Corimon optimizes its warehouse coding processes with a barcode reading solution from SupraBT
“With this tool we have managed to mitigate inventory errors from 8% to 0.5%”, Denis Edgard, VP of Production
Corimon Pinturas C.A., a Corimon Group company, dedicated to the production of paints for the most prestigious brands in the country; Both for architectural areas, wood, traffic, industrial maintenance, marine, original equipment (OEM), and 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 radio frequency also known as WiFi.
Denis Edgard, the current Vice President of Paint Production for Venezuela, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic, opens the dialogue by commenting that the problem of non-correspondence of product labels, invoices and deliveries, had existed for a long time.
Four years ago, the company made the decision to invest in warehouse automation systems and the barcode system was implemented. This decision aims to improve the labeling system, in order to mitigate inventory errors as much as possible, derived from the manual processing that until then was carried out.
The fact that the process of loading the 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 a color and inside the container a different color was found; in addition to differences in the identification that appeared on the invoices.
“We have been working with the solution implemented by SupraBT for about two and a half years, with excellent results, which translate into an increase in the satisfaction of our customers,” says the Vice President of Production of Paints.
We turned to SupraBT for the excellent references received from other companies that had counted on their services, to guide us in finding the solution that best met our needs.
After an exhaustive evaluation of the situation and the issues raised, taking into account Corimon’s production needs and working closely with our systems team, SupraBT presented its solution proposal. Mobile handheld devices from the manufacturer Psion (today part of Zebra – Motorola Solutions), model 7535, the most robust on the market, with a long-range laser scanner, resistant to water and multiple falls to reinforced concrete were selected.
One of the main advantages of these devices is their lifespan – says Luis Mariano Aranguren, director of SupraBT – since they are devices designed for industrial environments, they average 7 years of useful life, versus consumer technologies, whose average lifespan is 2 years.
The transmission of data via WiFi is done with 9060 G2 equipment from the same manufacturer, designed to be used in harsh environments since they must tolerate high temperatures, manage diversity and ease of administration in a cluster – which were strategically placed based on an active site survey that guarantees data transmission rates and coverage of the work area. Operators enter the SAP system through a middleware solution called MIS (Mobile Integration Suite) which allows displaying summarized transaction screens facilitating data entry. Finally, a solution called Mobile Control Center was implemented to remotely manage and service the handheld devices.
The consulting service included the design of the technological solution, the supply of the equipment, the physical installation, the parameterization and the integration with SAP, which was led by Corimon’s systems manager, his internal team and the Psion consulting team.
Deploying into production
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 related to educating staff on the use of new technology. “We did not know what the impact of that change would be, but everything went successfully, from the beginning,” he says.
Luis Aranguren, Director & CTS of SupraBT, points out that the paradigm shift was the most difficult issue to face, since it involved changing many aspects of how the company worked; from floor operators to managers. “The existing processes required considerable modification and even physical adaptation of the warehouse areas to achieve the expected results,” he says.
Both in the area of labeling and distribution – each one would go to work with a “pistol” (handheld device) that allows reading what is in the barcode and preselecting 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 from Fundametal.
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 that we have found is the satisfaction of our clients, since they are receiving what they have really bought. For us that is priceless”, says Edgard.
With the Bar Code solution (RF-BC) implemented by SupraBT, the obtained reduction in inventory errors went from 8% to 0.5%; which implies a significant reduction in the percentage of complaints from customers, practically zero error.
Integration with SAP through Psion’s MIS allowed access to transactions through mobile devices. For this, modifications were made to the SAP processes and WM carried out by the Corimon ABAP team. Likewise, screens were designed that encompass several SAP transactions, which enables doing 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 greater visibility of what is happening and thus making better decisions”.
In addition to optimizing the reading and billing processes; The bar code 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 is integrated 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 first comes out (First In First Out).
“SupraBT has been a great ally, since the acquisition of the handhelds and labeling machines, which had to be bought abroad, since the product was not available locally; to the adaptation and installation of the labeling machines in the filling lines and their integration with the handheld devices”; Edgard expressed.
“Right now we are reaping what we have invested; everything we were promised was achieved as planned”, he concludes.