Construction is in full swing and is reaching its final stages in Röthlein, near Schweinfurt. Schäflein AG is building a new logistics center and invests 18 million euros. Main customer is the Winora Group. The new logistics center will serve the bike manufacturer as hub for Europe-wide shipping of e-bikes and regular bicycles of the brands WINORA and HAIBIKE.
The cooperation between the Sennfeld, Germany based bicycle manufacturer Winora, which is a subsidiary of Accell Group, and the forwarding and logistics company Schäflein started already in the 1950s. What began with the shipment of individual bicycles is today a highly complex logistics operation which is facing new challenges.
Increased space requirements due to rising e-bike sales
E-bike sales in Germany increased from 150,000 in 2009 to 980,000 in 2018. The rising popularity of electric bicycles is a trend that is also clearly noticeable in the Winora Group. While the company handled up to 80 percent of non-e-bikes and 20 percent e-bikes in 2012, the ratio for 2017 has reversed for the first time. From a logistical point of view, this development meant an explosion in the to be stored volume, since the high-quality e-bikes are packed exclusively in protective full cartons. In addition to the existing central dispatch warehouse for the Winora Group in Röthlein, a number of other external warehouses were needed to handle this volume.
These are now merged into Schäflein AG’s new 25,000 square meter European distribution center, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020. The forwarding and logistics company is investing 18 million euros in it. “We believe in our customer and his portfolio. With its modern and innovative products, the Winora Group is always closely linked to the market,” says Achim Schäflein, managing director of Schäflein AG.
Increase to 72,000 bikes
With 11,000 square meters of storage space, the Winora Group will occupy more than 40 percent of the new multi-user site. Another 4,500 square meters can be booked variably. In figures, this means an increase in the maximum storage capacity from 45,000 to 72,000 e-bikes in the new warehouse, which is equipped to meet the specific requirements of bike logistics. “Schäflein AG has been supporting us in our growth for decades and, with forward-looking logistics, is creating the necessary conditions for us to remain successful in a rapidly changing competitive environment,” claims Dominik Thiele, regional director D-A-CH.
20 loading gates to send more than 1,000 bikes
In order to ensure short delivery times, Schäflein relies on optimized warehouse logistics with short routes and low replenishment costs: frequently called articles, so-called high-speed products, are stored in a separate area; B and C articles in high-bay warehouses with a picking area at ground level. The new logistics center has some 20 loading gates offering a daily shipping capacity of 2,500 bikes (formerly 1,400).
Seasonal peaks in the bike industry and growth-related quantity changes are met with flexible processes and adapted equipment. Depending on the requirements, the picker puts together individual orders following the goods to man principle or processes multiple orders at the same time withdrawing multiple articles for multiple orders from each storage bay. In the latter system, the actual order compilation takes place in the dispatch area. Additional trailers on tow trains guarantee maximum efficiency. In the construction of the new logistics center provisions are made for various automation solutions such as automated forklifts and driverless transportation systems.
Transparent processes: Track and trace
From inbound delivery to dispatch to the delivery to the customer – all movements are tracked and converge in one central platform, the Schäflein Datencubus. In case a shipment does not reach defined intermediate control points in time, the logistics specialists immediately notice the divergence and can take action. A mobile web application allows dealers to check the status of the shipment at any time. In addition, the application offers further services such as a clear order history and a user-friendly complaint handling.