Lift integration with SAP
Manual intralogistics processes such as storage and retrieval, picking or inventory control tie up employee capacity, cause increased costs and are often prone to errors. To counter these problems, more and more technologies for warehouse optimization are finding their way into companies’ intralogistics in the course of advancing digitalization and automation. One technology that is particularly prominent in this regard is automatic lifts. These lifts aim to optimize logistics processes by simplifying or completely taking over repetitive or labor-intensive tasks for warehouse employees. At the same time, warehouse capacities are optimally utilized thanks to this solution.
A short overview of the technology:
An automatic lift or warehouse lift is an automatic storage system in which goods and articles of all kinds can be stored. The picking method works according to the “goods-to-man” principle. Using motorized drives, the goods are brought to designated storage locations in the warehouse lift and stored. Since the system is built vertically upwards, unlike a conventional storage rack, parts, tools and goods of all kinds can be stored in the storage lift in a particularly space-saving and efficient manner. The storage lift is controlled and operated via appropriate software.
Depending on the manufacturer and individual customer requirements, the appearance of the storage lifts varies and is adapted to its respective place of use. For example, the storage and retrieval sides can be kept identical or separate. Likewise, the material to be stored influences the lift, as a heavier-duty design requires a more massive structure. In addition, the lift is not limited to one building floor or hall and can run over several floors, similar to a passenger elevator.
What advantages do lift integrations offer?
Due to its design, parts, tools and goods of all types and weight classes can be stored in the storage lift in a particularly space-saving and efficient manner. As a vertical storage system, the storage lift requires up to 90% less floor space than a corresponding shelf storage system. The system also makes the stored goods available automatically, reducing the amount of work and time required for retrieval and picking. Since no people can reach the goods, there are no restrictions on the construction height of the storage lifts.
The complete ceiling height of the building can be utilized. In this way, the warehouse lift usually saves floor space. In addition, a warehouse lift provides better ergonomics at the workplace and greatly increases the safety of workers, since bending and climbing ladders is no longer necessary. Due to the aforementioned points that these lifts are a closed storage system, the stored goods can be reliably protected from dust and dirt. This is an immense advantage, especially in industries with increased cleanliness requirements for the material used.
What challenges are companies facing?
When integrating new warehouse lifts into their existing processes, companies must first document inventories of potential hurdles to ensure smooth operation and achieve the desired performance optimization. Basically, the physical framework should be ensured and created before integration.
Since lifts are stationary and therefore immobile, their use is always preceded by intensive site planning. It should be ensured that the capacity of the lift is adequate for the expected storage volume and that the resulting lift size can be implemented at the site. If necessary, conversion measures or the parallel operation of several lifts may be required. Furthermore, it must be taken into account during planning that access to the lift and the associated operability for the employee are always guaranteed.
Once the points relating to site planning for the hardware have been fulfilled and completed, taking into account all requirements and conditions, the systemic integration can be started. This usually requires interdisciplinary expertise, as both technical understanding with regard to the lift variant used and in-depth knowledge of SAP are required.
If the lift is not delivered with its own user interface, individualizations and adaptations of the lift technology must be made. These in particular require technical expertise and usually entail an increased programming effort. For example, they have their own interface for picking and storage, and their own logic must be built into the RF environment. Special actions that have to be triggered, such as visual runs or optimization runs, also increase the programming effort.
How can HPC support you?
We have an exceptionally high number of experts in the field of EWM and MFS, but can also draw on a large number of satisfied customers with regard to the integration of lifts of various designs and manufacturers. In this way, many challenges and problems that may arise when integration the respective systems are already known and a suitable solution approach is available. This benefits the customer and saves time and money.