Tag Archive | "Ferdinand Bilstein"

FERDINAND BILSTEIN TO OPEN NEW SITE

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FERDINAND BILSTEIN TO OPEN NEW SITE


New site will go live in January

Component supplier Ferdinand Bilstein has confirmed that warehouses in both Kent and Yorkshire will close as the firm relocates logistics to a new purpose built facility at the Markham Vale industrial complex. In responses to questions asked by CAT, the company confirmed that the closures ‘will unfortunately lead to redundancies’. However, 140 jobs will be created at the new site (see panel for the firm’s complete response).

The switch-on date for the highly automated facility is January 2018, with full operation of both Febi and Blue Print brands expected by the last quarter of the year. Head Office functions such as HR, finance and purchasing will remain in Kent.

A facility owned by Bilstein Group in Ennepetal, Germany, features a large ‘dark warehouse’ automated stock and picking system installed by Witron Integrated Logistics. A similar system is being installed at the new site.

Ferdinand Bilstein UK changed its name from Automotive Distributors Ltd (ADL) in early 2015, following the acquisition of ADL by Ferdinand Bilstein GmbH+Co (now known as Bilstein Group) in 2011.

Q & A: FERDINAND BILSTEIN

1) What date is the Markham Vale set to go live/open its doors for service?

Markham Vale will ‘go-live’ and be operational from January 2018. Blue Print stock will move in first, followed by Febi a few months later. However, full operation of both brands at the site will be from Q3/Q4 of 2018.

2) Have the previous Kent and Yorkshire operations already closed down? When did/will they roll down the shutters for good?

No, the offices in Kent will remain open, and so functions such as HR, Finance, Product Management, Purchasing, IT and Marketing will continue to run on this site. However, the warehouses in Kent will close during the first quarter of 2018. The Yorkshire operations will close during the later months of 2018.

3) What prompted the move to the Derbyshire business park?

Ferdinand Bilstein UK Ltd wanted to improve its efficiency and logistics capabilities in order to improve customer service. The site in Derbyshire proved a fantastic opportunity, with its central location offering excellent transport links just off junction 29a of the M1, as well as close proximity to customers.

4) Have or will there be any redundancies from the transition over to the new premises? If so, how many are expected?

The warehouses at the Kent site will close, and this will unfortunately lead to redundancies. However, we are working closely with training organisations, recruitment agencies and other local businesses to help staff find new positions in the local area. Staff in both Kent and Yorkshire have been offered the chance to relocate.

5) For those who have been kept on, will they maintain their original roles or take on a different one within the company?

Staff who have chosen to make the move to Markham Vale will be able to maintain their original roles and responsibilities from the new site, and some will be offered the chance to develop further, to fill the new requirements at the site with the installation of new technology and systems. Training will be offered to staff who wish to learn these new skills. Staff who are remaining in Kent will retain their current roles.

6) What does the Markham Vale site comprise of?

Markham Vale is to become our main distribution centre. With this in mind, the 14.4 acres site is largely taken up by a 215,000 square foot, state of the art warehouse, complete with manual racking and semi-automated machinery – the Order Picking system. There are offices upstairs, meeting rooms and a canteen.

There is a reception area to greet visitors to the site. There is also a garden space outside of reception to provide a break from the office or warehouse during lunch. And a large carpark. A lot of time and effort was put into the planning stages to ensure the site had the best facilities for our staff.

7) There are currently up to 140 jobs at the Markham Vale site. When are you expecting to get all these positions filled and the new employees into the warehouse?

A recruitment open day was held on 14th October attended by 600 people to let people see the new building/site and what we have to offer them. The warehouse roles will be filled from October until the beginning of next year, allowing time for training before the site is operational in January. Once the site is fully operational, more job opportunities are likely to become available in the offices as well as the warehouse, as the site grows.

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BILSTEIN GROUP TO HOST RECRUITMENT EVENT

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BILSTEIN GROUP TO HOST RECRUITMENT EVENT


Distribution centre is now completed

German parts maker Ferdinand Bilstein is holding a recruitment open day, taking place at its Markham Vale plant on Saturday 14th October.

The event will run from 10am until 16:00pm where potential employees will be given a tour of its new distribution centre in North-East Derbyshire, plus a rundown of all the job opportunities available on site.

The component manufacturer said up to 140 jobs will be up for grabs with full training provided to  candidates that make the cut.

For those interested in attending should get in touch with a member of the Bilstein team as soon as possible through the company website.

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PICKING THE WAY OF THE FUTURE

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PICKING THE WAY OF THE FUTURE


We visit a fully automatic logistics hub in Germany

You can’t read a press release in 2017 without mentally editing out buzzwords such as ‘lean’, ‘just in time’ and ‘finding efficiencies’and in some ways you can see why. In these times of giant trading groups and service in which next day delivery might as well be a month, if your business involves pushing boxes, then you need to find the best way to do it.

For the Ferdinand Bilstein Group in Germany this meant automation. While it is based on or around the site on which it was founded in Victorian times, there is nothing old fashioned about the firm’s main logistics hub in Ennepetal, Germany as it features a huge and fully automatic plant building to store and push out in the region of 130,00 SKUs every day.

