The world’s most modern snack factory is located in Riihimäki. The new factory adds to Valio’s competitiveness in the international market, and helps the company achieve its goals for environmental friendliness and product development.
Leanware delivered a material management system tailored to the requirements of the factory as well as a database for analytics. By designing the factory and its operations to be as efficient as possible, Valio has been able to make ecological improvements to its production and raise its competitiveness.
“The new factory and its modern technology help us harness all of our product development knowhow, and this can, of course, be seen as new, delicious and innovative products for our customers. These are made possible by our new factory,” says Valio’s Planning Manager Jarno Pajunen.
The factory’s material management focused on flow efficiency and traceability from material receival right to picking at dispatch. The system is based on LeanwareWMS, which manages material flows with warehouse automation, conveyors, robots and at the manual warehouse.
“At the factory, material flows are efficient, because the production of products is straightforward without unnecessary intermediate phases. This way raw materials used for the manufacture of products, packing material and finished products flow seamlessly from one phase to another without any extra handling,” says Pajunen.
Leanware’s Business Director Ville Keskinen also says he is very pleased with the outcome of the cooperation:
“Valio’s Riihimäki factory is a special source of pride for us. It is a highly automated, safe and energy efficient factory, the kind of which we have never before realized. It was our honor to be part of the optimization of the factory’s material management. Valio is a Finnish top company, and our cooperation further improves their competency in the export market. It is Leanware’s vision to make Finnish companies the most competitive in the world, and the cooperation with Valio was yet another step in the right direction.”
A highly automated system makes receiving, warehousing and product dispatch straightforward. User friendliness can be seen in how the WMS accurately guides the user through the necessary phases to execute the required operations.
Receiving is one of the most important operations for the WMS: there the location and amount information of all of the warehouse’s items are transferred to the WMS. With the WMS’s guidance, the user warehouses the jam containers to the automation warehouse and the other products, such as packing materials, to the shelves of the pallet warehouse. The WMS plans the optimum use of the shelf space so that the warehouse is used as efficiently as possible. This way, the efficiency of warehousing is not left to the user, and they don’t have to waste time in their busy schedule to think about it.
The caps used for the cartons are delivered to production automatically using the cap feeding machine. The WMS monitors the usage degree of the machine based on production management’s alarms, and delivers the information to the user on screen, when it is time to refill the feeding machine with caps. Monitoring eliminates unnecessary checks and prevents production stops caused by an empty feeding machine.
Packing materials used for production, such as cartons, cups and caps are hygienized and warehoused in a hygienic intermediate warehouse before production. The WMS orders the necessary materials to be hygienized and guides the user in doing the necessary operations and transfers in order to keep the warehouse balances at the desired level. The system has enabled the streamlining of this critical process, and improve on its part the product safety, which is important for the company’s reputation.
When the WMS receives an order for the required jam containers from the factory automation, the jam containers are delivered to the production point automatically. The WMS guides the retrieval and return of the jam container from the warehouse to the production point and back, and it maintains information on the jam container’s level based on the messages of the production management. This streamlines the production process, and supports the resource-efficient use of material.
The WMS guides the movements of the storage machine by bringing the correct shelf level in the reach of the picker, and guides the employee in picking the necessary materials from the right place. If the required materials are not in the storage machine, the WMS creates the necessary transfer requests for the intermediate warehouse’s forklift for the delivery of the material. The WMS guided operations speed up the refilling of packing material into the machines and improve picking accuracy.
When end products are finished by production and are ready for dispatch, the factory automation notifies the WMS of the finished products, their amount as well as the pallet they are stored on. The WMS controls the filling of the cooling warehouse in such a way that the warehouse can be used safely and optimally in an energy efficient way.
When the time comes that the products need to leave the cooling warehouse, the user orders the desired units using the WMS automatically/manually. The WMS measures the temperature of the units, gives the conveyor the order to move them for marking and tells the automation the information needed for packing labels. After this, the WMS guides the labelled units to be moved either to an intermediate warehouse or directly to a truck waiting at the loading bay.
Pallets shipped from the warehouse are also picked using a forklift with the guidance of the WMS and are moved to a truck waiting at the loading bay.