Bizerba offers customers in the trade, commerce, industry and logistics sectors a globally unique solution portfolio consisting of hardware and software around the central variable “weight”. The range includes products and solutions for cutting, processing, weighing, cashing, checking, commissioning and labelling. Consulting, service, labels, consumables and leasing complete the solution spectrum. The headquarters of the group of companies, which has been family-run for five generations and has around 4,100 employees worldwide, is Balingen in Baden-Württemberg. Further production facilities are in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, China and the USA. Bizerba also maintains a worldwide network of sales and service locations in 120 countries worldwide.
Over the years a very diversified IT system landscape has developed at Bizerba. In addition to SAP ERP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a self-developed solution for field service, this includes numerous special applications.
“However, we in IT did not catch on fast enough if something was not running properly somewhere – whether, for example, an application error occurred or a data transfer between the systems was interrupted. We could only become active when a user opened a ticket – and then had to chase after the issues. We wanted to change that,”
explains Christian Leins, head of software development at Bizerba. Leins was not interested in classic IT monitoring of CPU utilisation and similar performance data:
“I wanted to know what was running – and what wasn’t – based on data in various application databases. Using log file analyses, I also wanted to see directly where an application or an interface has an error. Only in this way can we not only take quick action, but also continuously optimize systems and processes.”
But Leins was not the only one who wanted more insight: The logistics department at one of the Bizerba locations had the idea of equipping forklift trucks with a touch screen, via which the forklift driver can display information from different systems – for example about orders.
Leins rejected the idea of self-development as well as the use of powerful solutions – instead he was enthusiastic about Peakboard, an all-in-one solution for simple corporate digital signage. “We knew the development qualities of the team behind Peakboard through its former holding company Theobald Software, from which we use ERPConnect,” explains Leins. “It was clear that behind Peakboard lies IT intelligence and competence. After a free trial I was really impressed by the straightforward creation of the dashboards”.
A first IT management dashboard was ready to run quickly – after only eight hours the head of software development could see how things were going at Bizerba in terms of applications and data transfers.
Leins received professional and committed help in the further development of the solution from Peakboard. According to Leins the support works perfectly:
“When I write an email, a qualified answer is usually available within half an hour.”
In the meantime, three Peakboard Boxes are in use at Bizerba: The IT management dashboard runs in Lein’s office.
“I always have an eye on the running applications and interfaces. This is also very practical when talking to my employees – we can immediately discuss who must take care of which issue. We also see directly how many tickets are open, which new tickets have been added, whether they are errors or requests. It’ s all always there – in real-time. I don’t have to retrieve the information first, I receive the information on different screens at any time.”
The forklift information dashboard visualizes SAP, counter and webcam data. In defined cycles, the forklift driver is shown when he must empty containers, for example, at which point in production. The quantity of orders or which articles must be put into and removed from storage is also displayed. Via a live stream from the webcam on the delivery ramp he can see when a truck arrives and can drive to the ramp immediately. In addition, supervisors or production employees can send messages to the forklift driver. “We used Peakboard’s integrated web service for the implementation in the form of a small application,” adds Leins.
Another “case for Peakboard” resulted from a lean management initiative of a site: Peakboard displays in the production hall via a large, centrally located monitor how many minutes a production step may take before the workpiece is moved to the next workstation. The remaining time is indicated by color shading. The total output, the error rate, the weekly schedule and the daily routine are also displayed. Supervisors can control the display via centrally stored Excel files, which Peakboard accesses at intervals of a few minutes. If, for example, a machine failure occurs, the time display can be paused simply by clicking the mouse.
Bizerba already has plans for further Peakboard scenarios. For example, a complete production line at one of the Bizerba locations from incoming goods to outgoing goods will be visualized with Peakboard. The technical support will use Peakboard for team management, data from the call centre system, CRM and the field service information system will be displayed here. Another Peakboard Box will be used for spare parts preparation. The visualization of various SAP data, such as goods issues, is also on the idea list.