BWF Offermann, Waldenfels & Co. KG
The world's leading manufacturer of textile filter media uses apps to digitalise its merchandise management
What is the specific challenge?
An owner-managed company in its fifth generation, the BWF Group is a leading manufacturer of textile filter media for industrial dedusting, plastic profiles, technical needle felts and wool felts. With 1,800 employees at 15 production sites worldwide, the BWF Group sets international standards through innovation, expertise and commitment. To set an example in the field of digitalisation, the BWF Group was looking for a solution they could easily integrate at their various locations. Besides benefitting from process optimisation and increased efficiency, it was important to involve employees in this change and stoke excitement about the company's digital transformation.
Those working in goods dispatch and acceptance are required to carry out a lot of checks, controls and documentation processes daily. Until now, this process was done on pen and paper and relatively time consuming. During an incoming goods inspection, employees manually filled out forms and, for example, took additional photos with a digital camera to record any damage. Employees had to manually fill out forms during incoming goods inspection and take photos with a digital camera to record any damage. This meant delays before any further processing. Adding this information into a PC after meant even more work. Incoming goods were not immediately entered into the system and other departments were not automatically informed about the goods receipt.
What is the solution?
Today, BWF Group employees use 15 different smaps (self-built apps using smapOne) for process documentation and other areas of application. By using the smapOne modular app system, they significantly accelerated the documentation process and the incoming goods inspection. If goods arrive today, employees immediately start processing the form app. With the app they report the type and quantity of goods that arrived at the warehouse, what condition they are in and which storage space has been allocated for them. Documenting damage in the app is easy thanks to a photo function. After recording all data, it's then sent seamlessly to all relevant people with just a click and is ready for further processing.
What has improved?
The previous analogue and paper-based processes are now automated and digitally reproduced in the shortest possible time. Digital merchandise management, in turn, facilitates the workflow and encourages an agile way of working. The ability to scan barcodes also reduces sources of error. Instead of using a manually reviewed checklist to record loaded goods, employees now use barcodes to directly document what is loaded onto the trucks.
Additionally, the time needed for weekly stocktaking was reduced from 3 hours to 15 minutes thanks to automated data transfer and/or connection to employees' PCs.
How does digital transformation work in the company?
To test the added value of smapOne, the digital solution was first presented to the department heads. They started a test phase of 2 to 3 months with small project teams. Initially a bit sceptical, the employees quickly realised that the digitalisation would make daily work processes easier. After they started using the first app in practice, no one wanted to go back to pen and paper. The simplified and fast data collection, transfer and processing as well as the reduction of sources of error made it easy for employees to accept the apps. In the meantime, smapOne has become an integral part of the internal processes. The employees are motivated and regularly come up with new ideas for more apps that make everyone's working day easier.
"Even our oldest employee, who will soon be retiring, is enthusiastically using smaps," says Christian Halbritter, Supervisor Adjustment Department.