Efficiency was clearly the deciding factor when the firm chose to build an automated warehouse, but it is also worth noting that Ennepetal is very hilly so physically building a manual-pick warehouse with the capacity that the firm needs would be very difficult as a great deal of extra land is needed to make up for the lack of height.

A deal was done with a firm called Witron Integrated Logistics Corp., headquartered in Parkstein, Germany to develop and act as contractor to build, commission and maintain the hardware, known as Automated Storage and Retrival Systems. This wasn’t the first venture for Bilstein Group with Witron as a smaller operation had been commissioned elsewhere on the Ennepetal site a few years previously. That first project was a four-aisle tote (as the crates that are used on such systems are known) picking solution proved to be extremely successful and is still in operation.

Given the success of the first project, the new machinery was ordered and put into commission around five years after the first.

EXPERIENCE
It is one thing to describe an automatic warehouse on paper, but it is entirely different to see it running in front of your eyes. As you can see in the stats, the main part of the warehouse is much higher than is usual, as there is no need for regular fork lift trucks because robotic cranes are built in to each aisle and can access each tote location as quickly and as easily as finding a cell on a spreadsheet. There can be no people inside the aisles while the machine is running – indeed there can’t be because an automatic stop is built into a high metal gate that prevents anyone getting too near the hardware. This meant that the robots can run at very high speed in safety across the grid of 227,000 double-deep tote locations.

Pallets come to the picker

Another point to note is the lights – or lack of them. These installations are often referred to as ‘dark warehouses’ because there is no need for artificial light, and in this case the large storage space really does look like night. An algorithm dictates the location of each tote-contained item and this will be automatically updated if the order frequency changes for example. There is no need for human intervention.

Alongside the tote picking machinery, there is a row of machines dealing with palletised storage. Using a similar logic system, there is room for some 61,000 pallets also stored double deep.

After the robot has selected the pallets, they roll on conveyors to modular packing stations known as ‘pick to light’. A (human) picker takes the number of items displayed on a lightbar in front of them out of the pallet. They then push a button and the pallet rolls away for the machine to take it back to its storage location, while the next pallet is dispatched to the picker.

PACKING KIT
Another major part of the business is repacking bulk products into kits – timing belt kits, for example. As anyone who as ever been on the tools will testify, there is nothing more annoying than finding at the critical point that there is an incorrect or missing part from the kit. At Bilstein, automation has meant that this is all but impossible as the system weighs each kit for any discrepancies. There’s no need for the workers to go rummaging around for the parts needed to make each kit either, as the tote-picking machines mentioned earlier deliver all the crates needed to a number of stations in a process known as ‘goods to person’. After picking the items needed, the product tote zooms away on the rollers, to be followed by the next tote until the order is complete.

There is much more that could be written about the details of an automated warehouse, and this is only a brief insight as we saw and understood the machinery – undoubtedly a representative of the company could do a much better job of explaining it’s intricacies. Fortunately, you may get to see a similar system in the UK as Bilstein Group has commissioned similar equipment to be installed at its new project under construction in Markham Vale. We look forward to bringing you the full details soon.

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FERDINAND BILSTEIN ACQUIRES KM AUTO TECHNIK

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FERDINAND BILSTEIN ACQUIRES KM AUTO TECHNIK


Component company Ferdinand Bilstein will take over southern German clutch brand KM Auto Technik (KM), effective April 3, having acquired 100 percent of the firm. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Company bosses Karsten Schüssler-Bilstein and Jan Siekermann will lead future development and strategy of KM in Durmersheim. The KM brand itself will join febi, SWAG and Blue Print, which are already under the Bilstein Group umbrella. Integration of the newcomer is expected to be complete in 2018.

“KM is an established and successful brand for clutch technology. With its integration into the bilstein group, we will be able to offer our customers an even wider range of spare parts. KM’s partners will benefit in future from our additional services, our international presence and our efficient logistics processes,” said a joint statement from Schüssler-Bilstein and Siekermann.

KM was founded in 1988  by Robert Kary and Albert Mangler.

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FEBI WAREHOUSE NEARS COMPLETION

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FEBI WAREHOUSE NEARS COMPLETION


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Febi warehouse is almost completed

Building is nearing completion at Markham Vale for Blue Print’s new distribution centre, which on completion, could create up to 400 aftermarket jobs.

Parent company Ferdinand Bilstein UK’s new purpose-built centre is almost 213,000 sq ft, and is built as part of a large industrial estate that also contains the Andrew Page distribution centre. The whole area is built over former mine works and is part of a plan by local government to regenerate the area.

Initial building was completed in January, with racking and a witron system being installed over the first few months of 2017. On completion, the new site will replace the former the Bilstein operation in Pontefract.

Paul Dodgson, Operations Director at Ferdinand Bilstein UK, said: “We are excited about being part of this high profile development. Initial building has finished at the Markham Vale site and we look forward to seeing things progress”.

Commercial property builder Henry Boot Developments is building the centre.

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