Case Study

Let the Elephant Dance with the Mouse

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When the pain points are solved, a promising future can be expected

Although FMS systems are currently still relatively rare in China, AB inbev has come to the forefront of the industry. The successful introduction of FMS (the Forklift Management System Project) in cooperation with Teknect not only fits the needs of its own management, but also the requirements of future development. From a project management perspective, FMS is like an eye installed on the forklift truck, which can be used monitor the condition of the forklift in real time. Specifically, we can ask: it is running, on standby or shut down? Which forklift worker is driving it? With FMS, all this status information can be viewed in a glance. With FMS, forklift workers’ work efficiency statistics can be attained easily. At the same time, FMS is also equipped with a 4G communication module, which supports the transmission of these data to the cloud in real time to automatically conduct data analysis.

The reason why the FMS system has been implemented, and Teknect has been selected as a partner, is that project management effectiveness calls for certain key management system project requirements. In this regard, Ran Zhu introduced the difficulties and challenges faced in the implementation of the project in detail. She said that our key requirements mainly lie in efficiency and safety visibility. FMS should not only be able to count pallets and record mileage, but also quickly sound an alarm in cases such as the collisions of forklift trucks and battery abnormalities, etc.

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Furthermore, it should be a universal management system that is compatible with various kinds of electric and fuel-based forklifts, of different brands and manufactured from different countries, so that they can be installed under the same management system. It is, in fact, incredibly challenging to meet such requirements, and many difficulties have been encountered in the development process. Teknect has always maintained a high level of consistency with us, have solved various unexpected challenges, and have ultimately successfully applied FMS to the management of various AB inbev major warehouses.

At present, FMS has covered all AB inbev factories and some distribution centers (DC) in China and South Korea. In addition, FMS has also been recommended as a model project to other factories across the globe and will be deployed in factories in other AB inbev regions globally.

It’s been quite a while since the implementation of the FMS system in AB inbev’s warehouse management. The system has played a positive role; to be exact, the role of an intelligent warehouse management robot, which has solved the problems that in the past, human management could not. Ran Zhu said that FMS has now become our daily management tool. With FMS, we have established daily, weekly and monthly efficiency and safety report reviews. For forklifts with a low utilization rate, tasks can also be merged to reduce the number of forklifts and labor costs.

There is no denying that the biggest challenge in project management is standardization. As early as in March 2019, the system was basically only deployed in factories in China. However, when managers returned to South Korea for research, they found that two modules of the solution used in China became completely incompatible in South Korea. The reason was that the forklift masts in South Korea has a particular structure and lacks the space to install the infrared pallet counter. Moreover, fuel-based forklift truck tires in South Korea are not solid tires, and for this reason the external speed sensor could not be installed either.

In response to these problems, Teknect was not discouraged and instead, it jointly developed new products with AB inbev. Within 3 months, it had designed a pallet counter based on hydraulic pressure and a speed sensor applicable to pneumatic tires, thus resolving these two highly challenging issues. However, in terms of these two difficulties, when AB inbev and several other large companies conducted demand research in early 2018, they both gave an expected completion time of over one year. In fact, one of the companies could not provide a solution until the end of 2019, which obviously could not meet AB inbev's expectations.

What is gratifying is that when confronted with various challenges, the most valuable point of the cooperation between parties is that they can focus on solving the problem instead of fighting with each other. Felix Dai is very pleased with the project cooperation with Teknect. He said that the AB inbev Factory’s operation team is also a common user of our project team and Teknect. Our primary focus should be on how to meet the users’ needs instead of how to persuade users to retreat from theirneeds. Thanks to Teknect’s persistence and focus on product technology, we have maintained a pleasant cooperation in the completion of our joint project implementation.

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