Lean IT at B&R, thanks to direct warehouse and material flow integration with the SAP software suite:
B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrial Electronics) has created a logistics solution at its Eggelsberg site that is unique throughout Austria. Warehouse automation in the new pallet high-bay warehouse (HBW), whose installation was managed by TGW Systems Integration as the general contractor, is based on B&R's own drive and control technologies.
The Austrian technology leader also integrated warehouse management and material flow control as a core component of the existing SAP ERP system. To operate this lean SAP system architecture while keeping interfaces to a minimum, B&R extended its own IT know-how by drawing on the SAP expertise of SAP logistics integrators IGZ – a certified SCM Special Expertise Partner of Walldorf-based SAP AG (Germany).

"The warehouse system, with its inbuilt automation and process control components, and choice of SAP-only systems for warehouse management and control, offers us maximum protection for our investment," explains the Head of IT/Company Operations at B&R. For warehouse management, B&R has deployed the tried-and-tested SAP Logistics Execution System (SAP LES) plus the material flow component SAP Task and Resource Management (SAP TRM), which was implemented by IGZ. To avoid the inclusion of other controller layers or additional interfaces, SAP LES (SAP Logistics Execution System) and SAP TRM (SAP Task and Resource Management) both run within the SAP ERP business suite environment.

"The master SAP system easily handles the workload of our 18,000-pallet automated warehouse system, to which eight multifunctional work centres, a twin-level conveyor system and radio frequency applications are connected, while still offering enough additional capacity for the future development of our business," states B&R.

Even before go-live for the HBW, B&R had deployed the SAP modules MM (Material Management) and WM (Warehouse Management) for bin management in the various storage areas.
The Austrian automation specialists were therefore already able to draw on SAP expertise.
"During the SAP LES (SAP Logistics Execution System) and SAP TRM (SAP Task and Resource Management) rollout, IGZ gave us the necessary expertise for the independent and flexible fine-tuning of the strategies and logistics processes in our automated warehouse in the future. In terms of IT, we were actively involved in implementation, so we were able to rapidly expand our SAP know-how in warehousing and material flows," adds B&R's IT manager.
The contribution of in-house development work during the SAP implementation and test phase also translated to savings in the external IT budget.

Alongside goods receipt, goods issue, large stock removal and replacement functions in double-deep HBW, all of the processes at the multifunctional work centres also run using SAP LES (SAP Logistics Execution System) and SAP TRM (SAP Task and Resource Management). Here, workers can pick and consolidate items using the Goods-to-Person principle, or carry out physical stock-takes. Supplies and transfers are reliably made to and from the production unit connected to the warehouse, and production orders are handled in SAP LES (SAP Logistics Execution System). The HBW also performs additional functions in dispatching.

In just nine months from order placement to go-live, B&R and IGZ joined forces to roll out a SAP solution featuring excellent scalability and – thanks to its use of standard components – plenty of room for fine-tuning.

B&R's IT manager: "An innovative and forward-thinking strategy is the principle that drives our development. This can also be seen with our new HBW."

With IGZ, B&R found a partner who not only had logistics expertise but was able to demonstrate the necessary knowledge of SAP in the field of Supply Chain Execution. "Only in this way can innovative and ultra-lean solutions be developed from the ERP system right down to the underlying control layer," explains the IT manager.

  • Two-tier SAP-PLC architecture (no need for middleware)
  • Increases transparency and improves management of the overall system
  • Reductions in testing and commissioning times
  • Powerful PLC simulation with monitoring
  • Real-time communication with PLC console
  • Reduces outlay for maintenance, service and troubleshooting
  • No deployment of custom-programmed modules, but fully-standardised technologies instead
  • Harmonisation of the IT-driven logistics system architecture
  • Maximum process flexibility

The storage technology with its own automation and process indicator components and the elimination of non-SAP systems for warehouse management and control offer us maximum investment protection.

Josef Raschhofer Head of IT & Supply Chain Management

Download case study