How you can increase productivity through guided material provisioning and targeted reordering

Apr 13, 2022 4:17:12 PM


In conversation with Michael Honisch, Lean expert at FATH and Theresia Diepold at

Who has not experienced a lack of space in the assembly area. The closer to the assembly line, the more valuable and limited the space. Is this a challenge for many of your customers, Mr. Honisch?

Mr. Honish: Yes, definitely, many companies are struggling with this problem. In addition, due to the increase in the number of variants and increase in single-piece batch sizes, the space requirement is increasing daily.

Do you have a simple tip for customers with this problem?

Mr. Honish: Being orderly is half the battle. No, seriously. Controlled material deployment with systematic replenishment systems can solve this problem effectively. In the assembly area, material supply via dollies and their structured arrangement in FIFO stations or by using parking rails is an important step towards optimizing the use of floor space.

How exactly do FIFO stations affect the use of floor space?

Mr. Honish: If parking rails are installed on the floor, dollies and carts can be parked with pinpoint accuracy and they remain securely in position. This is how you can achieve orderly and lean use of floor space. Even this simple measure - FATH parking rails are only glued in place - allows the floor space to be used much more effectively. The dollies cannot slip and do not obstruct anything without reason.

A FIFO station offers even more advantages. Clever FIFO guiding rails for floating installation make it easy to meet individual requirements. An added bonus: If rails with single-side guidance are used, even more space is saved, as a single guide rail per track is sufficient.

Extra tip: In addition, dollies can be stacked when empty and can thus be stored in a space-saving manner.

And how do you solve a post-delivery supply?

Mr. Honish: The FIFO station makes it easy to see where material has been used and needs to be replenished, but this requires a Go and See. The colleagues at have developed a lean digital solution for this.

Theresia Diepold: That's right, a signal from an empty storage bin is detected by our simple battery-powered sensors and then can be displayed at a distance. Such as on a large monitor in the warehouse, on a tablet, on the forklift, or transmitted directly to the AGV. The information is thus delivered in real time to the person responsible and the reordering process is triggered.

Mr. Honish: That’s great! And another tip to make the handling of dollies more efficient: If FIFO guide rails with wide insertion caps are installed, threading into the FIFO station is as easy as pie. This saves time and energy.

So if the individual lean products are cleverly coordinated, the floor space required can be minimized. A FIFO station is planned quickly and installed in no time. The FIFO principle (first-in-first-out) is implemented easily and the flow of goods is optimized. It’s that easy!

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