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Giant makes leap forward with StockSAVER from Werma

01 May 2019

Learn how Dutch bicycle manufacture Giant has taken advantage of the new kanban stock movement monitoring and automatic replenishment system from Werma.

Giant Manufacturing Europe BV based in Lelystad in the Netherlands is the world’s largest manufacturer of bikes. 

Established in 1972, the company has been a technology leader in its field through the pioneering of light-weight aluminium and then carbon fibre frames, its bikes are suitable for on and off-road use and are also the bike of choice in all areas of the competitive sport.

Giant’s search for an effective kanban solution for delivery of online components – the challenges

With a vast range of different bike styles and options the wide variety of components that must be available line-side for smooth and continuous assembly of the bikes was a headache for the company. In addition, the operation needed a process system sufficiently flexible to deal with seasonal fluctuations in demand for the different segments of the market it serves. The company did not have a formal Kanban process in place but relied on “runners” out on the shop-floor looking at stock shortages and organising replenishment on an ad hoc basis.

During a visit to the Hannover Fair the company found StockSAVER, Werma’s intelligent wireless system for the monitoring of movement of Kanban stocks and automatic generation of replenishment orders.

How does StockSAVER work?

Common problems associated with traditional kanban systems include kanban cards incorrectly completed, lost or damaged and cards not being collected promptly all of which can lead to delays in replenishment which companies then compensate for by holding excessively high stocks “so we never risk running out of anything”.

Werma’s StockSAVER resolves many of these traditional kanban issues and in addition stock withdrawals no longer must be scanned and arithmetically calculated stock levels errors are removed.

Werma’s system starts with optical sensors being retro-fitted to Kanban shelf rails which detect the movement of bins. This data is transmitted wirelessly from the shelf locations to the software located on the client’s server which then is fed through to a cockpit screen in, say, the production controller’s office. Here the movement can be seen in real time and the request for a new stock order to replenish is initiated by the system.

In summary, sensors on the FIFO racking detect the movement in and out of bins on the shelf and give total transparency to stock levels. When pre-set safety stock or emergency stock levels are hit, an automatic call for replenishment is raised, thus avoiding stock-outs and unnecessary excessive stock at the line-side. 

With a smaller amount of stock held line-side the number of FIFO racks and space required on the shop-floor can also be reduced. This can free up valuable floor space for other value adding activities and of course cash flow will be improved through reduced stock.

Giant have enjoyed a significant improvement of the system installed last year and are looking to expand the installation in the coming months.

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