cim logistics logo

Deep-frozen in Switzerland: PROLAG®World optimises intralogistics at Kühlhaus Neuhof AG

Deep-frozen in Switzerland: PROLAG®World optimises intralogistics at Kühlhaus Neuhof AG
Fürstenfeldbruck, 23/09/2021 – Kühlhaus Neuhof AG in the Swiss town of Gossau makes its intralogistics fit for the future with CIM’s warehouse management system, PROLAG®World. Just a short time after going into operation, the WMS had already managed to increase efficiency, create end-to-end transparency, and optimise storage of the frozen foods. Thanks to its sophisticated functions for handling automated storage systems, the PROLAG®World standard can generate time savings of up to 75 percent.

Kühlhaus Neuhof AG specialises in the storage of frozen meat, potato and vegetable products, as well as a wide range of other foodstuffs. The expansion and renovation of their facility in Gossau was officially started at the end of February 2019. This expansion of the fully automated deep-freeze warehouse, realised at a cost of 17 million Swiss francs, was carried out by the Swiss intralogistics specialist Gilgen Logistics AG. As well as creating considerably more space, it allows Kühlhaus Neuhof AG to offer a wider range of value-added services. CIM has a longstanding and trusted partnership with Gilgen, and the two companies have implemented a number of successful logistics projects together with their customers.

Kühlhaus Neuhof AG have around 1,200 articles in their deep-freeze warehouse, belonging to 30 different owners and stored in over 13,700 pallet slots. Each owner has their own access to CIM’s warehouse management system PROLAG®World, allowing them to view their data any time and from anywhere in the world. The owners are invoiced using the warehouse billing module, which is an integral part of the PROLAG®World standard.

PROLAG®World can essentially be used with any hardware, operating system, third-party software or database. The host system at Kühlhaus Neuhof is SAP® and the WMS is connected to a SQL server database and a Windows 10 operating system. “The flexibility of the system, its modular structure and the broad standard offered by PROLAG®World were crucial factors for us right from the tendering stage”, says Pius Rechsteiner, operations manager at Kühlhaus Neuhof. The modularity and scalability of the system create a great deal of future security for CIM customers, especially with regard to new customers, articles or services.

Material flow controller for optimised automation

Since the goods stored in the warehouse are frozen products, the cold chain must be maintained at all times. At the goods receiving area, processing of the delivery trucks is therefore optimally planned using PROLAG®World’s dock & yard functionality, so that the delivered goods can be put away without delay.
Single-scan goods posting ensures quick and easy putaway: Goods are posted in the system automatically with a single scan, placed on the conveyor and transported to the block and picking storage areas. “We’ve reduced manual processes to a minimum and optimised stock movements to save time and costs in the warehouse”, explains Alexander Huber, project manager at CIM GmbH.

Gilgen's programmable logic controller (PLC) manages the pallet conveyor system and the four storage and retrieval machines. The material flow of the two systems is controlled by PROLAG®World and ensures optimal compression. Overall, 90 percent of all processes in the warehouse are run automatically. “Thanks to PROLAG®World, we can manage over 13,700 pallet slots with just four users”, says Pius Rechsteiner. Employees are also supported by PROLAG®World’s warehouse control centre dashboard. Here, the most important key indicators can be viewed live and the material flow can be continuously monitored and optimised.

75 percent time savings through intelligent order staging and warehouse reorganisation
Another functionality which provides Kühlhaus Neuhof with a sustainable competitive advantage is order staging: Multiple orders are merged in order to distribute the pallet movements as evenly as possible across the four storage and retrieval machines or four aisles. Instead of one SRM, all four machines work simultaneously in the optimal scenario. This reduces the time required for order processing by 75 percent. A further benefit of even distribution is increased delivery reliability. If one SRM fails, the other three continue working and Kühlhaus Neuhof can achieve a delivery rate of at least 75 percent. “Another positive spin-off from the optimal utilisation of our automated system is the reduction in CO2 emissions thanks to shorter order picking routes," says Pius Rechsteiner.

PROLAG®World's warehouse reorganisation function offers further savings potential. CIM’s WMS distinguishes between two cases: Reorganisation within a single aisle and reorganisation across all aisles. “The first case is comparable to a hard disk defragmentation,” says Alexander Huber from CIM. Pallets holding identical articles are placed together, ideally in the same aisle. This process of ‘tidying up’ creates free storage space and maximises warehouse space utilisation.

“The second case could also be referred to as an equal distribution of articles.” Huber goes on to explain that all non-reserved pallets are distributed in such a way that each article is available in all four aisles, if possible. This way, each aisle holds a quarter of the total existing quantity of each article. In combination with order staging, this functionality prevents all pallets required for an order being removed from the same aisle. This equal distribution of articles results in significant time savings in terms of stock retrieval and more security in the event of a failure.

“With our warehouse processes optimised and a reliable and scalable warehouse management system in place, we feel we’re ready for the future,” concludes Pius Rechsteiner. The team at CIM are also delighted that PROLAG®World has so quickly managed to simplify the day-to-day processes at Kühlhaus Neuhof, and are already looking forward to the next challenge.