From our point of view, the decisive factor for a successful project is the overall responsibility for design, IT systems, the control/PLC, mechanics, the realization, the ramp-up, and the maintenance of the system. Therefore, WITRON relies on the triad Design, Build, and Operate. Thanks to our experts and solutions, the customer can concentrate on the core business. This saves them time and resources.
More and more customers are entrusting us with their logistics processes, because the processes are becoming more complex and our customers often also lack skilled personnel for the maintenance and service of the technically demanding machines. We deliver a customized end-to-end logistics solution that promises our customer a competitive advantage.
Our customers expect us to provide a total package for their logistics processes. We are to design, implement and, in most cases, even operate a solution for them. The system design is the first step in a customer project. We develop an overall logistics concept with our customers. We jointly clarify questions about warehouse technology, picking technologies, ergonomics, user experience and usability, and take care of energy efficiency. We guarantee our customer continuous functional responsibility and life-time partnership. From the first data analysis of the existing logistics processes to the classification and selection of suitable logistics staff, WITRON stands for knowledge around the processes in logistics design. In addition to design expertise, our colleagues also have the technological knowledge. We have the machine understanding and integrate the solution into the customer’s ecosystem to create ergonomic workstations, and to establish processes that are economical and ecological. In addition to building new logistics centers, we also support our customers in establishing future business models. Libri is a good example. The project is a mixture of retail and production logistics and challenged the WITRON engineers. IT systems have to be adapted to the latest version, and the control technology of all stacker cranes, as well as the entire conveyor system have to be updated. But this modernization project is much more extensive and also includes a new material flow. “We are logistics service providers, not in the classic sense, but we design warehouses and complete value-added supply chains and strive for end-to-end optimization. The logistics center orchestrates the material flow, so with new technology comes new tasks. Many want to keep optimizing the machines, but the much greater efficiency gains are achieved between transportation, the logistics center, and the end customer. We can get goods ready in the warehouse very quickly, but that doesn’t benefit the customer if the trailer is not yet at the loading dock. That makes no sense economically and ecologically. Intelligence in the processes will save money, increase flexibility, and help us drive our processes in a more sustainable way. Our platform concept creates transparency and efficiency in the processes.
New developments from the IT industry are also changing our Warehouse Management System (WMS). In addition to standard functions in warehouse management, such as facility-wide recording and management of all items and inventories under one interface, flexible warehouse configuration, quality controls and inventory, through to extensive statistics, diagnostics, simulation, and visualization functions, WITRON’s warehouse management system offers various performance features. An example: the seamless connection of a wide range of sub-systems. Whether it is hand-held radio terminals or pick-by-voice systems, forklift guiding systems, automated material flow processes, or pick-by-light solutions, WITRON’s warehouse management system combines a wide variety of sub-systems and warehouse types on one platform. And we think one step further: We want to become the logistics platform for our customers, set new trends in user experience (UX), and use data science for machine learning projects. In the past, we were very close to the hardware, developing controls ourselves in the early days. We are slightly drifting away from hardware, but we must not lose our contact and understanding of the matter. IT is not an end-in-itself. We always have to ask ourselves why and for what purpose we develop the applications, and what the interaction with physics looks like. Many IT hypes dominate the public discussions. We say: It takes knowledge of the mechanics, the controls, and the processes. IT development or even machine learning without domain knowledge will not work. We optimize the service time, reduce costs, increase quality, and we want to achieve these three goals sustainably.
Operate for WITRON means: Thanks to our technicians, the customer can focus on the core business. The WITRON success model OnSite team was born at SPAR in Wels in 1998. The highly dynamic processes in an automated logistics center demanded new answers from WITRON at that time. Six technicians took care of the system at that time, today it is more than 70 staff members. WITRON employs 3,700 + people in its over 60 OnSite teams worldwide. We keep the warehouse at maximum availability. The customer buys a service and a logistics performance, and we guarantee it. We still need the screw wrench, but as the level of automation increases, we are looking for even more employees who understand data, can operate IT systems, and can identify errors quickly. Here, we are supported by intelligent, web-based service tools. With innovative remote services such as helpdesk and IT system service, maintenance services, individual training, a global spare parts network, as well as supporting software tools (Witools), the customers receive everything for their daily success. In addition, the WITRON service supports the customer with analyses, audits, and modernization services.
More than 70 women and men ensure a permanently high system availability at the SPAR Central Warehouse in Wels and received a renown award for this service. WITRON’s OnSite colleagues are a well-coordinated team. “Lone wolves” are not welcome. Nenad Todorovic reports from Wels in the podcast. For nine years, Nenad Todorovic, who has a degree in maintenance management, has been working at the SPAR Central Warehouse in Wels as a manager for the WITRON OnSite team. He started out in the automotive industry and is still enthusiastic about the level of automation of WITRON systems. Some 70 WITRON employees take care of operation, service, and proactive maintenance in a three-shift operation.