Heraeus and SAP: Harmonized and refined with Flexus

The precious metals and technology group Heraeus relies on SAP-integrated mobile apps and the transport guidance system from Flexus AG for its internal material flow control.

Flexus AG won us over with their great SAP know-how and the
user-friendly design of their flexibly adaptable solutions

Michael Müller
Head of Competence
Center Logistics
Heraeus Infosystems GmbH

Difficult to grasp: If you want to describe the precious metals and technology group Heraeus in a few words, you will hardly do justice to the diverse activities of the family company. The Hanau-based global player offers products and solutions for the areas of environment, energy, electronics, health, mobility and industrial applications. while the
Although the Heraeus brand is hardly known to end consumers, it enjoys a high reputation among industrial customers worldwide.
As part of the “Magellan” project launched in 2013, 20 SAP systems used throughout the group are being standardized and harmonized on an IT platform. The process should be completed in 2020.

User-friendly design

“Among other things, Magellan was the prerequisite for the introduction of a mobile booking system for everyone Raw material and goods movements along the internal production and supply chain,” explains Michael Müller, Head of Competence Center Logistic at Heraeus Infosystems GmbH. With the mobile booking solution Above all, transparency and stock security should be increased. “By booking material or goods withdrawals by handheld directly at the shelf, we gain process reliability,” says Leon Strack, who works as a solution Architect responsible for the topic. Without a mobile solution integrated in SAP, these bookings can can only be booked at the control center of a stationary workstation, which leads to delays and can lead to inaccuracies. When looking for a suitable supplier, the choice fell on the SAP partner Flexus AG and the FlexMobile solution. The user-friendly design of the Flexus solution comes first with the Fiori apps that can be programmed with FlexMobile. At Heraeus, the device-independent ones appear Apps grouped thematically as clickable tiles on the touchscreens of mobile computers, thus ensuring a high level of clarity.

Nine templates for five continents

In joint workshops, nine basic templates were developed for FlexMobile, with which almost all booking processes at Heraeus’ 100 locations spread over five continents can be mapped. “For the other scenarios, we can add templates to the relevant locations if required,” reports Müller. The nine standard templates contain, for example, functions for posting incoming and outgoing goods, picking or Inventory. Another app is planned to support the shipping process from 2020: With the so-called packing table solution for SAP EWM, the shipping employees are guided through the individual work steps via an intuitive packing dialog, such as selecting the required packaging material, packing, weighing and label printing.

The formation of handling units (HU) is also supported. This simplifies the process enormously, which leads to
reduced training times and greater efficiency.

30 percent fewer empty runs

In 2016, SAP Fiori replaced the ITSMobile programming platform used up until then, which also made the hardware used more user-friendly. Since then, Heraeus has relied on mobile scanners that look like smartphones. In the same year, another SAP-integrated component for material flow control came into play with the transport control system FlexGuide. At this point, Heraeus had separated from its external service provider for internal site logistics. A specially founded department was therefore looking for a suitable IT system. The decision much ultimately
to the Flexus FlexGuide.

Tugger train Heraeus

Approximately 250 transport orders for the two tugger trains
and three counterbalanced trucks with a capacity
of 4 tons are available.

The driving orders generated in SAP or manually are distributed to the forklift terminals via WLAN, with special algorithms being used for route optimization.
As a result, the proportion of empty runs can be reduced by up to 30 percent lower.

4-eyes principle

The FlexGuide can also be used to map the safety precautions required at Heraeus, which must be observed when transporting precious metals, for example. The 4-eyes principle applies at Heraeus for the transfer of precious metals between production and logistics. When generating a transport request, SAP decides based on the value of the goods and other criteria as to whether the 4-eyes principle must be applied. The solution programmed for this case provides that the forklift driver and the production employee verify the personal handover with their respective identification number on the forklift terminal or handheld.

As a further development of this system, Heraeus has developed the Technical Eyes Principle – TEP for short – with camera-monitored, lockable pickup and drop-off points
Transfer boxes works.

At TEP, there is no need for two employees to meet each other in person: Here the driver can take over the goods directly without waiting and take them to their destination.

WIP inventories under control

Another important requirement for the transport guidance system was the handling of intermediate stocks for which no material number had yet been created in SAP. It is not possible to manage these so-called WIP inventories (work in process) in SAP. That’s why Flexus developed the FlexWIP warehouse management. The solution was seamlessly integrated into the FlexGuide at Heraeus. The transport control system coordinates the supply of raw material to workstations, the transfer of processed material to the next workplace or the supply and disposal of loading aids or additional materials.

In addition, the transport control system ensures maximum transparency for all internal transports and provides the database for further optimization. For example, the proportion of transports carried out by tugger train was increased from 50 to 80 percent. The use of forklifts, which is less efficient than that of tugger trains, has been reduced to 20 percent. Another effect relates to the response time: “It used to take around four hours on average to a requested transport has been carried out. This value could be reduced to 90 minutes,” emphasizes Leon Strack. No wonder that the FlexGuide will soon be used at other locations.

In conclusion

With the transport control system FlexGuide and the mobile booking system FlexMobile, Heraeus has enhanced its central SAP system with several additional functions, thereby increasing transparency, quality and efficiency.

The precious metals and technology group Heraeus, based in Hanau, is one of the world’s leading family-owned portfolio companies. Founded in 1851, the roots of the company go back to 1660 family run pharmacy. Today, Heraeus bundles a large number of businesses in the fields of environment, energy, electronics, health, mobility and industrial applications. Heraeus employs around 15,000 people in 40 countries. Today, Heraeus is one of the top 10 family companies in Germany and has a leading position in its global sales markets.