A heart for software and logistics

Published on in Company, Digitalization, Logistics of the future, Technology, Trends
3 minutes reading time

This blog post is all about intelligence: How intelligence found its way into software and logistics and the very important role that humans play. Our software interconnects and integrates everything from the ejector sensor at the autopicker in the warehouse to the greater optimization processes in value chains. Pulling the strings behind the scenes, it efficiently controls the flow of goods and ensures that the goods we ordered are in our hands as fast as possible.

What exactly does intelligence mean in our systems? What are the benefits for our customers? Where is the trend pointing in software and logistics?

Our colleagues have the answers to these questions and provide further interesting insights into our software world:

Bernd Stöger

After a career start in Software Engineering and working abroad for a while at KNAPP Sudamerica, today, Bernd Stöger, keeps an eye on the latest trends and, for the entire KNAPP group, makes sure that our software solutions meet the market requirements.

Siegfried Zwing

Having spent many years in the thick of software design, Siegfried Zwing was also involved in the implementation of large-scale international projects, regional sales in the USA as well as in the setup of the Business Unit Food at the KNAPP Systemintegration GmbH in Leoben. The challenges our customers faced were always on his mind, in particular, how to make the operation of complex logistics systems more manageable. This finally led to the founding of redPILOT.

Manfred Zechner launched his KNAPP career as technical project manager for WMS projects. Today, he focuses on understanding the individual business of our customers and uses analysis tools to find the perfect match from our portfolio of intelligent solutions.

Alessandro Freidl,

Alessandro Freidl’s career at KNAPP has taken him from system installation at customers to development, then 2nd level hotline and on to his current position, where he works on the development of Customer Service solutions for our customers.

What does intelligence mean in our systems?

Manfred Zechner: Intelligence means that our systems can independently adapt to situations. Humans, of course, are masters in adaptation. How? By continuously taking in information through our senses, comparing it to patterns we know and deriving the necessary strategies. The same applies to our systems: They receive information through the Host interfaces, sensors or the user, compare it with patterns and draw on a store of strategies that fit the conditions at our customers.

Siegfried Zwing: Our software ensures a smooth interplay of various components in logistics systems. Here, intelligence means to make lasting improvements to operations and at the same time simplifying warehouse management. Examples are the Pick-it-Easy Robots that learn self-sufficiently or, at redPILOT, the software learns how to optimally allocate resources and, having learned, suggests alternative actions to the warehouse manager.

When it comes to intelligent systems, remember that the source of all this intelligence lies inside the minds of our colleagues. The intelligence has to be put into the systems, and only people can do this.

Bernd Stöger
Bernd Stöger
Executive Product Manager

How do we add even more intelligence to our systems and how do our customers use this?

Our solutions get their intelligence from the vertical integration of all systems – from the software level down to the machine level of the PLC and the sensor elements. The information of all subsystems in our installations is put into context and processed in real time. This triggers actions and the correct information is displayed individually to the corresponding user.

Portrait von Alessandro Freidl, Customer Service Director Onsite Services bei KNAPP
Alessandro Freidl
Customer Service Director Onsite Services

Bernd Stöger: We achieve profoundly intelligent systems by increasingly linking production, distribution and point of sale. Another factor is that we have always used intelligent components – for example by installing an additional sensor at the ejector of the central belt autopicker which monitors the channel fill level and therefore ensures a high delivery quality. Vertical and horizontal integration is truly a hot topic which we can use to position ourselves as a value chain provider along the entire supply chain.

Siegfried Zwing:Comprehensive systems and interconnectedness are a clear advantage. That’s our focus and is why we stand out from our competitors…

Bernd Stöger: …We create actual customer benefits: Using fewer resources to achieve higher performance and quality. What does this mean? In logistics, this results, for example, in a reduced number of empty transports or in storing and processing more articles in less space within a warehouse using intelligent storage strategies.

Manfred Zechner: Intelligent software is the enabler of new services and offers new opportunities. The customer can install new service functions and integrate several processes in their warehouse to fulfil very specific requirements, especially in terms of customization.

It’s important to me to look at the entire value chain of our customers, even beyond the KNAPP solutions. We need a complete understanding to be able to recognize correlations.

Manfred Zechner
Consulting Development

Where is the trend pointing in software and logistics?

Manfred Zechner: In general, the Cloud is an important topic in software technology because our customers appreciate the flexibility offered by cloud solutions. Customers don’t want to think about which IT systems, hardware or software services they might need in five years. They want to use a certain function at a certain time right where they need it. Cloud solutions provide our customers this high degree of flexibility and scalability.

The whole general trend of  sharing, derived from our usual consumer behavior, is gaining some ground in logistics. Shared Logistics means better use of existing assets, for example, in sharing software, hardware, IT infrastructure or even logistics areas and systems.

Siegfried Zwing
Siegfried Zwing
Managing Director, redPILOT

Siegfried Zwing: In the view of redPILOT’s operations management, it is important to know which processes are used at what time and to what extent. In doing so, we can achieve higher performance because resources are used optimally and we also think beyond the boundaries of our company. The same applies for logistics employees: Away with rigid shift systems, bring on higher flexibility, more freedom and greater involvement in operations scheduling.

Alessandro Freidl: We’re moving more and more from reactive and preventive towards predictive. In other words, we already know today what to expect tomorrow or what has to be done the day after tomorrow. This enhances flexibility, plannability and cost-efficiency for our customers. By analyzing the processes, we can, for example, carry out planned maintenance in off-peak periods to keep the costs to a minimum.

Bernd Stöger: A clear trend in software and logistics is that everything is becoming increasingly smarter. This includes our software and our machines as well. The most important form of intelligence by far is in our employees. Their knowledge and their expertise make our solutions what they are. As in the example of the little sensor at the ejector that makes the entire value chain more intelligent, every employee makes a difference and people are at the heart of our solutions. We incorporate all of our networked expertise in the further development of our system’s technologies and software. In doing so, we succeed in increasing the customer benefit and, ultimately, in improving the life both of consumers and of ourselves.

Thank you for talking with us!