Volketswil (Switzerland), 6 June 2023 - The internationally active sewing thread manufacturer, A&E Gütermann, is digitalising the inventory processes in its finished goods warehouse at company headquarters in Gutach im Breisgau with the ZetesMedea warehouse execution system (WES). Staff costs for carrying out permanent cycle counting were cut in half, with higher quality and speed. It is also planned to digitalise the remaining processes within the finished goods warehouse with ZetesMedea.

A&E Gütermann is a highly traditional and internationally active manufacturer of sewing threads. The company, established in 1864 by Max Gütermann, was once the world's largest silk thread factory. The company is now part of the US firm Elevate Textiles, Inc. With around 380 employees, it achieved an annual turnover of EUR 74 million in 2021.

Project completion after just four months

With an area of 12,500 square metres, the finished goods warehouse provides 91,000 stock locations for 70,000 different products. Around 60 warehouse employees look after goods movements, still primarily using paper. The go-ahead for phased digitalisation with ZetesMedea, which at A&E Gütermann communicates with the SAP R3 ERP system via an interface, came in 2022. Permanent cycle counting, previously performed by two-person teams, was the most suitable candidate for the first digitalisation step. "The inventory conversion project was completed within just four months, and we expect it to pay for itself in the coming year", says project manager Oliver Maier at A&E Gütermann.

“The inventory conversion project was completed within just four months, and we expect it to pay for itself in the coming year" Oliver Maier, Project Manager at A&E Gütermann.

Now the count lists generated in SAP are sent digitally to ZetesMedea. At A&E Gütermann, the warehouse execution system runs not only as a cloud solution, but also as an app on the Honeywell CT45XP mobile computers. Data capture is facilitated by an integrated 2D imager. The inventory process can be activated directly from the start screen. Now it can be done very quickly by a single employee because the paper lists are no longer necessary. Along with saving approximately 30,000 sheets of paper per year, this also cuts staff deployment for inventories in half allowing other operators to remain at the picking process.

Significantly higher inventory quality

On a large 5-inch display, the employee can see which stock location they should go to. After the items are counted, the quantity is entered on the CT45XP and checked. Any deviations from the stock level booked in SAP can be seen right away and are immediately shown to the employee. If this happens, the count result must be checked again. Overall, this has led to a significant improvement in inventory quality.

Automatic archiving is another positive effect of the digital inventory process with ZetesMedea. Previously the records had to be placed in a folder and kept for 10 years, but now this is done invisibly and reliably in the cloud. Last but not least, new employees can now get up to speed faster because the instructions from ZetesMedea are clear and easy to understand. With its cloud-based web portal, ZetesMedea additionally provides a live overview of all current orders and their status, as well as the ability to assign and prioritise orders.

In the meantime, Gütermann has also digitalised the process of putting away around 1,400 warehouse items per day. There the company expects similar positive effects and, above all, error-free operation.

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