Case Study: Corimon

“With this tool we have been able to mitigate inventory errors from 8% to 0.5%.” Denis Edgard, Vice President, Production Paints Corimon optimizes its warehouse coding processes with SupraBT’s barcode reading solution. Caracas, Venezuela – December, 2013

Corimon Pinturas C.A., a company of the Corimon Group, dedicated to the production of paints for the most prestigious brands in the country; for architectural areas, wood, traffic, industrial maintenance, marine, original equipment (OEM), as well as for automotive refinishing, entrusted SupraBT with the implementation of a modern barcode system (RF-BC) for the optimization of labeling, location of products in the warehouse and picking, with subsequent implementation of radiofrequency also known as WiFi. Denis Edgard, the current Vice President of Paint Production for Venezuela, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, opened the dialogue by commenting that the problem of mismatching product labels with invoices and deliveries had existed for a long time.

Four years ago the company made the decision to invest in warehouse automation systems and implemented the bar code system. The objective of this decision was to improve the labeling system in order to mitigate as much as possible the inventory errors derived from the manual processing that had been carried out until then.

The fact that the process of loading invoice and label data was carried out manually resulted in discrepancies in the descriptions, which caused frequent complaints from customers, who received a product identified with one color and inside the package contained a different color, as well as differences in the identification that appeared on the invoices.

“We have been working for about two and a half years with the solution implemented by SupraBT, with excellent results, which translate into an increase in the satisfaction of our customers,” says the Vice President of Paint Production.

We turned to SupraBT because of the excellent references received from other companies that had used their services, so that they could guide us in the search for the solution that best met our needs.

After an exhaustive evaluation of the situation and the problems posed, taking into account Corimon’s production needs and working closely with our systems team, SupraBT presented its proposed solution. We selected mobile equipment from the manufacturer Psion (now part of Zebra – Motorola Solutions), model 7535, the most robust on the market, with long-range laser scanner, water resistant and resistant to multiple drops to reinforced concrete.

One of the main advantages of this equipment is its useful life – points out Luis Mariano Aranguren, director of SupraBT – since these are devices designed for industrial environments, which average 7 years of useful life, versus consumer technologies, whose average life is 2 years.

The data transmission via WiFi is done with 9060 G2 equipment from the same manufacturer designed to be used in hostile environments as they must tolerate high temperatures, handle diversity and ease of cluster management – which were strategically placed based on a field study that guarantees data transmission rates and coverage of the work area. The operators enter the SAP system with a middleware called MIS (Mobile Integration Suite) which allows to display summarized screens of the transactions facilitating the data entry. Finally, a solution called Mobile Control Center was implemented to remotely manage the mobile equipment, thus enabling support to be given to the equipment.

The consulting service included the design of the technological solution, supply of the equipment, physical installation, parameterization and integration with SAP, which was led by Corimon’s systems manager, its internal team and the Psion consulting team.

Implementation goes live

Denis Edgard, emphasizes that the entire project was carried out without stopping the company’s production lines. In addition to installation and integration, an important aspect of this implementation was the education of personnel in the use of the new technology. “We didn’t know what the impact of that change was going to be like, but everything went smoothly, right from the start,” he says.

Luis Aranguren, Director & CTS of SupraBT, points out that the paradigm shift was the most difficult thing to face, as it involved changing many aspects of how the company worked, from operators to managers. “The current processes required considerable modifications and even physical adjustments to the warehouse areas to achieve the expected results,” he says.

Both in the labeling and distribution areas – everyone would work with a “gun” that allows to read what is on the barcode and preselect the load correctly and without errors.

All areas of the company were involved in the process that meant the adoption and acceptance of this new technology, including the union, always trying to maintain the best benefit for both the company and the workers, for which they also had the support of Fundametal.

Results

Only one year and two months elapsed from the time of the consultancy until we began to reap the benefits of implementing the solution, says Denis Edgard.

“Complaints and product returns have decreased, but the greatest benefit we have seen is the satisfaction of our customers, because they are receiving what they have really bought. For us, that is priceless,” says Edgard.

With the barcode solution (RF-BC) implemented by SupraBT, inventory errors were reduced from 8% to 0.5%, which implies a significant reduction in the percentage of customer complaints, practically zero error.

Integration with SAP through Psion MIS enabled access to transactions via mobile devices. To this end, modifications were made to SAP processes and WM by Corimon’s ABAP team. In addition, screens were designed to encompass several SAP transactions, enabling a “workflow” instead of going transaction by transaction, saving operator time. “In the end, the warehouse and distribution operate efficiently and with data collected in real time, allowing for greater visibility into what is happening so better decisions can be made.”

In addition to optimizing the reading and invoicing processes, the barcode system has brought benefits in terms of time and inventory optimization, since previously the collection of boxes and their placement on pallets in the picking area was done manually. Now the RF-BC system, which integrates with the existing SAP solution, allows determining the best physical location in the warehouse, thus facilitating the process of maintaining optimal inventory levels according to manufacturing and expiration dates, so that what first entered the warehouse goes out first (First In First Out).

“SupraBT has been a great ally, from the acquisition of the guns and labelers, which had to be purchased abroad, since the product was not available locally, to the adaptation and installation of the labelers on the filling lines and their integration with the guns,” said Edgard. “At this moment we are reaping what we have invested; everything that was promised, was fulfilled as proposed”, he concludes.

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