Procurement process for PPE speeded-up by 75%

The goods issuing system GARANT Tool24 Pick One has revolutionised procurement of personal protective equipment and has increased security of supply.

In order to make procurement of personal protective equipment at their Zurich site more efficient, the company introduced the individual issuing system GARANT Tool24 PickOne. As soon as stocks of a product fall below a set minimum level, the system automatically reorders this product, which will be available on site within 24 hours.

MAN Energy Solutions SE produces alternative, fuel-efficient drive technologies for ships and develops new technologies for power generation and energy storage. The component manufacturer and solution provider is also known by its former name MAN Diesel & Turbo. It currently employs approx. 14,000 people at more than 120 locations. In Zurich, around 800 employees develop, construct, produce and test compressors and vacuum blowers and provide the related services.

Process optimisation required

In order to stay competitive in a high-wage country such as Switzerland you have to operate highly efficiently.

"Over the past few years we have streamlined our processes and have pushed automation in all areas", says Rene Krähenbühl, Logistics Manager at MAN Energy Solutions in Switzerland. With the goods issuing system GARANT Tool24 PickOne the company recently fully automated its purchasing process for personal protective equipment (PPE). The idea arose in a conversation with the Hoffmann Group. Krähenbühl remembers: "Thomas Heini from SFS, partner of the Hoffmann Group in Switzerland, with whom we are in regular contact, introduced the system to us."

The goods issuing system GARANT Tool24 PickOne makes it possible to monitor exact stocks of C-items, as employees have to register before the compartment that issues the product opens. Several small compartments make it possible to allow access to just a single product per issue. "With the GARANT Tool 24 PickOne we have transferred the idea of the tool issuing system to the administration of PPE products", says Thomas Heini of SFS.

"The customer can link the system to his ERP system and configure it in such a way that the system automatically places an order for a product once the stock level falls below a specified minimum quantity. It is also possible to create profiles which allow employees access to only those PPE products that have been approved for their area of work. The integrated reporting provides proof that every employee is able to withdraw the required PPE at any time and records when he does so."

The full range of services was convincing

"We also looked at automatic spiral dispensers and individual issuing systems from other manufacturers", says Krähen­bühl. "But only the full range of services offered by the Hoffmann Group managed to convince us. The rotary drum of the GARANT Tool24 PickOne is superior to the automatic spiral dispensers, the SAP interface is available and we only needed a single supplier connection, as the Hoffmann Group can deliver everything. We were also able to look at a sample device at SFS, and we receive professional advice on our range of PPE which ensures that we can meet new requirements from production and conform to current legislation."

Storage for approximately 100 different PPE items

In July 2018 the PPE range was defined. For this the PPE advisor of the Hoffmann Group worked in close cooperation with MAN‘s foremen, team leaders and contact persons for occupational health and safety. The goal was to purchase all PPE items from the Hoffmann Group in future. This required only a few adjustments. In August the new system was finally installed at MAN; the product data were imported and after commissioning the first group of users received their training. Afterwards only the data transfer for reorders by SIM card had to be set up and the system had to be connected to the company network. After four days the installation had been completed. "The automatic issuing of PPE products was immediately very well received by the enployees and we were able to close the traditional PPE stores after just one week", remembers Krähenbühl.

Currently approx. 100 items are stored in the automatic issuing system. In addition to the main system GARANT Tool24 PickOne, a "ToolPoint" with samples to touch and an auxiliary cabinet with 40 numbered compartments were put up. The latter contains larger packing units such as refill packs for soap dispensers. The employees get the keys for these compartments from the GARANT Tool24 PickOne.

Anonymised registration

Nowadays approx. 150 production staff and ocassionally 50 office staff make regular use of the automatic issuing system. They have to register via scan of their employee card which is done anonymously and was coordinated with the personnel and legal department. The employees can find the required product by clicking through the product groups and article categories on the monitor. Alternatively, they can scan the barcode of the sample at the ToolPoint, for example in order to find a glove in the correct size.

Procurement process shortened to 2 days

With the introduction of the new system MAN has speeded up the procurement process significantly. Upon reaching a minimum stock level GARANT Tool24 PickOne will automatically send an order to SFS or the Hoffmann Group. There is no longer a need for requisitions or individual orders; instead a blanket order is issued for a certain amount, from which the automatically generated orders are deducted. Once this amount has been depleted a new blanket order will be issued and will be used for the associated goods receipt postings. Potential differences between target and actual quantity will be detected when filling the automatic issuing system.

"Our PPE products are taken from goods receiving directly to the automatic issuing system", explains Krähenbühl. "We thus avoid the need for an intermediate storage location and posting / transfer posting of individual orders." The company managed to reduce its procurement process from 5 - 8 days down to 2 days: the Hoffmann Group delivers the goods within 24 hours after receipt of order. After the goods have been delivered, the MAN employees will use them to fill up the GARANT Tool24 PickOne.

"We are very happy with the system and would introduce it again at any time", summarises Krähenbühl. "Our procurement process is much more efficient, the employees receive their PPE items more quickly and we can ensure minimum stock levels."

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