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Automated inventory management with SAP

At H. & E. Reinert Westfälische Privat-Fleischerei GmbH

(PresseBox) (Unterhaching, ) H. & E. Reinert Westfälische Privat-Fleischerei GmbH is based in Versmold, Westphalia, Germany, and has been producing premium meat and sausage products since 1931. The international commercial group employs around 1,400 people at five production locations. High-quality cured sausages, boiled sausage specialities and cold cuts are produced in Versmold. The guiding principle of H. & E. Reinert is the production of first-class quality. Inventory management is currently performed using handwritten lists. A mobile solution that communicates with the SAP system is doing away with this error-prone, timeconsuming way of working at all of the company's locations. Following its successful implementation, the inventory management solution was also implemented at the company's subsidiary, Sickendiek, in Vörden. It is also in the process of being introduced to another subsidiary, Schinken Einhaus in Friesoythe.

Project objectives

The aim of the project was to minimise inventory management costs while preventing errors. It had to be possible to transfer inventory documents direct from the SAP system to mobile devices in as simple a way as possible. The stock levels were then recorded by the production line and warehouse employees using a scanning process. It was then important to be able to reconcile the data with the existing SAP system. H. & E. Reinert also wanted a flexible system that could be used for other areas.

Initial situation with "paper lists"

Up until now, to carry out a stock-take, inventory documents were generated in the SAP system, printed out as paper lists, and distributed among the relevant employees. They then noted down the quantities of the physical stock level by hand. Then the lists were gathered centrally and entered into the SAP system manually. Finally, the stock levels were reconciled against the SAP system and the entry. These processes were very time consuming, took up a lot of man power and involved considerable paperwork. The employees had to manually edit countless lists.

Requirements for an automated inventory management process

A new, mobile software solution would resolve these issues. H. & E. Reinert started looking around for a system capable of processing stock-takes as simply and error-free as possible in future, and that involved only a limited amount of work. Being able to connect it to the existing SAP system was of prime consideration. It was also particularly important that the data could be transferred automatically from SAP to the mobile device and subsequently reconciled. It had to be possible to register the quantities via a scanning process that was as simple as possible for the employee. Moreover, it also had to be possible to postedit manually in the mobile device quantities that had already been recorded. Finally, the new solution needed to be able to summarise the sub-items and produce a log file to monitor the data acquisition.

Decisions in favour of the MembrainPAS inventory management solution

H. & E. Reinert launched its "inventory management" project based on a request by its subsidiary, Sickendiek. Membrain was the obvious choice. Mr Brinkmann, IT Project Manager at H. & E. Reinert explains the reasons why MembrainPAS was chosen: "In addition to the simple integration of SAP, we were particularly impressed by the standardised process.

MembrainPAS was also quick to install, flexible and could be used throughout the Group. It was cost effective and had low project expenditure. Membrain GmbH develops package software for production and logistics, and is a market leader of mobile data acquisition solutions that have a flexible, yet simple connection to all existing systems.

Commissioning the new system

During the test phase, the production and warehousing processes and procedures were first recorded, along with the employee requirements. The H. & E. Reinert employees specified the barcode contents of the production labels used for identification purposes. Membrain adapted the standard solution by customising it to meet the needs of H. & E. Reinert and integrated it into the existing SAP system. The MembrainRTC server (Real Time Communicator) controls all of the processes in the background. Then the H. & E. Reinert employees tested the new inventory management system.

Automated inventory management procedure with mobile devices

First of all, inventory documents were generated in the SAP system, sorted according to plant, storage location and count date. A buffer table is used to prepare the data via the SAP system and load it into the mobile device. The inventory management employee records the actual stock levels on site, i.e. in the warehouse or production facilities, by scanning with a mobile device. Quantity corrections can be performed manually on the mobile device. The subitems are then summarised, and the recorded quantities transferred back to the SAP system where they are reconciled. The online/offline mode allows employees to operate quickly without interruptions, even under diverse environmental conditions (e.g. in areas without wireless coverage). The temporary storage of the data prevents connection breakdowns, data losses and double entries. The inventory management application is reliable and the procedures simple for the user; the user interface is clear and userfriendly. Continuous traceability and transparency, and the ability to save data are guaranteed at any time. A stock-take can now be performed by anyone quickly and error-free at any time without a great investment.

This has allowed H. & E. Reinert Westfälische Privat-Fleischerei GmbH to establish an easy-tohandle, simple, mobile system with standard SAP integration for performing stock-takes. The inventory management costs for the employees have been considerably reduced and the procedures significantly simplified. "The system can be implemented throughout the company, the costs are minimal and the inventory management process is practically error-free. Not only that, we really enjoyed the teamwork and right from the beginning. We had the feeling that our requirements were understood by the development team and were being professionally implemented," reports Mr Brinkmann.

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