DIGITAL TOOLS, AGILE METHODS – AND UTILISING THEM EFFECTIVELY
König + Neurath has been manufacturing office furniture since 1925. No area has changed as noticeably over the past almost 100 years as production. The carpentry workshop, where even the hardest jobs were done by hand, gradually transformed into a high-tech production centre with capacity to implement individual customer needs within a short timeframe. Some features have remained though: the location in Germany, the company’s innovative character and employee enthusiasm – and the processes are state-of-the-art and forward-looking.
At König + Neurath they use lean principles in production: customer-oriented, optimised and synchronised. All components on every single assembly line are produced “just in time”, with the assembly sequence dictating the end-to-end material flow: customer order production is pull-based. We also use the Kanban system to ensure that all information is communicated quickly and effectively. As well as optimum use of resources, our outstandingly efficient production methods allow us to bring customers an appreciable time saving – and consistently excellent product quality.
Our production reflects the trend towards individualisation. To fulfil our customers' wishes., we can integrate series production or one-offs into the production process. This is summed up nicely by David Schuch, from the Operational Excellence at König + Neurath: “Our minimum production volume is one”. Using the digital twin principle, we already know which specific features are needed each time thanks to the OFML customer data at the warehouse stage. “The concept is unique. No other office furniture manufacturer has been able to implement it with this level of consistency before.”
Market requirements – and customer requirements – are changing. The space experiences we plan can be implemented to suit specific needs. Batch size 1 is another key principle of production technology here, and we are constantly optimising our processes to achieve this goal. We need our manufacturing process to be just as quality-oriented and efficiently synchronised for a one-off order as it would be for a series of several hundred desks.
With lean tools such as autonomous maintenance, we can guarantee a high level of line availability to deliver your furniture and solutions on time and in the quality you expect.
What some people considered a very futuristic scenario just a few years ago is gradually becoming reality at König + Neurath right now: warehouses that autonomously commission material at night for the following day. Storage, retrieval and reorganisation processes that run independently 24 hours a day. Fully automated internal transport. And it’s all sustainable and energy-efficient. In the past few months we have been able to digitalise many communication and coordination processes, using digital tools to make them even more efficient and reliable.
König + Neurath is currently introducing a material flow concept that’s “one of a kind in the office furniture industry,” says Daniel Wenk, our warehouse manager. Thanks to SAP eWM on S4 Hana basis, the material flow is completely transparent, replenishment control is fully agile thanks to Kanban logic and retrieval control. This is the basis for us to introduce the intelligent automation strategy in the entire production.
Wenn Sie uns fragen, wie die MIf you ask us what a furniture factory of the future would look like, we’d like to show you our cable tray production area. Here you can clearly see how using a cobot, a collaborative robot, supports people while they work and changes the individual work steps. Man and machine are working hand in hand: employees plan out the production process and the cobot does all the work. This takes the strain off the people. That’s extremely helpful, especially with repetitive and physically strenuous work. The outcome? A smart factory.
Our teams are constantly working on making processes – and machines! – to become more and more digital. That’s why we have our own plant engineering to manufacture our use cases ourselves. We always incorporate the cobots we need for ongoing processes and handle all the critical parts here in Karben. From programming to commissioning the use cases.