22. February 2022

Schloss Wachenheim optimizes warehouse processes with Picavi

In a newly built warehouse in Trier, Germany, Schloss Wachenheim AG centralizes logistics for its subsidiaries Vino Weinhandel GmbH and Rindchen’s Weinkontor GmbH & Co. KG. A demanding promotional business and seasonal fluctuations define the daily business of these two wine retailers. Schloss Wachenheim masters these challenges with Pick-by-Vision from Picavi. The company both reduces the error rate in order picking and optimizes productivity and workplace safety.

The “Champagne Castle” relies on Pick-by-Vision

Red wine in winter, white wine in summer and a fruity rosé in spring – at Vino’s and Rindchen’s stores, anyone looking for a fine wine with the best price – enjoyment ratio will find what they are looking for. Rindchen’s Weinkontor and Vino are subsidiaries of Schloss Wachenheim AG, one of the world’s largest suppliers of sparkling wines. In addition to its headquarters in Trier, the company is represented by other subsidiaries in France and Eastern Europe. Schloss Wachenheim sells its products in more than 80 countries around the world.

Logistics centralized in new warehouse

Logistics for the two wine retailers had previously been handled by logistics service providers. In order to centralize and standardize the processes, Schloss Wachenheim built its own warehouse in Trier at the beginning of March 2021. Vino currently handles its entire logistics from here, and Rindchen will move into the new building in summer 2022. The aim is to align the process flows and the IT platform of the brands and to centralize all logistics in one place. Schloss Wachenheim stores the goods of both wine retailers in an area over 50,000 square feet with more than 6,000 storage spaces.

A high level of order picking is required, especially during heavy promotional sales, on days such as Black Friday and in the run-up to Christmas. In day-to-day business, the weekly deliveries to the 35 stores, each with up to 80 items and around 5,000 bottles, are also prepared from Trier. This is a huge task for the order pickers in the warehouse, for which those responsible at Schloss Wachenheim wanted to provide them with digital support.

Assistance system for the pickers

“We were looking for an assistant to make the pickers’ work easier,” reports Arno Kuhl, supply chain manager at Schloss Wachenheim AG. “Our goal was for employees to have both hands free throughout the process. Especially for handling fragile goods, this was important to us. Lists or scanners are just a hindrance there.” Since, in addition to the fastest possible delivery of the orders, completeness is also a priority, a complex final inspection was added, which cost valuable time and at times even required an additional employee. This employee had to remove each individual bottle from its carton, scan its barcode again for verification, and repack it. The company wanted to avoid this time-consuming process at its new warehouse location as a preventative measure. But the standard solution of the ERP system introduced for this purpose also showed similar weaknesses to Pick-by-Scan, as picking was to be handled via an app on the smartphone. Since conventional Pick-by-Scan and Pick-by-Paper solutions proved too inefficient, the company turned to Pick-by-Vision expert Picavi.

Final inspection directly integrated into the picking process

In practice, the advantages of Pick-by-Vision quickly became apparent. With the help of the smart glasses, the time required can be reduced considerably, as the tedious final inspection is integrated directly into the picking process. For this purpose, the barcode of the item was linked to that of the corresponding carton. The picker finally scans it at the item’s storage location to confirm the product.

In case of questions or problems, the control station can also communicate unproblematically with the employees via the smart glasses and, after confirmation by the picker, optionally connect directly to the interface of the smart glasses. Communication takes place via push notifications, visually or auditorily during operation.

Two priority levels with which the control station can send the messages help with this. Urgent messages immediately cover the entire screen with signal colors and require immediate attention from the picker. The picker can then implement the instructions on the glasses immediately. 

The team at Schloss Wachenheim noticed some of the advantages even before the practical test: “During the presentation of Picavi, we were already allowed to test the smart glasses ourselves. At that point, we already knew that the intuitive interface of the smart glasses would massively reduce the training time for new warehouse employees,” mentions Kuhl, “This is a strong advantage especially for seasonal peaks, because we often deploy additional staff for this at short notice.”

Pickers are enthusiastic about the solution

All items in the new warehouse are commissioned with Pick-by-Vision. The feedback from the pickers is positive all round. In particular, they describe the handling and user guidance of the smart glasses as intuitive and simple compared to the MDE devices and other picking methods. The interaction with the back of the hand scanner from ProGlove also proved to be optimal.

Cooperation with Picavi is a complete success

Schloss Wachenheim describes the cooperation with Picavi as extremely pleasant and competent. “During the go-live, the Picavi team already took a lot of time to explain Pick-by-Vision to us in detail. During the practical test, there were weekly updates from the project team and any challenges that arose were discussed very quickly and solved together. It is gratifying that this service has not diminished over time. Even now, we can still count on a remarkably fast response time should any difficulties arise,” explains Arno Kuhl. Currently, the team at Schloss Wachenheim is considering adding Picavi Cockpit functionalities to the solution in the future. With the Smart Data Analytics function, the company could use the data generated during picking to identify optimization potential in the technical warehouse infrastructure or the arrangement of items in the warehouse. In particular, this could prove to be a valuable support during the periodic rearrangements of the warehouse, which are regularly necessary due to the strong seasonal business.

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