Kimberly-Clark Australia

Kimberly-Clark markets some of the world’s leading brands. The company holds first or second brand-share position in more than 80 countries, with 1.3 billion people using its health, hygiene and well-being products daily.

In Australia, the company has three manufacturing sites, a pulp mill and seven distribution centres, with annual sales revenue of around $1 billion. Of its 1,000 or so products, some 400 are manufactured in Australia.

KCA embarked on Project DANE (“distribution and network excellence”) to improve the footprint, velocity, efficiency and service capability of its finished goods supply chain.

“One of our specific objectives was to create a fast-flowing supply chain. This has many components — such as automated production recording, automated SSCC pallet labelling , scanning GTINs and SSCCs, conveying, roll-on-roll-off [RORO] dock and vehicle system, automated storage and retrieval system like we have at the Erskine Park NDC, together with electronic ASN messages, et cetera.

“These are relatively simple concepts, especially when implemented stand-alone, but not necessarily when you integrate them all together in an end to end whole of network solution.

KIMBERLY-CLARK AUSTRALIA

INDUSTRY:CONSUMER GOODS
APPLICATION:SYSTEM INTEGRATION (RORO DOCK, BACK-END SAP, ROBOTIC PALLETISATION CELLS), SSCC PALLET-LABEL SYSTEMS

BACKGROUND

Kimberly-Clark markets some of the world’s leading brands. The company holds first or second brand-share position in most of its categories in more than 80 countries, with 1.3 billion people using its health, hygiene and wellbeing products daily.

In Australia, the company has 2 manufacturing sites and 7 distribution centres, with annual sales revenue of around $1 billion. Of its 1,000 or so products, some 400 are manufactured in Australia.

SITUATION

Kimberly-Clark embarked on Project DANE (“distribution and network excellence”) to improve the footprint, velocity, efficiency and service capability of its finished goods supply chain. The project included building new warehouses on greenfield sites, as well as revamping existing facilities. The company knew poor data quality was impeding every process in its business, but not to what extent. A GS1 Data Quality Audit identified data omissions and inaccuracies (especially affecting imported products) that would severely impact on the new accelerated, integrated and automated production and distribution processes.

BUSINESS NEEDS

Efficiency

One of Kimberly-Clark’s specific objectives was to create a fast-flowing supply chain, with many components, including automated production recording, automated SSCC pallet labelling, scanning of GTINs and SSCCs, conveying, roll-on-roll-off (RORO) dock and vehicle system, and automated storage and retrieval system, together with electronic ASN messages.

diverted to a “hospital station” for manual intervention. Matthews’ solution visually highlights errors at the production point, allowing corrective action much sooner. Ensuring source accuracy benefits the entire downstream supply chain. The solution relies heavily on multiple GS1 standards.

OUTCOME

Using Matthews’ iDSnet as part of its major Project DANE, Kimberly-Clark has accelerated product flows, significantly reduced administrative steps, increased accuracy and increased productivity across its manufacturing and distribution sites.

Kimberly-Clark’s production lines are now fully automated, and Ingleburn additionally has a RORO vehicle loading system. Pallets go directly onto the RORO loading system and can be gone in 5 minutes (replacing a much longer, manual process).

The full integration Matthews did into Kimberly-Clark’s back-end SAP, automated

Kimberly-Clark wanted to improve its production line efficiency:

  • with automated real-time production recording
  • with heightened accuracy and visibility
  • by eliminating manual steps (other than “error” handling), and

by providing the foundation for all downstream processes (ASRS, RORO, etc.)

PROCESS NEEDS

Automation

Kimberly-Clark’s processes were manual and informal. Previously, forklift drivers would pick up pallets at the end of the production line and keep a manual tally. At the end of a shift, all drivers’ tallies were collected and manually aggregated, with one data entry then made into the ERP system to record that entire shift’s production.

This process needed to be automated to remove human error and vastly increase the speed at which pallets could be loaded and leave the warehouse

SELECTION CRITERIA

Solution Capability

Matthews’ iDSnet has the capability to provide a real-time product traceability solution that also ensures error-free coding. iDSnet is adaptable, scalable and could be integrated into Kimberly- Clark’s ERP systems as well as warehouse systems. iDSnet also has the capability to integrate with and control other peripheral equipment, such as scanners.

Integration Capability

Individual components of Kimberly-Clark’s new fast-flowing supply chain are relatively simple

production lines and WM system was important because:

  • it facilitates production recording to be hands free and real time, as each full pallet is SSCC labelled, at both the Millicent and Ingleburn mills. “Real time” is important for immediate inventory visibility and availability, but also necessary for downstream processes. “Hands free” is important for accuracy and productivity.

when implemented as stand-alones, but not necessarily so when integrated all together in an end-to-end, whole-of-network solution. Matthews’ integration skills and experience were factors in Kimberly-Clark choosing it, and iDSnet, for their pallet SSCC-LPA and RORO scanning solution.

Another factor was Matthews’ strong history of working with Machinery Automation and Robotics (MAR). MAR had done much of Kimberly-Clark’s conveying and robotic palletisation systems, and Kimberly-Clark wanted an SSCC-LPA provider who could work alongside MAR to integrate into existing automation systems.

SOLUTION

Kimberly-Clark installed Matthews’ integration solution, iDSnet, along with 4 SSCC palletlabelling systems into its Ingleburn plant (in NSW), and 3 into its Millicent plant (in SA). Each Label Printer Applicator, sited at the out-feeds from the robotic-palletisation cells, is fully integrated with MAR automation systems, as well as into Kimberly-Clark’s back-end SAP for real-time production recording.

Matthews also helped Dexion supply and install a pallet LPA system at Kimberly- Clark’s Erskine Park NDC (NSW); along with the scanning component, using Datalogic scanners, of the RORO dock system at Kimberly-Clark’s Ingleburn plant. Controlled by iDSnet, these read each SSCC onto the truck.

The LPA system auto-checks each pallet against a number of rules; any exceptions lead to an “error” label being applied instead of a standard SSCC. Error-labelled pallets are

  • At Ingleburn, it additionally facilitates real time and hands-free loading of vehicles via the RORO dock for immediate transfer of goods to Kimberly-Clark’s NDC, so any pallet is available for sale within 30-90 minutes of production.

The total DANE Project, of which Matthews’ solutions is an integral part, has delivered very significant improvements in accuracy, productivity, costs and service levels — all underpinned by the GS1 system. Overall, Kimberly-Clark has created lasting capability upon which it has been able to grow the business.

“With this integrated iDSnet system from Matthews, we have eliminated all administrative steps, increased accuracy, and increased productivity.”

— Mario Carniato, e-supply chain manager for Kimberly-Clark Australia