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Doka is modernizing its warehouse management in the Distribution Center Apolda with PROLAG®World

Doka is modernizing its warehouse management in the Distribution Center Apolda with PROLAG®World
With the 2021 expansion of its distribution centre near the German town of Apolda (Thuringia), the Doka Group has taken a further step in professionalising its on-site logistics. With the implementation of warehouse management system PROLAG®World by renowned WMS manufacturers CIM, the formwork experts are counting on improving the efficiency and transparency of their processes as well as increasing productivity. Reconditioning of used formwork is a main focus of the new developments, which is why the company also opted to install PROLAG®World's Production module.

Particularly over the last few years, increased global investment in the construction industry has led to significantly higher capacity requirements. This was one of the factors that led the Doka Group to embark on an expansion of its European Distribution Centre in Apolda in 2021. To operate the logistics centre, the company opted for professional warehouse management software that would be certain to meet all requirements: PROLAG®World by CIM.

“With its 110,000 square metres, the Apolda site is Doka’s largest distribution centre,” says site manager Michael Troll. The decision to choose CIM was made on the basis of successful partnerships at other Doka locations, such as the headquarters in Amstetten. With their wide range of services for building construction and civil engineering, it is hardly surprising that Doka has very specific needs in terms of warehouse logistics solutions. “Large sections of the warehouse in Apolda are located outdoors,” explains CIM project manager Thomas Rolli. A glance at the open-air storage area shows formwork segments of all different shapes and sizes, some of which can only be lifted with heavy-duty cranes. To improve workplace safety and ergonomics, roofed picking stations were installed in one of the halls. The software organises the picking stations according to the weight of the parts being picked.

Particularly heavy items are picked at two special stations equipped with heavy-duty cranes. PROLAG®World supplies the putaway and retrieval process using a picking with restorage system, just with a slight difference. “Picking with restorage is normally used for production”, explains Thomas Rolli. “But no production as such goes on at the Apolda site.” One of the areas at the new distribution centre is for the reconditioning of used parts. “This isn’t really a production process,” says Thomas, “it’s more like a complaint.” Instead of installing the complaints module, however, the reconditioning process is now mapped in the production module. “PROLAG®World Production handles the reconditioned parts like raw materials that have been transformed into finished goods,” explains the CIM project manager. “The difference is that the raw material – the piece being reconditioned – becomes the new finished part.” The employee decides at a designated reconditioning area which additional parts are needed to carry out the repair.

The missing raw materials can then be delivered based on a bill of materials (BOM). What’s good about this solution is that the cleaned and reconditioned parts can be made directly available to other construction sites thanks to the integrated WMS. “The system still differentiates between reconditioned goods and new goods, of course”, adds Thomas.

Setting up the new distribution centre has turned into a real success story, for Doka as well as for CIM. The new warehouse management software was installed and put into operation in record time. “It really was an enormous challenge – but also an enormous achievement,” says project manager Thomas Rolli. Doka site manager Michael Troll can only agree, and is extremely happy with the efficiency of the new system. “For us as a company, it was important to bring more transparency to our processes. Mapping the actual performance of the site in Apolda is something we weren’t able to do before”, he says. "The way the system is currently operating, there’s definitely going to be a noticeable increase in effectiveness and productivity over the coming year.” The fast and smooth implementation of PROLAG®World was also a huge success for the CIM team, and due not least to the excellent cooperation with the customer. “It takes both sides,” says project manager Thomas Rolli, full of praise for how quickly Doka’s staff adapted to the new processes.

The collaborative spirit behind the Doka Apolda project was also evident in the smooth and successful go-live. So it’s safe to say that the project concluded on an all-round positive note for CIM’s project team, especially after seeing how PROLAG®World’s strengths were exploited to the full. The unconventional architecture of the warehouse called for unusual strategies and pragmatic solutions – covered 100% by our standard.

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