05.302017

The future lies in Cologne: Pierau Planung carries out site and distribution analysis for objectflor

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The future lies in Cologne: Pierau Planung carries out site and distribution analysis for objectflor

Successful company growth comes with its own risks.  If the logistics and supply chain are not developed in relation to increasing sales, this can have a negative effect on profitability, service level, speed and flexibility.  The burgeoning Cologne-based supplier of elastic floor covering systems, objectflor, avoids this impact by wise forward planning. The existing situation, including the current site with regard to location and capacity, goods flow and transport connections, is being examined in good time in advance of a further contractual commitment.  objectflor has commissioned the Hamburg-based logistics planning office, Pierau Planung, with the site and distribution analysis, determination of the current situation and evaluation of development options in the existing building.

 objectflor Art and Design Belags GmbH is the central European sales and distribution company of the James Halstead Group and generates an annual turnover of approx. 100 million euros.  Through a comprehensive network of wholesale and retail artners, the supplier of innovative floor coverings ensures maximum customer proximity.

Starting Point

objectflor’s product range consists of about 500 different item positions of design flooring, which must be managed and supplied.  In addition, there are around 1,000 different articles on rolls and in strips.  The inventory scope of the product range is 3 months at any given time.  4,500 customers in 16 countries are supplied from the central warehouse in Cologne, while the French market is supplied via its own warehouse on site.  A maximum of 300 shipments with a total weight of approx. 45 tonnes are made up per day.  The consignment structure varies from 7m² to 20,000m², i.e. from a partly loaded pallet to a truck container.

Task

objectflor’s goal was clearly defined: as a key success factor, customer and market proximity must be secured in the long term and the current high level of service must be guaranteed.  Furthermore, objectflor attaches great importance to sustainability not only in the design of goods, but also along the entire supply chain.  For the further development of the logistics various options were considered: keeping the central structure or using a new decentralised structure, continued use of the existing site or choosing a new location, use of the existing buildings or relocation – and of course a combination of all of these options.  Most companies are aware of all these questions, which were answered by objectflor when they commissioned Pierau Planung in October 2016.

Implementation

The team of engineers from the Hamburg planning office undertook to determine the existing situation including a comprehensive site and distribution analysis.  As a basis for decision-making regarding the existing property in Cologne, its development potentials were determined and optimal storage and picking concepts were examined.  Pierau Planung, together with Professor Dr. Kai Gutenschwager and the SimChain software, analysed transport connections in a simulation for the investigation of location, site alternatives and distribution strategies.  In order to evaluate the results, a model was developed for the site comparison and simulation of the location scenarios.  Processes of individual scenarios, for a period of one to four years, were analysed by using the simulation model.

Result

Stephan Wolff, Managing Director at objectflor, has this to say: “Pierau Planung has ably supported us with professional work and an open cooperation in step with actual practice. Pierau developed bespoke solutions for us based on our requirements with a focus on optimising processes where the acquisition of new technology or systems was secondary.”  Following the analysis, the Hamburg planners decided on keeping the central warehouse in Cologne.  “A decentralised set-up for objectflor and the development of a dedicated truck fleet are not justified at the moment,” says Björn Brunkow, Managing Director at Pierau Planung.

In order to fully optimise both the old and new site, the planners have developed measures to be implemented from June 2017 onwards.  Some examples include optimising storage space utilisation in order to create new storage capacity, improving storage, retrieval and picking, as well as the reorganisation of storage processes in order to reduce human resource requirements. “Implementation of our optimisation recommendations means that storage capacities will be sufficient until 2021,” concluded Brunkow.

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