In 2008, the Head Office of Power Equipment, (the Yanmar Regional Engine Distributor for Oceania) was relocated into brand new purpose premises in Lynbrook. At the time, the company invested in 2 “Lean Lifts” manufactured by German company Hanel, for its Yanmar parts storage and handling. Such has been the growth of the Yanmar brand, that during 2011 another 2 Lean Lifts were installed bringing the quantity to 4. In June 2014, Power Equipment has commissioned 2 more Lean Lifts bringing the total number of machines now to 6. Add in additional infrastructure, equipment and software modifications employed by the Parts Department and this latest $500,000 investment has been described by Hanel Regional Sales Director Markus Jung, as up there with the best installation and execution of anywhere he has seen in the World.
Benefits that this latest investment provides Power Equipment’s Yanmar customers.
The new and improved system and processes are now highly automated when a parts order is received and processed. The system significantly reduces the chance of human, keying and picking errors. Power Equipment uses state of the art systems to support our Dealer network and customers to deliver an efficient, quick and accurate process for the supply of parts.
The latest investment of a further 2 x Hanel “Lean Lifts” brings the total to 6 machines which store the majority of Yanmar parts inventory. Each Lean Lift rises 9m to just under the warehouse roof – floor space is minimised and wasted space utilised. At the parts pick faces, the machines and the operators operate in a near clinically clean environment with fully tiled floors and air-conditioned environment. Operators simply oscillate between one of six pick faces and the parts are brought to them. Gone are the days of wandering up and down rows of long span shelving searching for the right part; add in Wireless Barcode Scanners with new Interface Software, and the benefits of the lean lifts have been maximised.
National Parts Manager Ross Harman says that “orders received via our active E-Commerce site ‘Dealer Connect’ arrive pre-entered into Power Equipment’s order system. This is the most efficient and quickest process, plus it allows any dealer throughout Oceania (Australia, PNG, NZ and the South Pacific) to input orders in their own convenient time frame. As orders arrive they are assessed by our parts interpreters and stock is allocated to the order. A picking slip is generated which contains a unique bar code for that specific order. The picking slip is then sent electronically to the parts warehouse area where it is printed out ready for picking. Concurrently the information is broadcast to computer monitors for the parts interpreters and displayed on TV screens in the parts warehouse announcing a new order for picking. In this way the warehouse staff become aware of the order to be picked, and the TV screens display in real time all active jobs listed and their current status in the order picking process which is continually updated.”
When it is time for picking the order, staff collect the picking slip and using a wireless scanner, the unique barcode is scanned into the system and a picking sequence is generated and automatically sent to the Lean Lifts. It is worth noting that there is no keying of codes or individual part numbers, the picking sequence for all parts on that order is all activated by scanning the one bar code on the picking slip.
The Lean Lift onboard computers then interface with primary software to identify where and in which machine the specific part is located and the shelf with the required part is brought to the operator pick face. Once the specific shelf arrives, a grid lighting system indicates to the operator which location on the shelf holds the part to be picked. The part is then scanned, however should, it not be the correct part, or the quantity picked is incorrect, then warning alarms alert the operator to the error. This process acts as another check and balance to ensure that the correct part and correct quantity have been selected.
When picking of the order is completed, a barcoded connote is system generated. This has its barcode scanned and the connote details are automatically embedded onto the order’s electronic invoice. A final key stroke on the wireless scanner to complete the process, and the system automatically emails the completed Invoice with Connote details to the dealer. The picking slip is sent with the parcel and if requested a hard copy of the invoice can also be printed and included with the consignment. All outgoing parcels are routinely collected by the freight company at day’s end, with every package scanned by them which then provides ongoing traceability until delivery is affected.
In this way, once the dealer receives the emailed order invoice, they are able to track the parcel’s delivery at any time from departure at Power Equipment until arrival at their premises.
In addition to using barcode and scanning technology for processing outgoing parts orders, the same applies for all parts received from Power Equipment’s suppliers. The same process see’s all parts scanned into the Lean Lifts which minimises operator error and speeds up the process.
- By scanning parts in and out of the Lean Lifts, accuracy of having the right part, in the right location and the correct quantity is assured.
- Only trained Lean Lift operators can move parts in and out of the Lean Lifts, which requires barcoded picking slips to initiate the process. This ensures nobody can access or remove inventory without it being accounted for.
- Shutdowns to facilitate major stocktakes have become a distant memory. Rolling stocktakes are undertaken to spot check and correlate the system integrity.
- Machines are shut down and locked at day’s end, which again serves to maintain system security and integrity.
- With all parts stored within an air-conditioned and enclosed environment, parts remain perfectly clean.
- Operators work in ideal conditions all year round and spend their time efficiently picking parts, not aimlessly wandering up and down isles.
- Technology is being used to eliminate errors, and make the whole process seamless from start to finish.
- Despite significant year on year parts growth, the evolution and application of smart technology has meant no additional parts pickers have been required.
Due to the new process of actioning orders and new software, we are able to monitor our performance of the supply of parts. Power Equipment is proud to report that its Yanmar 1st pick rate supply percentage is running in the high 90% region.
The investment in Lean Lift technology has delivered better inventory management, accuracy and cleanliness. The speed at which parts orders are processed and the number of mistakes related to human error has been reduced significantly, and this all adds up to better service to Customers.
For more information on Power Equipment, visit their website here.