Breaking new ground with Kubota.
Kubota Tractor Corporation
Agricultural Equipment & Heavy Machinery
Kubota is a leading global manufacturing company with headquarters in Osaka, Japan. Kubota produces a wide range of products including tractors, construction equipment, sewage systems and other machinery products. Over the past 130 years, Kubota has been striving for technical excellence to achieve its goals for sustainability— “For Earth, For Life”.
Laying the foundation for a logistic park.
Considering the 10-year growth vision in the North America market, Kubota invested in 200 acres for a new logistic park in Kansas and selected SAP Extended Warehouse Management as the warehouse management system. The system would be built to support two 1-million square-foot distribution centers, designated for Kubota’s Whole Goods and Service Parts businesses. The digitalization of such a large-scale logistic park will enable Kubota to continuously expand into newer markets and achieve a competitive customer service level while steadily ramping up the capacity to facilitate growing market demands.
Top-class innovation for ambitious objectives.
The main challenges of the implementation lay in the vast scope of business processes while maintaining balance between warehouse operations design and EWM best practices.
The diversity in business processes is foremost determined by the fact that the two business divisions, Whole Goods and Service Parts, are essentially different businesses and have distinct warehouse layouts and functions. The Whole Goods warehouse primarily stores large equipment and accessories and includes a large assembly line. The core EWM design for Whole Goods needed to address fluid bulk storage, serialization, production integration and primarily Full-Truckload (FTL) driven outbound processes. The Service Parts warehouse has more than 70,000 SKUs, varying from bonnet to bolt, and operates full-fledged inbound & outbound packing centers while shipping parts predominantly through parcels and Less-Than-Truckload (LTL). The core EWM design for Service Parts needed to address various receiving, sorting, value-added services, wave planning and pick, pack & ship optimization.
We’re very confident to run the EWM warehouse at our own capacity shortly after the go-live.
Logistics Director, Kubota
The Kubota EWM project is truly greenfield. The project team was onboard around the time of the groundbreaking for the new logistic park. The Westernacher team had to design EWM solutions for two essentially non-existing warehouses and ensure the system processes supported ambitious business objectives in the future. The existing warehouses provided no context for the EWM project. The warehouse had been designed 10+ years ago, and supported business volumes that would equate to roughly 50% of the scale of the new warehouses. Given the central role of the two new distribution centers, the Westernacher team had no option but to deliver a top-class warehouse management system that was all encompassing, fitting to the new business perspective.
Big picture design from layout to deployment.
Westernacher assembled a strong task force for Kubota with two sub-teams focusing on Whole Goods and Service Parts respectively, with a shared “command center”, which included a warehouse layout architect, an EWM architect and a project manager. This organizational structure allowed Westernacher to cover the end-to-end service from layout design to EWM deployment and ensured full alignment between operations design and EWM solutions. Additionally, the solution architect oversaw the design across the two business divisions and optimized the deployment effort by sharing EWM functionalities between the solutions.
The Westernacher “Q-methodology” was employed in the Kubota project and safeguarded the quality of the delivery. The Q-methodology embraces the use of both agile and waterfall methodologies. In a nutshell, the Q-methodology encourages thorough discussions on “big-picture” design to have business processes fully validated before any configuration or code is put in place. The delivery of the solutions is nonetheless driven by sprints, making sure essential features are addressed timely and accurately with users while the solution is being developed. With such a large functional scope, the solutions have proven “fit” with minimum-to-zero rework effort. The highly engaging approach helped steer the changes throughout the project and empowered Kubota project members to run their warehouses on EWM literally from Day 1.
We are able to knock down large receiving for imported parts as fast as 50 minutes, which used to take up to a few days.
Warehouse Manager at Service Parts, Kubota
Sophisticated solution with a long-term vision.
In terms of the solution design, the Westernacher team adhered to proven best practices from both EWM and warehouse operations standpoints. The new business processes are run on standard EWM with highly efficient digital solutions enabled by the Westernacher accelerators. At Whole Goods, EWM has achieved a full visibility of inventory and goods movements in the warehouse while streamlining the production supply to the assembly line. At Service Parts, EWM has provided system-directed operations for highly complex warehouse processes, optimizing the put-away, picking, packing and consolidation processes with the use of a sophisticated algorithm for workload planning and dispatching. The warehouse manager at Service Parts said: “We are able to knock down large receiving for imported parts as fast as 50 minutes, which used to take up to a few days.” In the end, the EWM implementation caters to the long-term business vision at Kubota, equipping the warehouses with the capability of handling the demand not only for today, but also the future.
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