Secure trailer unloading at receiving docks

30 04 2011

The trailer unloading at a receiving dock is the first step in a warehouse in view of the receiving side.  There are some hazards by operating the unloading of the trailers, because there is a lot of heavy equipment in motion. For example undesired movements of the truck or emissions of the vehicles are some potential hazards.

To get an idea of potential hazards regarding unintended movements of trucks for instance have a look at the following video:

The following video points out how loading docks are dealed in a safe way and how accidents like seen in the video above are avoided:

As you see there is equipment available which secures a safe, reliable and high efficient truck loading and unloading process in order to avoid accidents:

  • Safety barrier for forklifts
  • Light standards
  • Vehicle stabilizing systems: Dock lock system, trailer stands, Hook
  • Truck shelter
  • Hydraulic dock locker

Furthermore a clean and organized warehouse is required in order to avoid slipping and secure a proper movement of forklifts. Moreover there are carbon oxide detectors available to detect unintended running engines.

If the mentioned hazards are taken into account and considered a warehouse and it’s loading docks will be dealed in a secure way.


Internal logistics of Bayer Bitterfeld GmbH

19 04 2011

The Bayer AG is a chemical and pharmaceutical company which was founded in Barmen, Germany in 1863. It is well-known for its original brand of aspirin. Aspirin is produced in Bitterfeld. The production plant was opened in 1995. To keep the competitive advantage Bayer was looking for an integrated, linked and automated control program for the plant. That means Bayer would integrate an automated production control, automated internal logistics from goods receipt to outgoing goods and a paperless plant. Since the plant was founded Bayer was always looking to improve the performance and looking for modern technologies.

Bayer calculated that they have to handle 15,000 transports per month, which means 60 transports per hour inside the company. To secure a stable production process, there have been to options for the logistics concept:

Option 1:

Application of forklifts, hand lifts and an automated high bay rack. The manpower requirements would be 30.

Option 2:

Whole internal logistics automated. Manpower requirements would be 5.

After analyzing Bayer decided for the second option. The reasons, especially the financial ones, are shown in the figures below. The first figure illustrates the annual cost of operations. The red line represents option 1, the blue line option 2.

The second figure represents the cumulated costs of operation.

If we have a look on the figure above, its eye catching, that the cumulated operation costs are nearly the same until the fourth year. After that the option 1, which means the manual logistics concept will be much more expensive. Obvious is, that after an operating time of 20 years, there will be savings of about 11,5 million DM. The calculations have been done before the euro, therefore the unit is DM, but nevertheless it’s a representing result, which shows the advantage of a high developed internal logistics concept.

Especially the driverless logistics vehicles are an important component of the logistics concept. The following pictures gives you an idea about this vehicles:

There are ways for these driverless logistic vehicles with a distance of 2,460 m installed. Furthermore there are 5 automated rack feeders, as you see in the following picture:

As you see, a high developed logistics concept within the company can give a big competitive advantage.


Flow Rack Warehouse systems

19 04 2011

Flow racks are shelves that can be loaded from one side of the shelf with goods in containers, pallets or in small load carriers, while from the other side the previously stored goods can be extracted again. The operation principle of a flow rack is shown in the picture below:

Firstly the goods are taken from machines or employees to the storage space. After that the goods are moving to the take off point by using drive components or by the force of gravity on runways independently within the shelf.

The following picture illustrates the principle of a flow rack which is offered by the company Jungheinrich and used for pallets:

This flow rack is equipped with runways in order to use gravity as moving force. To control the movement speed there are breaking rolls installed. A separator secures that there is no back pressure the first pallet from the following.

The video you see below points out in which way flow racks are integrated in a warehouse for example and what the advantages of such shelves are:

As you saw this dynamic bearing system operates on the FIFO principle, which means first in, first out. This allows a high space use, an optimum filling degree and an independent storage and removal.


Fleet Management

18 04 2011

Fleet management is the management of a company’s vehicle fleet and includes the management of vehicles such as cars, vans and trucks. Fleet management can include a lot of functions, like for example vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics, which means tracking and diagnostics, driver management, speed management and also health and safety management. Fleet management is getting more and more important for logistics companies in order to reduce risks associated with vehicles investments. Moreover fleet management improves the efficiency and productivity of transportation by reducing the overall transportation and staff costs.

The most basic function a fleet management system provides nowadays is the tracking function. Today is often spoken of digital fleet management. The basic therefore is a GPS tracking system as you see in the picture below:

This tracking function is usually GPS-based. Once a vehicle’s location or parameters like velocity are determined from the GPS components, this information are transmitted to a fleet management software application. The benefits of such a system you see in the following video:

As you see, load removal, optimized path planning dependent on lots of parameters and associated cost reductions are the main objectives of fleet management.

Fleet management can be dealt by either an in house fleet management department or an outsourced fleet management provider.

