FISCHER FIXING SYSTEMS: MOVING FORWARD WITH THE WORKFORCE - CHANGE COMMUNICATION AT THE GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

Klaus Moeller, Julian Gabel, Frank Bertagnolli
InSITE 2016  •  2016  •  pp. 916
[This paper is published in the Journal of Information Technology Education: Discussion Cases, Volume 5]

The investment decision was made last year, and after a time-consuming selection process and intensive negotiations, the contract with the general contractor was signed. The business segment Fixing systems of the fischer group of companies faced a significant investment in its logistics – the development of automation technology in the Global Distribution Center (GDC). According to the project schedule, the transition to the automated small parts storage with shuttle technology would take place in December of this year. It was mid-April, and therefore the right time for the Head of Logistics of the business segment fischer Fixing systems, Matthias Wehle, to describe the current status: Were all the important milestones achieved and would the subsequent steps ensure a smooth transition? The employees in the logistics got accustomed to changes over the years. Structural changes such as the introduction of SAP R/3 in early 2000 and the establishment of the automated high-bay warehouse in 2008 had been successfully implemented. It was the same with the continuous improvement process through the use of the fischerProzessSystem fPS. The introduction of pick-by-light technology for the picking of small sized products with high demand had worked well, too. But the last staff meeting about launch of the shuttle system had left with him a feeling of uncertainty. He could already feel the spirit of optimism from some of the employees triggered by the upcoming introduction of the new system. The majority, however, listened patiently and Mr. Wehle sensed insecurity among the employees – how does this change affect me? Up until now, management had used multiple channels to communicate information to the employees. But feedback from the workforce to those in charge was rather rare. And the logistics manager remembered that the use of pick-by-voice for picking had been stopped for a number of reasons. Now as a result of the largest investment in recent years, the GDC faced a drastic operational change. With this in mind, Mr. Wehle pondered over the issue of employee communication again and again. And they had eight more months in order to take action until December…
change management, communication concept, order picking technology, warehouse logistics
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