HBW-Gubesch GmbH: warehouse management and order picking at its best
Case study

HBW-Gubesch GmbH: warehouse management and order picking at its best

5 min read Feb 20, 2018

Customers like the Volkswagen Group impose strict requirements on suppliers like HBW-Gubesch as a condition of collaboration. The automotive industry solution helps fulfil these. It also helps to cut down on time drastically. Thanks to the expert consultancy of BE-terna Industry Solutions GmbH (formerly COMPUTENZ), the plastics processor bolstered its competitive position in a streamlined project with a future-proof solution.

The starting point

The HBW-Gubesch warehouse has roughly 6,700 pallet spaces. Previously, stocktaking of empties took place at two-hourly intervals by means of a visual “inventory”. The warehouse manager informed the warehouse staff via picking instruction of where the required palettes could be found. The sheer quantity of spaces and the manufacturer requirements alone prompted the parts supplier to launch a logistics system. But this has to meet the requirements of its customers. For instance, the VW Group stipulated that the ERP system use a first-in-first-out FIFO basis for goods issue. In regular audits carried out by Volkswagen, HBW-Gubesch has to demonstrate consistent FIFO management in its logistics division. The automotive solution met one crucial requirement which guaranteed that: the movement of parts in load carriers. The investment security offered by a Microsoft solution and BE-terna’s industry expertise added to the draw of the solution.

Automotive industry solution with powerful logistics module

The VW Group is one of HBW-Gubesch’s biggest customers. The company supplies the Group with surface-decorated plastic parts for several vehicle models and versions. The emphasis here is placed not only on product quality but on process quality. VW applies strict inspection criteria to warehouse logistics in particular. It is essential that its specification to issue goods solely on a FIFO basis is adhered to. As such, the fact that stock inventory is mapped in load carriers was a key reason for opting for the ERP system with a powerful integrated logistics module. That was the reason the company reviewed the system solutions of the Sindelfingen-based software company BE-terna Industry Solutions, among others, back in 2012.

The result: The Microsoft Dynamics NAV-based industry solution for automotive suppliers met every single one of its requirements

After the decision had been made, the implementation followed soon after. Veit Stößel, responsible for supply chain management at the plastics processor: “We were the first to start and discovered what the system could do in daily use.” Thanks to central internal change management, the system was quickly adapted to the requirements of the supplier. Veit Stößel:

It speaks measures for BE-terna that its consultants didn’t always implement every change request immediately. They kept our objective in mind at all time: a future-proof all-in-one system!

At first the switch of inventory taking for stock to load carriers required a change in thinking on the part of the entire team. Labels have to be printed, changes to inventory data must be transferred to the ERP system in real-time using a mobile scanner. The warehouse staff had to familiarise themselves with all of this and required training. Management had to analyse processes and handle these restrictively.

Not all users understood the decision initially, but they got used to the system and now they see the advantages more clearly.

Thomas Ellebracht, ERP Project Manager at HBW-Gubesch

Veit Stößel: “We made training our staff properly a priority. We explained the new logistics processes in detail and got the staff on board in the process.”

Now the system guides the warehouse staff in material transportation orders via the scanner display. Employees access up-to-date inventory information in the ERP system.

A huge timesaver in the warehouse

On the whole, HBW-Gubesch was able to boost the efficiency of its logistics processes considerably. The time required for picking orders with scanners is now two hours compared with the old system which took a whole day. The system solution gives you the stock value at the touch of a button. Before, this would have required an inventory. The inventory of the approx. 68,000 load carriers itself takes up considerably less resources now. What used to require three days-worth of work, can now be done in half the time – and with the same amount of staff. While the load carriers are being scanned and the result of the manual count entered, the system checks if this tallies up with inventory. If everything adds up, the warehouse employee closes the process by confirming the result. Head of IT Alexander Härter recommended selecting a scanner suitable for the area of application. Robust devices work well in production company warehouses with a lot of movement where they will be in constant use. In his view, it would be well worth paying a little more for a sustainable investment. Saving money in the wrong places could end up leading to paying twice as much in the long run, said the Head of IT. Veit Stößel:

We expect comprehensive support and are happy to follow the recommendations of experienced experts. The consultants from BE-terna took very good care of us.

Project results

  • Optimised logistics processes
  • Huge time savings in the warehouse
  • Business transparency
  • Greater planning reliability

About HBW-Gubesch

HBW-Gubesch is a medium-sized, family-run company which currently employs around 500 members of staff. HBW-Gubesch is one of the largest regional employers and is involved in the local community in a variety of different ways. The company name is the result of a merger of two companies that had worked closely with one another for a number of years prior to that. It was this that created the solid and economically sound basis for the absorption of the Jacob group in 2012, a thermoforming and composite specialist. This rounded out the company’s range of plastics processing services and has given the company a solid foundation for supplying customers with all services and manufacturing stages, from the initial product idea right through to series production. HBW-Gubesch is now active in three locations within close proximity of Nuremberg.

Industry: Plastic processing
Headquarters: Wilhelmsdorf (DE)
Employees: 500

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