- Widely accepted by employees
- Technology is cheaper than barcode scanners
- Strengths: Stock statistics as well as pre- and post-tracking of batches
Schur Pack Germany installed three highly automated medium and large-format Rapida presses in 2015 when it built a completely new packaging plant in Gallin. Since the end of last year the company has been a pilot user of one of the Rapida LiveApps. The ProductionApp takes over the complete warehouse management in the company as well as the batch tracking required for the printing of food packaging.
Today it is impossible for the company to imagine day-to-day operations without the app. First the inks were tracked, then a whole range of additional products such as varnishes, dampening solution additives, rubber coatings, but also oil, filter mats, rake lips, Vaseline and coating defoamers were added. The same goes for plate developers in prepress. Currently, 74 items are integrated into the warehouse management system.
Readily accepted among press operators
The ProductionApp is simple and easy to use. Even Schur Pack’s non-smartphone users in the 50+ age group feel comfortable using the app. As soon as the smartphone is held over an NFC tag in the warehouse or at the press, the camera scans the code or corresponding field for entries. All data is recorded as it is delivered which has greatly increased acceptance. The press crew also sees the app as a great help as it is no longer necessary to write down the products used.
Schur Pack Germany currently has 121 NFC tags in use. Around 80 tags are at the presses and around 40 are in the warehouse. This number is still rising significantly in the warehouse. In addition to the products already listed, the company expects a great deal more to be integrated into the process.
The same tags are used for some products. The best example of this are the company’s some 3,000 inks that are managed on a single day of storage. It is possible to track them as the name of the product is also read along with the batch number.
Use of commercially available smartphones
Schur Pack Germany currently uses five Samsung S6 with Qi charging technology for warehouse management and batch tracking. One at each press, one in the warehouse and one in department manager‘s office. In future, a mobile phone is to be stationed at each storage location. The devices do not belong to certain individuals as they are located in specific places.
Michael Verch, head of printing at Schur Pack Germany, is thrilled: “€300 per phone is cheaper than any barcode scanner.“ He aims to purchase a simple Tablet PC for around €200 to have a permanent overview of inventory with all live data available at his desk.
The advantages of the ProductionApp can clearly be seen in the inventory statistics. The manufacturer’s e-mail address for each product can be stored by Schur Pack Germany. When a minimum stock level is reached, not only does the central purchasing department receive information, but the supplier can also receive advance information on what needs to be delivered in the near future. “That is the most impressive thing for me,” says Verch. “Especially as which other MIS system alerts me that there is only 10kg of coating left in stock.” And all this also works with 100 different suppliers and is easy to set up.
Pre- and post-tracking of consumables
What is more, the shelf life and usability of each article can be determined. Automatic pre- and post batch tracking is also possible. This is more than just a simple assignment of the consumables used for the respective print jobs. For example, if Schur Pack changes from black to yellow in a printing unit, there is still some black in the press when printing begins. For the next 30,000 sheets of intensive ink colour, the company needs to know which colour was previously used in the inking unit. Here the app’s statistics are clearly superior as the entry time can go over several orders. This is easy to set up in the ProductionApp and using slips of paper to keep track of the inks used is just not practical in a real pressroom environment, says Schur Pack Germany.
Especially when printing food packaging, the ProductionApp allows exact information on the inks, coatings, printing aids and other consumables used to be retrieved at the touch of a button. This provides reassurance for manufacturers and retailers as well as for consumers.