Logistics thrives on speed
High above our heads, a goods container rattles over the automatic conveyor line. It is by no means the only one making its way through the Brütsch/Rüegger Tools warehouse on this early morning. And while the ToolNews team stands and stares in amazement, this logistical choreography is quite normal for Peter Häfeli. "Over time, you get used to it," says the Warehouse/Logistics Manager at Brütsch/Rüegger Tools, smiling. Häfeli guides us through the company's extensive inventories while he explains the various processes. "Everything we do here ultimately serves an essential goal," he says: The correct goods must be in the right place at the right time. "You could say that that's what this department is all about."
Speed and precision are the main characteristics of a smooth logistics and warehouse management operation.
At Brütsch/Rüegger Tools, around 40 people are responsible for ensuring that hundreds of thousands of items are received, processed and shipped correctly every year. In addition to human expertise, modern technology is also required for this. Fortunately, in 2011, important digitalisation plans were initiated by the move to the new site. Today, this foresight is benefiting our logistics operation, as specialists are using state-of-the-art tools that help them keep the flow of goods running continuously. Brütsch/Rüegger Tools customers benefit directly from this.
ToolCenter Urdorf "One of the most modern logistics facilities in Switzerland for MRO items"
"Peak season" is coming
Peter Häfeli's quality standards are high and he takes absolute precision and speed as a matter of course. "This is more necessary than ever today because the demands of our customers are constantly increasing," says the department manager. For him and his experienced logistics and warehouse teams, the annual peak season is now approaching as many companies buy new tools for the coming year during winter. That results in the number of incoming orders increasing dramatically.
Experience and perseverance
Fortunately, Peter Häfeli can rely on an experienced and well-practised team even during this strenuous period. One of these specialists is Salmen Jusufi, who is part of the "picking" team. "Picking" the ordered items and packing them in the correct material container is one of his tasks. "And of course speed and accuracy also count for a lot," explains Jusufi. To this end, he covers enormous distances in the extensive Brütsch/Rüegger Tools warehouse: "My record is 28 kilometres and 60 floors in one day," he says laughing. He has absolutely no need for a gym membership.
The voice in the ear
At Brütsch/Rüegger Tools, employees always have the support of state-of-the-art technology. Salmen Jusufi demonstrates this with the "Pick by Voice" system. The system guides him precisely via headphones and tells him which goods he can find where and in which containers they should be placed. "The big advantage of the system is that I always have my hands free," he explains. This saves time and is much easier than having to keep a note with you all the time. Other systems are also used, such as "Pick by Light". In this case, the items to be picked are illuminated automatically.
From picking, the products are then sent to the goods shipment team. "This is where all the loose ends come together again," explains Peter Häfeli. The final inspection is carried out here before shipment. If something incorrect, the control centre team takes care of it. The correctly picked goods are then packed in new cardboard boxes. Swiss Post collects shipments from Brütsch/Rüegger Tools three times a day. Along with the improved processes, this makes it possible for goods ordered by 5.30 pm to be in use the next day.
Same quality despite higher demands
So what are the targets for Peter Häfeli and his team over the next few years? "Our product range will continue to grow, which poses challenges to our storage capacity and our processes," he explains. Of course, the ultimate goal is to be able to fully meet customer needs tomorrow and the day after tomorrow as well. In addition to the continuous improvement of the infrastructure, the teams must be both efficient and satisfied.
"Our trained personnel are close to our hearts and we want to continue to support them in the future." In addition to modern, ergonomic workstations, continuously supporting a healthy team culture is also vital. That will enable the department mantra to be implemented successfully in the future: The correct goods must be in the right place at the right time.