The Industrial Systems Division of the technology group ZF Friedrichshafen has centralized logistics and automated its processes. Consequently, it has been able to improve warehouse performance by a factor of 11.

In the course of the reorganization, the front part of a high bay storage more than 30 years old was restored and the remaining infrastructure modernized gradually. Another central function carrier in the so-called Assembly Service Center is an automatic small parts store with 44,000 container places which is used directly for production supply. Since August 2016, the total system solution is managed via SAP EWM and controlled via SAP MFS.

When the airship pioneer Ferdinand von Zeppelin founded a "Gear factory" in 1915, he laid the foundation stone for a group posting billions in sales today, with some 230 sites all over the world. From Passau, the Industrial Systems Division coordinates all grouped activities for "off-road" applications in ZF Friedrichshafen AG Gearboxes and axles for agricultural machinery and construction plant, drive systems for forklifts and rail and special vehicles are developed and produced here. The branch is also responsible for business worldwide in naval and aerospace drive systems, as well as for the manufacture of gearboxes for wind power systems and industrial drives.

"To be capable of securing our parts supply long term, we should place our logistics comprehensively on a new foundation", says, ZF project manager Daniel Biefeld. The dispatch warehouse should be disbanded and more dynamic created overall in logistic implementation. Reprocurement and response times were particularly in focus here. This ambitious project was accompanied by IGZ Automation GmbH from Falkenberg/Opf. as development and implementation partner. The deliverables included first implementation of SAP EWM as a standard solution for warehouse management, including SAP MFS for material flow control. In parallel, IGZ was responsible as Prime Contractor under the leadership of Alfred Meyer, IGZ director responsible for IGZ Prime Contractor business and for the retrofit of the high bay storage and the rebuild of the 4-lane automatic small parts store.

"With the old storage system, we were able at peak times to issue 55 small load carriers and 55 large load carriers per hour", according to Daniel Biefeld. With support from SAP EWM, there are currently 160 in high bay storage and 550 in the automatic small parts store. "This is how we have improved warehouse performance by a factor of 10." The cycle time in goods inwards has been reduced from 14 to three hours and the reprocurement time for goods in the assembly service center from 24 to six hours.
The response time by Logistics to canceled requirement messages is now a mere quarter of an hour. In parallel, it has been possible to create space in the assembly hall through reduced recirculation stocks, which can now be used productively in different ways.

Hence, it appears that ZF Friedrichshafen AG at its Passau site is well set up from a logistic perspective for the next 10 to 15 years, again because the installed system solution is scalable and can be expanded. Simultaneously, the decision for SAP EWM marks an important milestone in the history of ZF Friedrichshafen. Because this IT solution is in use across the group for the first time. This has moved the division into a pioneer position in the ZF logistics world.

This extensive redesign of the logistics structure was rewarded with a number of prizes inside the ZF Group in the ZF EXCELLENCE AWARDS. 

With IGZ and SAP EWM, we have secured our parts supply for the long term.

ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Key Facts


  • Passau


  • Issue of up to 600 KLTs/hour
  • Reduction of reprocurement time for production supplies from 24 to < 4 hours.
  • Availability of the total system almost 100%.
  • Improvement in warehouse performance by a factor of 11.
  • Reduction from three to two-shift working.

Retrofit of automated high bay storage

  • 9,000 places
  • 5 lanes, 5 stacker cranes (MIAS)
  • Conveyor systems: 180 pallets/hour

AKL new build

  • 50,000 places
  • 4 lanes, 4 stacker cranes (TGW)
  • Container loop: 1,000 containers/hour