Europe’s biggest high bay warehouse

18 04 2011

A high bay warehouse is a warehouse with shelves from a minimum height of 12 meters and a capacity ranging from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of pallets. A high bay warehouse is a storage system, which has on the one hand high space utilization but on the other hand large investments for the building of such storage are necessary. Usually these systems are managed fully electronically with a warehouse management system, which was described in the last blog.

Europe’s biggest high bay warehouse is located in Bremen, Germany. These modern logistic facilities, which you see below, are exclusively operated for Tchibo by BLG LOGISTICS.

The following figures points out the dimensions of these high bay warehouse:

Storage capacities:

  • 200,000 storing positions for pallets
  • 30,000 m² in multifunction halls
  • 60,000 m² in flat storage halls


  • High bay warehouse: 42m high, 146m long, 70m broad
  • Multifunction hall: 11m high, 146m long, 70m broad
  • Flat storage halls: 11m high, 100m long, 100m broad

Capacities high bay warehouse:

  • 84 doors for goods receipt and outgoing goods, parking space for 178 trucks
  • About 8,000 pallets stock turnover per day
  • About 60 containers receipt per day
  • About 150 trucks of outgoing goods per day

Furthermore there are lots of arrangements for security reasons, especially against fire. These arrangements include 161,000m of water pipes, 105,000sprinkler heads and a water reservoir of 2,700,000 liters.

The location Bremen was chosen, because of its excellent infrastructure. There is a direct access to inland water transportation at the port of Neustadt. Moreover the access to the railway network was a supporting point for the choice.

Therefore the goods receipt by containers. In most cases they arrive at the harbors at Bremerhaven or Hamburg and are transported by inland water transportation or train to the high bay warehouse. The outgoing goods uses combined means of transport like train or trucks.

A modern warehouse management system informs Tchibo about all goods movements.  The processes within the warehouse are automatically. The automated goods receipt handles 50,000 cartons per day. They are automatically identified and conveyed to four automatic palletizes. After palletisation the pallets are secured with foil by a stretch automat and automatically labeled. With electric suspension tracks and rack feeders the pallets are then conveyed into the high bay rack.


Warehouse management system – WMS

17 04 2011

Warehousing in general means the storage of goods. The physical location therefore, the warehouse, is a storage facility, that receives and distributes goods to clients or other production steps. In today’s businesses warehouses are getting more and more complex. Free space is a scarce good and companies try to have as less fixed capital as possible.

Therefore an excellent warehouse management with a warehouse management system, shortly WMS, is necessary. A warehouse management system is a software-based system for the corporate management of warehouses and distribution centers and could be described as the operating processes that optimize all warehousing functions. These functions typically include not only the storage position of articles in high-bay warehouses, small container camps or manual storage, but also the goods receipt and delivery.

In addition to pure storage and shipping information a warehouse management system implements also the picking of goods ready for dispatch positions. To ensure the movement of goods within a warehouse, a Warehouse Control System, shortly WCS, is used and part of a WMS. A WCS ensures that the desired product moves to the position, which the WMS has determined for the product by using an internal conveying system.  With warehouse management systems, the complete in-house material flow could be shown. The in-house material flow includes processes of goods receipt, warehousing, stock transfers, removals and shipping. A distinction has to be made between the material flow and the flow of information.

Nowadays warehouse management systems often utilize Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs and potentially Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to efficiently monitor the flow of products.

The following video points out the advantages of the introduction of an warehouse management system in a warehouse:

As you have seen the implementation of a WMS allows a company to increase its competitive advantage by reducing labor costs, improving customer service, increasing inventory accuracy, and improving flexibility and responsiveness. Furthermore the available warehouse space is used more efficient, the inventory paperwork is reduced and the labor productivity is improved.  A WMS enables a company to manage inventory in real time, with information as current as the most recent order, shipment, or receipt and any movement in between.

There are many companies offering warehouse management soft-ware, the most common in Germany is seriously SAP.

Top ten container habors

17 04 2011

A standard container, which is used for sea transportation, is 6,10 m long, 2,40 m broad and 2,60 m high. Such a standard container you see in the picture below:

Standard container

In 2009 the ten biggest container habors in the world operated 163,4 million of these standard containers. Below you see the ten biggest container habors in 2009:

  • Place 10: Quingdao: 9,46 million containers
  • Place 9: Hamburg: 9,914 million containers
  • Place 8: Koahsiung: 10,257 million containers
  • Place 7: Dubai: 10,653  million TEU
  • Place 6: Rotterdam: 10,97 million containers
  • Place 5: Pusan: 13,27 million containers
  • Place 4: Schenzhen: 21,099 million containers

Place 3: Hongkong: 23,881 million containers

Place 2: Shanghai: 26,150 million containers

Place 1: Singapur: 27,932 million TEU

As you see especially the chinese harbors are very upcoming. Due to the rising economy, also the demand for distribution and logistics is very ambitious.