The AWION system
Warehouse management par excellence

Powered by Rhenus Warehousing Digital Solutions


AWION is a genuine in-house development by our IT specialists at Rhenus Warehousing Digital Solutions. Both national and international customers benefit from its innovative logistics process solutions in the automotive, pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer goods and retail industries. They all rely on the availability and stability as well as the strong support of our application for round-the-clock operation. Building on this robust foundation, we always succeed in meeting the individual needs of our partners in a way that ensures long-term support and further development. Depending on the requirements, AWION offers various forms of access for users, as well as access to other systems: PickByVision, PickByVoice and conveyor techniques, multilingual user interfaces, web service connections, SAP interfaces, XML formats (according to EDIFACT standard, but also individually agreed upon).

The AWION success story has been going on for 20 years now and there is still no end in sight because the range of functions is continuously being further developed. For this purpose, we rely on the input of our key users from the operational units – what they provide in terms of requirements is translated into detailed concepts by our experienced system architects and then precisely implemented by our development teams.


The Lascana example: AWION projects are so individual

Lascana is an international manufacturer and retailer of lingerie, swimwear and beachwear. The company is headquartered in Hamburg and belongs to the Otto Group. To enable Lascana to deliver goods via a new warehouse at short notice, we used the AWION standard to create a special interim solution within a short implementation period. The final project phase then involved automating the processes developed in AWION by connecting a fully automated shuttle warehouse.

 

From planning to implementation

  • Step 1: We set up an interdisciplinary team – consisting of (partial) project managers, logistics engineers, key users on the customer side, AWION developers and external partners. The first item on the agenda: agreeing on and consistently applying a reliable project management method – the responsible project manager acts as a central point of contact for all relevant project information. In a kick-off meeting, everyone involved got to know each other and developed a common understanding of the project.
  • Step 2: The customer as well as our logistics engineers and key users defined all logistical requirements of the project so that our AWION developers could fully concentrate on their technical tasks. Extending across projects, the task was to match customer requirements with the possibilities of the AWION standard and to find out whether individual software components had to be created by the AWION developers. WEB-based tools are used to plan and control the tasks and to document the solution. Defining work packages and milestones is done agilely, together with the logistics engineers.
  • Step 3: A special challenge in the Lascana project was the connection of the external software Selektron, which controls the fully automated shuttle warehouse. It represents the integrative component of the picking processes in the warehouse. In order for our system to really make a difference, we coordinated the interaction between Selektron and AWION down to the last bit with the external partner and defined all the necessary interfaces.
  • Step 4: The developed processes are tested by our logistics engineers and key users. Regular feedback gives us the opportunity to optimise the software solution again and again in small nuances. Here, the Lascana project required a high degree of imagination and inventiveness, similar to developing a video game. This is because the tests between AWION and Selektron took place without any real, physical movement of goods – the actual construction of the shuttle warehouse did not take place until later in the project.
  • Step 5: After completion of the test phase, the interim solution was replaced by the fully automated solution with the shuttle warehouse in a second GoLive. This exciting phase showed how the software moves the hardware – thanks to our interim solution, goods could continue to be delivered even during the extensive changeover. Today, Lascana’s operational units can use AWION to schedule massive quantities of orders for processing in the warehouse every day and prepare them for shipment to their external customers in a targeted manner.

 

Perfect interaction: How one wheel meshes with the other

As you can see, there are quite a few different programmes and tools involved here – but our IT professionals have them all easily under control, so that we have already been able to successfully roll out the new platform features in several countries. The mobile handling of the application has now been significantly improved, and even more customers are using the option to assign delivery dates to themselves. This is just one indication that we have been able to increase customer satisfaction in general. It is also now possible to generate additional sales through effective upselling – last but not least, we have created the technical prerequisites on numerous levels to expand the platform step by step in the future. And who knows, maybe your input will already be included in the next upgrade.

 

Challenges and successes at a glance

What challenged our IT?

  • Providing an AWION intermediate solution for business processing without automation technology.
  • Comprehensive, complex software development for the Value Adding Services (VAS) area.
  • Integration of the fully automated shuttle warehouse into the existing interim solution – during ongoing operations without project interruption.
  • Creation of a large number of customer-specific print documents (the right delivery bill for the right package) – including transaction-specific control from AWION.

What did our IT achieve?

  • The interim solution was provided quickly – in conjunction with a suitable warehouse structure – so that the first goods could be collected and stored.
  • The early involvement of the key users generated high levels of identification; they were directly familiar with AWION.
  • Stable communication between AWION and Selektron from the beginning as a result of a careful process and interface design – in combination with regular reviews.
  • Focused development of customised solutions due to the numerous configuration options and functions in AWION.
  • Easy integration of new technologies or external systems due to AWION’s flexible software architecture.

 

The best development opportunities: How you can get started at Rhenus

The example of Lascana shows just one of many software solutions that we have already realised with AWION for new and existing customers. This results in exciting challenges and a lot of freedom for you as a software developer: you can bring user interfaces for desktop applications and mobile devices to life, create the perfect interface connection or tackle the integration of material flow systems. Your development will directly improve the user experience of our operational units. Whatever you choose, we welcome you to a friendly community with agile teams and experienced professionals who are always ready to assist you. Do you feel like actively shaping the next quantum leaps between logistics and IT at Rhenus? Well, go for it!