Home Company Reference Fehrer Bohemia A complete change in warehouse logic has significantly...

A complete change in warehouse logic has significantly increased handling and capacity

Fehrer Bohemia s.r.o.


The Fehrer Bohemia plant in Liberec manufactures armrests for the vehicles of the world’s leading automakers. Every day it produces 20,000 units for 35 vehicle models, with the most complex of them containing nearly 150 components, and it has an incredible 580 variants.

In 2018 the plant reached an impasse: neither increasing the employee count nor buying new equipment could increase its efficiency. Fehrer Bohemia needed a qualitative change in the logic behind its new warehouse, towards the most comprehensive automation possible. They needed to increase production – but also the warehouse capacity. Fehrer added a new warehouse to their existing hall that was 10% larger than the original one. The need for increased warehouse positions and handling was, however, much larger; the required growth was a full 40%.

Besides gaining a smooth process for stocking our shop floor, we could also radically increase our discipline surrounding warehouse processes and practically eliminate human error. We were pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the processes they deployed. Our error minimisation thanks to their insight and the transformation of our thought and work processes was later positively reflected in our yearly inventory.

Jiří Černohorský, at the time Director SCM Fehrer Group



Project goals

Besides raising the number of handling actions and warehouse positions by 40% while growing warehouse space by just 10%, Fehrer also needed to transform the warehouse’s logic without interrupting its operations. All new processes had to be hooked into the existing SAP solution, which placed large demands on the flexibility of the new logistics management system.

During the new system’s deployment, the system for supplying production was changed as well; it now emphasises the minimisation of handling equipment movements in the production hall. The deployment also included a switch from forklifts to supplying using a logistics train. A requirement for connecting the new equipment to SAP ERP – the group standard – clearly pointed towards warehouse semi-automation, as this would enable optimisation of loads on the key storage spaces and equipment. But for the automation to work correctly, they needed to completely restructure their logistics processes and also choose the right equipment and IT infrastructure for controlling logistics operations.


Specifics before project implementation

  • Overall plant space 51,000 m² (production 10,100 m², warehouse 4,300 m²)
  • Production capacity 20,000 armrest units per day
  • Handling Activities per Day: GLT 2,074; KLT 4,197
  • 5,486 warehouse positions


Aimtec’s solution: SappyWMS and Sappy Bridge

The needs of the Fehrer Bohemia plant were covered using a combination of products providing modular pre-packaged solutions customised for Fehrer’s needs. The individual modules were custom-assembled for the customer in terms of both defined processes and the equipment used, such as VNA trucks and scanners. The use of Sappy Bridge has enabled for example communication between SAP and their VNA trucks – which the standard SAP system does not offer. Communication thus takes place between SAP and a serial port.

The result is partial warehouse automation that covers a large portion of the plant’s processes using modern warehouse technologies. These are controlled automatically over SAP and can thus respond instantly to a change in the supply plan for the production hall. Work organisation is handled through a work queue, divided into specific queues shown on the scanners and the VNA truck’s displays. This minimises human error.

Read more:

How to Automate Warehouse Processes with VNA: The General Prerequisites

More and more often warehouse halls contain VNA (Very Narrow Aisle) forklifts that zip through aisles all on their own, or in semi-automatic mode. But before they can do that, you need to integrate them into their surroundings properly. We have a few tips on how to approach it.

New technologies


Specifics after project implementation

  • A 40% increase in handling operations per day, both for KLTs (from 4,197 to 5,879) and for GLTs (from 2,074 to 2,905)
  • A 40% increase in storage points (from 5,486 to 8,000)
  • 17 racks with a stacking height of 10.5 metres with semi-automatic VNA trucks
  • Newly Implemented Processes
    • High Runners: The work queue is divided up by package size between the forklift and the trains. The train loads up the high runners only; their target positions are along its route.
    • Reorganisation of Positions: Enables the freeing up of space by storing identical warehouse units based on a warehouse position’s capacity. Creates a work queue to be processed by VNA trucks.
    • Utilisation of positions’ capacity with regard for small/large GLTs: If an oversized package is stored on a shelf, it is then set for oversized packages only until its release, and vice-versa. This arrangement is fully supported through the automatic navigation of VNA trucks.


Level of automation

We introduced partial automation at Fehrer Bohemia’s Liberec plant, thanks to which all storage points are used to maximum capacity, and meanwhile the warehouse is controlled semi-automatically. This control consists e.g. in the linking of SAP with VNA trucks, wherein a truck automatically arrives at a set position and the warehouse worker confirms tasks performed by scanning an internal tag or a code from a pallet point. During loading and unloading, a forklift’s fork is automatically guided to raise the goods to the correct position. Work is automatically distributed equally among VNA trucks in real time. When there is a large surge in requests from production or for dispatching, the VNA trucks can be switched e.g. into solely their function for removal from storage. The automation also covers the reorganising and storing of small packages so as to attain the maximum possible warehouse capacity.

Benefits of automation


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