Because every tool needs its place

Order picking forms the basis of our delivery service
Everything has a system: At first glance, the extensive logistics facility looks like a labyrinth. But just like in a clock, each part fits perfectly into the next. (All images: Brütsch/Rüegger Tools)

Speed and accuracy. These two aspects are vital in logistics. If things go wrong here, it's quickly reflected in our customer satisfaction. We need lots of people, departments, processes and systems to work together perfectly to prevent this. This is the only way to ensure that the many thousands of products in the Brütsch/Rüegger Tools tool range reach customers in time. "Our order picking team plays a key role within this complex mechanism," explains Warehouse/Logistics Manager Peter Häfeli. Order picking is particularly important for Brütsch/Rüegger Tools because we have an enormously diverse product range — we stock everything from screws measuring just a few millimetres in size to items several metres in length. "We wouldn't be able to provide this service without our well-practised team, even with our state-of-the-art technical systems."

Where the goods come together: At a hub within the logistics facility known as a station, Team Leader Salmen Jusufi takes delivery of goods containers.

Bridging logistics processes

Our site in Urdorf ZH is at the heart of our logistics operations: An imposing hub that receives hundreds of thousands of tools every year, stores them and prepares them to be shipped all around the world to our customers. In this edition of ToolNews, we take a detailed look at our logistics processes. In one of our recent editions, we looked more closely at goods receipt and now we are looking at the next department along the line, namely order picking. For those interested in the smooth and efficient flow of our ordering processes, this is the ideal opportunity to gain an exclusive insight into our logistics operations.

But who makes up this order picking team — and what exactly is the team's role? The twelve order picking staff are responsible for compiling different goods from each order in preparation for delivery. But that is not all, because they are also responsible for correctly placing items not currently on their way to customers into the enormous warehouse. This ensures that urgent orders can be completed quickly whilst also ensuring that stocks are continuously replenished and up to date.

Shift work is key

Team Leader Salmen Jusufi is responsible for ensuring that the order picking processes run as smoothly as possible. His most important duties include coordinating the various shift patterns. "Multi-shift operation is important for us as we run a specialist tool shop in Urdorf and also give all customers the option to order their goods by 5.30 pm for priority delivery by parcel post," he explains. Such a short turnaround time can only be made possible by using shifts.

Voice controlled: The "Pick by Voice” process means that the staff receive instructions about where to pick up which items through their headphones.

A typical day of order picking begins by checking the sector coverage. The first task in the morning is to pick export and urgent orders. Storing goods that have been received is another important part of the process. "Speed is essential in both cases because goods that are left sitting around are tying up capital — that's a no-go in our industry," adds Peter Häfeli. We use various systems that reflect the diverse nature of the Brütsch/Rüegger Tools inventory to efficiently put together the right items. In the compact warehouse, the majority of employees start with "Pick by Light", while "Pick by Voice" is used in the shelving section. Hazardous goods stored on the floor are processed using data scanners, and high-bay stackers are used in the storage section with a gallery level. "This technical equipment helps us to be efficient and make as few errors as possible," says Salmen Jusufi.

Fitness is another important aspect

Current evaluations from smart watches indicate that everyone in Switzerland takes an average of 7,000 steps per day. This corresponds to around four to four and a half kilometres. The order picking teams at Brütsch/Rüegger Tools are significantly more mobile, however, covering an average of 15 kilometres every day. Good physical fitness is therefore essential for this job. The team usually experiences peak activity at around 4.30 pm, in other words an hour before the order deadline for the current day. This is when a lot of orders flood in and have to be processed as quickly as possible.

A very special fitness centre: The logistics specialists cover several kilometres every day.

In this dynamic (and sometimes hectic) environment, efficient cooperation between employees and downstream sections such as packing is essential. Brütsch/Rüegger Tools can only keep its promise of next day delivery if these departments cooperate without any form of breakdown. The order picking team is therefore more than just another logistics section of the leading tool partner — it is the key to ensuring smooth operation and therefore satisfied customers.

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