In Desio Lombardy, Lapp Italia works according to the example set by its German parent company: it sells and distributes products and solutions in the field of cable and connection technology throughout the country for a wide range of industrial applications. Most of the system solutions are manufactured by LAPP Sistemi Italia, the company’s own subsidiary with an ÖLFLEX CONNECT production facility: “Our actual business is to develop tailored products to meet the requirements of the companies that approach us,” explains Andrea Giubilei. Thereby it is particularly important to meet delivery deadlines in order to keep LAPP’s promise to always deliver products and services globally on time.

Therefore, in order to counter potential production downtimes, Giubilei and his team have to ensure that certain basic material for production is in stock at all times. This not only includes parts such as connectors and cables, which are obviously important but also products such as end sleeves or labels that are no less important for the successful handling of solutions. The just described is a costly affair, as keeping components and small parts within an optimal quantity range means far more for LAPP than the price of the material itself. Time and, above all, human resources need to be invested. This requires constant attention from the warehouse personnel in Desio. To ensure the minimum price, the required products must be ordered at the right time from the various suppliers. One particular challenge here is that the heterogeneity of the customised solutions makes the entire process even more complex. “We produce highly customised cables,” the production manager continues, “The start of a streamlining process was unavoidable, given the variety of product codes and suppliers we have to deal with”.

Accordingly, the Italian team had already tried to cope effectively with the huge workload. But what was the goal here? “To concentrate exclusively on our work,” explains Giubilei. In the end, he found the solution in a Japanese system that ensures seamless material supplies in manufacturing by control of material flow and production. “We had set up and managed a system internally based on the Kanban model.”

Unfortunately, this approach did not solve the problem entirely at the Italian subsidiary. “We were on the right path but the expenditure in working hours per employee seemed unjustified compared to the value of the parts, which was on average a few cents per piece,” explains Giubilei.

Therefore, a new solution had to be found. This came in the guise of RS ScanStock®, a service provided by the LAPP customer and industrial and electronic solutions supplier RS. The long-standing relationship between the two companies and the solid basis of trust made it easy to swap roles for the project.

The solution by RS is also based on the Kanban system. The service is not only able to cover the delivery, but also all management of the inventory adjustment process. From product selection to product order management and replenishment, in the future all steps for low-value and high turnover products are handled by RS employees. For LAPP’s Purchasing and Production department, this means an end to the process of juggling various contacts and therefore a huge time saving. This leaves more time to focus on more strategically important deliveries and tasks.

Andrea Giubilei, Produktionsleiter bei Lapp Sistemi Italia

The reduction to a single supplier also enables LAPP to save on pricing within the chain, since stock levels are aligned with LAPP’s customer demand. In concrete terms, this means that components are not replaced if they are not consumed. “With RS ScanStock®, we work with the certainty of the product being available whenever we need it,” stresses Giubilei. “Managing urgent stock levels between orders and reminders used to be disproportionately expensive and put us under pressure. Now our workflow is seamless and consistent.” But that’s not all, since the solution not only prevents waste but production downtimes due to insufficient material too. “We can cover ourselves with material if utilisation forecasts are higher or if we know that manufacturers have longer delivery times. The entire administration is delegated to RS, making everything much easier for us.”

In addition to all the benefits mentioned, the decision to use the RS ScanStock® solution confirms LAPP’s general focus on improving performance since further developments are to be involved in this project. According to Giubilei, the plan is to continue relying on RS ScanStock® for Kanban management of more strategic production material in the future. This will be the case, he explains, for connectors for LAPP’s cable harnesses for instance, in order to achieve greater benefits and thus increase the added value of the chosen solution. „The integration of RS ScanStock ® is also the result of our commitment to achieving peak performance in operations,” Giubilei concludes.