Knauf have become the latest company to buy Harland Simon's Warehouse Insight system for their manufacturing site at Sittingbourne, Kent.
The system, based on patented optical technology, will enable Knauf to track the movement of trucks and their loads around the storage and despatch areas and will lead to significant process improvements.
Paul Rainer, Knauf's Supply Chain Development Manager, commented "We first met Harland Simon when we visited their stand at the IMHX show. We were intrigued by their innovative approach to warehouse management and, in particular, the technology they use. Since then we have seen the system in use at another site and have worked closely with Harland Simon to scope the project for Knauf. We are convinced that Warehouse Insight really does provide something that isn't available elsewhere and we're looking forward to reaping the rewards of the installation."
Rob Watson, Sales Director at Harland Simon, said "When a multinational company such a Knauf buys into our system and approach, it strengthens our belief that we've really got something ground-breaking here and that we're doing something right. The process at Knauf is more complicated than many warehouses and, at times, must be quite challenging to manage. The implementation of Warehouse Insight's data collection and the application of Knauf's business rules through the truck interface will streamline warehouse operation and deliver tangible benefits."
Warehouse Insight is, in essence, an indoor GPS system that monitors and records the movements of trucks around the warehouse to an accuracy of just a few centimetres. At the same time, every pallet that is picked up is automatically recognised by its barcode and its movements are then recorded until it is put down. The system bridges the data gaps that conventional warehouse management systems can't overcome and provides completely accurate and up-to-date information on all aspects of the warehousing process.
The system is based on an upward-facing camera fitted to each truck and overhead position markers are used to calculate the truck's exact position. At the same time, a front-facing camera recognises the barcodes on pallets as they are approached by a truck. The information is transmitted from each truck to the Warehouse Insight server which either provides the warehouse management functionality itself, as will be the case at Knauf, or communicates directly with the site's WMS. At Sittingbourne, the system will interface with their SAP system. Work instructions are transmitted by Warehouse Insight to a touchscreen mounted in the driver's cab.
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