A copilot for efficient planning – EDEKA optimization based on redPILOT processes
01. December by DIGITAL2GO in Use Case
In the area of food retailing, Edeka is the clear market leader in Germany. In addition to the eponymous supermarkets, the discount chain Netto and the beverage brand trinkgut are also part of Edeka, which is divided into seven regional companies. Edeka decided to implement the appropriate software solution redPILOT in order to utilize the full potential of all resources of EDEKA Handelsgesellschaft Rhein-Ruhr and continuously lower process costs.
From manual warehouse processes to partially automated systems and fully automated facilities – the seven logistics sites of EDEKA Rhein-Ruhr with their approximately 3,250 employees are able to take advantage of all infrastructure facets that have been developed and continuously modernized over the years. Between the central warehouse in Hamm, the three regional warehouses for foodstuffs and the three beverage warehouses, about 1,000 markets are supplied and between 850,000 to one million package units are moved each day. These figures already suggest that an enormous expenditure is needed with respect to process planning in order to ensure smooth and efficient procedures at all levels. Thomas Kerkenhoff, CEO for logistics and IT at EDEKA Rhein-Ruhr, explains the intention behind the project: “The top priority for implementing redPILOT was to utilize resources as optimally as possible in daily processes and consistently adapt their usage to seasonal, regional and weekly fluctuations.”
Numerous challenges in daily operations
Specific existing problems must, first of all, be determined in order to design such a solution. Therefore, in an initial development step, the challenges that the operational team at the logistic center faces on a daily basis must be recognized. In addition to the complexity of heterogeneous processes as found in the developed structures at EDEKA, consistently changing operating conditions also had to be taken into account. Besides plannable events, especially unpredictable occurrences such as traffic problems, disruptions of various components or employee absences regularly challenge operational management. Moreover, targeted operational control must always keep the big picture in mind since the mere optimization of smaller partial processes does not necessarily have a positive effect on the overall result.
Comprehensive data evaluation for real-time planning
The introduction of redPILOT not only gives EDEKA Rhein-Ruhr a daily planning tool but especially also enables predictive planning. Costs incurred due to operational planning are displayed according to current days and weeks and can be adapted. “redPILOT also makes it possible to, at any time, compare target planning with the actual status and optimize it accordingly,” says Thomas Kerkenhoff. A series of interfaces facilitates the exchange of collected data and the respective evaluation of information through redPILOT. Kai Beerwerth, who is part of the management team of trinkgut Hamm, explains the networking among various systems in greater detail: “We have established an interface with our warehouse management system at which we receive all order and movement data for individual process steps, and we have also created another interface with our personnel accounting system for all attendance and absence information.”
Perfect navigation through complex procedures
“In redPILOT we have finally found a solution that allows for clean controlling of all processes. Since everyone works with the same software, we can generate a detailed comparison of the same processes across warehouses, establish benchmarks and create respective incentives for warehouse management in order to improve the respective processes,” as Thomas Kerkenhoff summarizes the successful deployment of the new software solution. Based on his experience, Andy Bertmann, logistics manager at Edeka Rhein-Ruhr, recommends a gentle transition to a new system of usage: “Initial parallel usage of the previous solution in conjunction with redPILOT has given employees a sense of security and substantially alleviated the transition for all involved parties. Moreover, the advantages of the new software solution can be immediately and clearly perceived at all levels.” After four weeks of parallel operation, the obsolete solution was ultimately abandoned without problems.
In the future, communication with employees will also be performed directly online via redPILOT and an app for mobile consumer devices. Desired working times can be shared, shift plans cleared and sick notifications added without much paperwork. Thus, work schedules can be generated with much more flexibility, and obsolete rigid systems are finally a thing of the past. This increases employee satisfaction and concurrently also long-term retention of employees within the company.
Less idle time and flexible planning with full cost transparency
Yet, the benefits of redPILOT go far beyond mere operational personnel planning. Targeted and transparent deployment of employees based on their respective competences increases the average performance and also employee satisfaction. Flexible planning of shift models minimizes personnel deployment while optimized facility usage reduces operating costs in multiple respects: Service costs for maintenance, repairs and spare parts are lowered, the energy usage of facilities is reduced and reciprocal impacts between maintenance and operation can be taken into account in the planning stage. Complete cost transparency gives operative executives immediate feedback regarding the consequences of their decisions. Saving potential can be recognized in real time due to detailed process cost calculations, and respective steps can be initiated immediately.