Efficient transport management by AEB
GEA Westfalia Separator Group has a broad customer base ranging from breweries and dairies to various industrial enterprises in such diverse sectors as maritime, energy, oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, renewable resources, and environmental technology. GEA separators are deployed for purposes ranging from cleaning water and oil on ships and oil platforms to clarifying beer in breweries and separating milk components in dairies.
The main plant of GEA Westfalia Separator Group is located in Oelde, Germany – about 70 km northeast of Dortmund. A second German plant is located in Niederahr, and there are also plants in France, India, and China. GEA manufactures thousands of new equipment components annually, and the logistics for all of this is coordinated by the Commercial Order Processing department in Oelde. Transport is handled by a logistics service provider, which has used logistics software from AEB since early 2014.
Ulrich Tyrell, Director of Commercial Order Processing for new equipment, decided early in 2013 to begin using AEB software to manage both new equipment logistics and the global parts business.
Dieter Lauer, Director of Global Trade, explains: “Our in-house customization of the SAP® transportation module had become obsolete. We wanted a clear separation between our SAP system and the logistics system that we share with our logistics service provider, and we wanted to streamline own system administration.”
Complex supply chain management for new equipment
GEA does a robust business in new equipment involving some 1,500 consignments annually. With 90% of its customers outside of Germany, this poses complex logistical challenges. Some separators ranging from 0.5 to 2 meters in diameter are manufactured in Oelde and shipped directly from there to the customer. Things get more complicated when individual parts are shipped to equipment manufacturers in Finland, Norway, or the UK, who then assemble the equipment and ship it as a single unit. Before, information such as weight and dimensions was emailed to the Order Processing department. Today, the equipment manufacturers can enter this packing data online right in the AEB software, eliminating the need for GEA employees to key it in manually. “This saves time and prevents errors,” Tyrell reports.
In-house management of global parts logistics
GEA manages its worldwide replacement parts business from its central base in Oelde. A European Parts and Logistics Center in Cologne supplies all customers throughout the world – except for Asia and Australia. These markets are served by an Asian Parts and Logistics Center in Singapore, operated by DHL and running AEB software, which opened in February 2014 after an implementation phase of just four months. Order processing and operations have run smoothly ever since despite being split between two continents. If the goods are available in Singapore, the order is processed and the consignment data is transmitted to the AEB software. Labels and documents are automatically generated and added to the consignment.
Lower costs and less hassle with a hosted solution
In introducing the logistics software from AEB, GEA Westfalia Separator Group established a clear separation between its ERP system and the logistics system, drastically improving the quality of data. Today, the global trade processes are more secure and stable, since the software is hosted in the AEB data center. The latest regulations are always applied, so GEA no longer needs to have its IT department manage and update this data.
Freight rates down, customer service up
The AEB software makes it much easier for GEA Westfalia Separator Group to calculate freight costs and prepare its transports, so employees can reserve transport capacities early and enjoy more flexibility in their planning. This is especially important for avoiding bottlenecks at the end of the year. The option of consolidating shipments offers tremendous potential for cutting future transport costs.
The quality of service has also continued to improve. Customers can check the status of their shipments and access key documents on their own, which accelerates the customs clearance process. The software also supports the process of issuing VAT certificates by posting and archiving the proof of delivery online. This saves GEA employees the time-consuming process of manually logging on to various parcel service websites and printing out tracking data.