When metal fastener supplier, WASI, needed to expand its logistics operations, it asked Knapp to provide an automated handling solution that would ensure delivery of the company's high customer service commitment.
Founded in 1961 by Emil Wagener (providing the 'WA') and Werner Simon (adding the 'SI') and part of the Wrth Group since 1978, WASI supplies a vast range of rust-free fasteners that are used in diverse industrial and consumer applications. A leading global market player for stainless steel fasteners, WASI's range of over 26,000 products includes screws, nuts, rings, washers, pins, rivets, rods and clamps. Based in Wuppertal between the German cities of Dusseldorf and Dortmund the company employs over 250 people to serve some 6,000 customers in 60 countries. After opening a new logistics centre in 2009, double-digit growth in the company's turnover and a steady increase in the number of products supplied forced further expansion and the construction of a second logistics facility in Wuppertal. The highly automated handling solution at this new warehouse was handed over by Knapp in 2011, the year in which WASI celebrated its 50-year anniversary.
Customer service paramount
The combined logistics capacity of the two warehouses provides 18,000m2 of covered storage, comprising 15,000 pallet locations and 150,000 carton locations. WASI holds 15,000 tonnes of stock and achieves 10,000 picks per day in order to ship 200 tonnes of goods daily. In many instances, WASI delivers orders directly to the customers of its clients, allowing the clients to hold less stock and thereby reduce their fixed capital. Through optimising the procurement management of its customers, WASI allows them to concentrate on their core business activities. On the basis of this model of business partnership, it is easy to understand why WASI sets such high standards of customer service, which must be underpinned by efficient logistics operations.
The heart of the new handling system is Knapp's OSR Shuttle, which serves as an automatic small parts storage system, supplying four manual picking stations. The OSR Shuttle solution designed for WASI was the first ever to feature three-deep storage, although Knapp now offers four-deep storage with its latest OSR Shuttle system, which can store containers and cartons of various dimensions without having to use additional trays. The system features a shuttle on every level of the store, all served by ultra high-speed lifts at the front of the system. A conveyor system then transports the containers to the ergonomically designed workstations, which can process 540 containers per hour.
Apart from the OSR Shuttle picking stations, fulfilment elsewhere in the distribution centre is carried out using Knapp's KiSoft Voice picking solution. This simple and flexible system allows pickers to use both hands in order to pick a variety of products, including heavy items. WASI's new handling system also features a stacker crane system for pallet storage and retrieval and a conveyor system with dispatch lanes for sortation of completed orders.
Optimised material flows
The handling solution features Knapp's KiSoft family of software products to allow WASI to integrate the OSR Shuttle technology and conveyor system with the high-bay store plus container and pallet picking areas. The solution allows WASI to meet the diverse needs of its customers, who may require anything from a small package up to a large volume of products on pallets. Knapp's high-performance warehouse management system, KiSoft WMS, combined with its efficient material flow system, KiSoft WCS, ensures an optimal flow of goods and timely fulfilment of the various customer orders. In addition, KiSoft Command provides a unified user interface for all the software modules, enabling warehouse staff to control the entire system from the control station.