suitable dimensions and with which quotations can be requested directly. Above all, this saves time and thus costs in the purchasing process. The advantages of the blade selector are easy to understand. But how does WIstockIT®, the solution for digitizing procurement processes, work in practice?

Modern RFID technology automates processes

WIstockIT® is based on RFID technology: Each package with which WIKUS delivers the ordered band saw blades to the customer is RFID tagged, just like the band saw blade itself. This contains information such as item number, number of belts ordered and other relevant data. When the delivery reaches the customer's warehouse or production hall, this information is automatically read during package/saw blade removal using an RFID reader installed in the hall. The reader – a computer with an integrated display – is connected to an antenna. This, in turn, is installed in a trafficable IP68-certified indoor and outdoor rubber mat that is laid out in the hall’s entrance gate (Fig. 2). As soon as the delivery passes this, the newly added inventory of band saw blades is automatically registered and this information is transferred to WIKUS.

If a saw blade with RFID tag is now removed from the ordered package, this is recorded in WIstockIT® and the inventory in the system is reduced. If the inventory level of an item falls below a predefined threshold, WIstockIT® automatically triggers a priority-statused reorder at WIKUS. Via a portal, customers can view inventory levels online on a daily basis, track reorders and withdrawals as well as consumption in the desired time period, and analyze all relevant inventory management data. This means that buyers and logisticians can keep an eye on important key figures at all times in order to identify any challenges at an early stage or to further optimize processes – and they do not need any additional software for monitoring and evaluating inventories (Fig. 3).

Mix of digital tools and service

In order to secure and sustainably increase productivity, the embedding of integrated digital solutions in holistic concepts is also required. In times of digital transformation in industrial purchasing, digital tools such as WIstockIT® create automated procurement processes on the one hand and reduce resource expenditure on the other. Thus, WIKUS product and service solutions can successfully meet challenges such as operating under high cost pressure in purchasing, logistics and production. On the other hand, in addition to the use of the solutions themselves, both a well thought-out procurement strategy and customer-centric support are essential to fully exploit all potential.

At WIKUS, too, solution-oriented service and support as well as transparent, ongoing customer contact are therefore top priorities, according to the company. This is because current requirements in the field of sawing technology, for example, in terms of process optimization, are increasingly directing attention to manufacturers’ comprehensive product and service concepts that support customers at all levels. This creates more resources for core processes at the customer’s site and sustainably increases the company's performance on site.

 

Sources: 1 Celonis: Study State of Business Execution Benchmarks Report 2021, 2021.

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