WinSped boosts efficiency

WinSped boosts efficiency

Friedrich von Lien AG optimises its processes with LIS software

Nowadays, no house is built without profiles. The L-shaped, T-shaped, Z-shaped, U-shaped, trapezoidal or sinusoidal elements play an important role in the stability, impermeability and aesthetics of modern buildings. Friedrich von Lien AG from Zeven in Lower Saxony specialises in profiles of all kinds. The family-run company has been selling the parts that are so important for construction since 1959, and has even been producing them itself since 2009. To ensure that the moulded elements arrive at the construction sites on time, the company also maintains its own fleet of vehicles. The entire DACH region and the Benelux countries are supplied. To manage transport as effectively as possible, Friedrich von Lien AG recently started using the tried-and-tested solutions from LIS GmbH in Greven. The central component of the new IT system is the TMS WinSped.

Construction schedules are intricate structures that are carefully sequenced. Many jobs can only be carried out when others have been completed. A distortion at one point therefore often results in displacements at another. Meeting delivery deadlines is therefore a top priority for Friedrich von Lien AG from Zeven in Lower Saxony. Against this background, optimised transport planning is essential. Accordingly, the industrial distributor of roof and wall profiles has been planning its tours with the support of software for years. However, the provider recently discontinued support for this. “We were suddenly faced with the question of which system we wanted to work with in the future,” explains Siegmund Spijksma-Oest, IT administrator at Friedrich von Lien AG.

Two key requirements in this context were established early on: Firstly, the new system should not be a cloud-based application, but secondly one that covers as many areas as possible – from order management to route planning and fleet management through to document management. In other words: The company was looking for a high-performance, permanently installable complete solution that also had interfaces to the other applications of the north German family business. “We wanted to avoid complex customised programming for the connection of our merchandise management system and our warehouse management software,” says Spijksma-Oest. Another must for the profile specialist: The new solution should be customisable. “This point was particularly important for us because we are not just a logistics company, but ultimately a manufacturer with our own fleet of vehicles. Many of our procedures and processes differ from those of a normal haulage company. For example, our vehicles always return from deliveries empty,” explains Spijksma-Oest.

As part of the selection process, they quickly ended up with LIS and WinSped. The decisive factors were not only the widespread use of the system and its modular structure, which allows additional modules and components to be added at any time, but also the personal contact, comprehensive advice and service.

The importance of the latter points in particular was demonstrated during the implementation of the new scheduling software. “Over the course of time, we have added numerous customisations and special requests, all of which we were able to implement in close coordination with the LIS product manager responsible for us,” reports Spijksma-Oest. Among other things, it was subsequently decided to implement WinSped customs processing. The collaboration with the Westphalian software manufacturer has run smoothly throughout the entire period “on both a professional and a human level”. The family business has even been able to make many minor changes to the specified procedures and processes itself with the help of the scripting engine. “We are now running scripts that have more than 400 lines. That says it all. In this way, we are gradually automating the entire system,” reports Spijksma-Oest.

The result is convincing: The feedback from the dispatchers is consistently positive. On the one hand, because WinSped with its graphical user interface is considerably more user-friendly than the previously used system. “If our colleagues used to plan the last tours on Saturday morning, they are now finished by Friday morning at the latest. The result is a time saving of roughly 40 per cent,” reports Spjiksma-Oest. On the other hand, route planning at Friedrich von Lien AG is now much more efficient thanks to the powerful algorithms of the LIS software. “You have to realise that one delivery consists of up to 99 orders. This makes any planning a complicated puzzle, which WinSped naturally solves much faster and better than humans can.” The result: The number of tours to be travelled has been significantly reduced.

The time saved during customs clearance is also considerable. With the software previously used for this purpose, the processing of six or seven deliveries to Switzerland usually took a full eight-hour working day. This can now be done in three, maximum four hours. “Of course, we expected an efficiency gain from the outset. But we didn’t expect it to be this high.” In fact, the introduction of WinSped has enabled the family business to streamline and improve its processes and workflows to such an extent that the scheduling department can now also control production. This means that Friedrich von Lien AG no longer produces anything that is not also on tour. “Since then, produced goods have been on our shelves for four days at most before they are delivered,” says Spijksma-Oest. “In this respect, we are really very satisfied.”


About Friedrich von Lien AG

Founded: 1959

Seat: Zeven, Lower Saxony

Number of Employee 350

Vehicle fleet: 21 tractor units