In 2012, Zurich-based trading company Bucher Landtechnik AG outsourced its replacement parts logistics to Planzer. Today, the Planzer Härkingen logistics centre manages 60,000 articles, with more than half in the automatic small parts warehouse (ASPW). Over 130 shipments roll off the ramp every day.

Tractors, combine harvesters, balers, forage harvesters, telescopic loaders, ploughs, mounted sprayers, disc mowers, gyrotedders, windrowers, wrappers, fodder mixing wagons, and yard loaders all have two things in common: they set the pulses of farmers and machine technology buffs racing, and they include hundreds of replacement parts. Every single one of them can break – and the fix has to be prompt.

Focusing on the essentials

Agricultural technology is the core competence of long-standing Niederweningen-based Bucher Landtechnik. In the 1980s, the venerable brand turned its focus increasingly to precisely this core competence. It discontinued production of the popular Bucher tractors and transitioned to becoming a trading company with products from leading world manufacturers. Quite in keeping with the company’s motto: ‘What we do well today, we want to do better tomorrow.’ Forty years later, the company once again tightened its focus. In 2013, its permit to store its replacement parts in its own warehouses expired on fire safety grounds. And costs for the in-house solution at that time were also a matter of debate. Technology director Marcel Kipfer therefore put out an international tender for the replacement parts logistics for all traded brands. The nod went to Planzer. Kipfer: ‘We were looking for someone whose mindset was a good fit with ours. The family-owned company from the Limmat Valley also fulfilled our requirements in terms of availability and flexibility. It offered us a lean project team and a good interface to our IT landscape.’

A practical and clever concept

The conditions set forth in the tender were ambitious: there were fewer than seven months to the migration of 28,000 parts. The Planzer outsourcing team put together a highly capable project organisation with an experienced project management team and strictly scheduled status reports. The concept encompassed not only the physical transfer of the articles to Planzer and the entire replacement parts management, but also a series of potential optimisations in terms of efficiency and costs. In 2017, the replacement parts were shifted from Planzer Embrach to Planzer Härkingen. They could be more efficiently stored and processes in the ASPW. A second outsourcing stage took place in 2019, with a further 25,000 articles from three Grunderco locations.

Success in numbers

Today, Bucher Landtechnik’s outsourced replacement parts logistics are handled in the state-of-the-art logistics centre at Planzer Härkingen. There are currently roughly 60,000 articles from different Bucher trading partners in stock, whether in the conventional high-bay rack warehouse, the ASPW or the bulky goods warehouse for oversized items. Year after year, some 8,500 deliveries are shipped ex stock from Europe and the US with approx. 46,000 items in good receipt. It amounts to purchase orders to the tune of 35,000 picking orders with 270,000 picks in total. In two-stage picking, parts from the ASPW and the conventional warehouse are ‘married’. Our pickers operate on the goods-to-person principle and are assisted by pick by light. The picked goods roll off the ramp in Härkingen in the form of 50,000 packages or roughly 2,200 pallets per year. The standby service is available to customers every day from 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight. Orders by the cut-off time at 6:30 pm are delivered the next day. Depending on the requirements of the order, the delivery is carried out with the overnight service from Quali-Night, the normal parcel post or as cargo with Planzer Transport.

The right source

The outsourcing solution from Planzer offers Bucher Landtechnik a range of advantages that pay off in terms of cost, image and service:

  • every outsourcing job is as unique as the brand itself. That’s why the outsourcing concept is precisely tailored to the requirements and special characteristics of Bucher.
  • Bucher can put the essential resources of its own organisation to the things it does best.
  • The flat hierarchies on both sides enable quick decisions and uncomplicated solutions.
  • The collaboration between Bucher and Planzer track their shared company values: family oriented, partnership and foresight.
  • Planzer Härkingen is ideally located for transport purposes. That’s particularly beneficial for the Bucher staff who pick up the parts themselves.
  • Our decades’ worth of expertise concerning the vagaries of replacement parts logistics pay dividends for Bucher in both the short and long term.
  • The standby service with 18 hours of availability is particularly valuable to Bucher customers in the peak season.

From then until now

In the olden days, farmers would get their replacement parts from a special window set up just for the purpose, carrying the defective part under their arm. The person responsible for the replacement part identified the article, searched for the article number in the catalogue, fetched the article, if available, from the warehouse and handed it over in exchange for cash. Today, a replacement part can be ordered by phone or in the online shop. Those who are in a hurry can pick the part up 90 minutes after the order at the ramp in Härkingen or have it delivered to the field by a Bucher service partner. In the process, they will benefit from all the advantages of a digital order platform, personal consultation and an efficient picking and delivery service.

It’s all about the partner

Outsourcing is a great option for anyone who prefers to concentrate on their core competence. The collaboration between Bucher and Planzer shows: for an outsourcing project to work, it requires partners who are a good fit for each other, project competence equal to the task and processes that will stand the test of time.

Bucher Landtechnik

In 1807, Heinrich Bucher opened a small smithy in Weiler Murzlen on the Zurich cantonal border. In so doing, he laid the foundation for the Bucher family company in Niederweningen. Subsequent generations built the company into a globally active technology company for machine and vehicle manufacturing. The company has over 50 production and development locations on five continents with over 12,600 employees. Bucher Landtechnik AG belongs to Bucher Specials, one of five divisions of Bucher Industries. The company is the leading provider of agricultural technology products and smart farming applications in Switzerland.

‘We were looking for someone whose mindset was a good fit with ours. The family-owned company from the Limmat Valley also fulfilled our requirements in terms of availability and flexibility. It offered us a lean project team and a good interface to our IT landscape.’

Marcel Kipfer, Bucher Landtechnik AG

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