From harvester to wheat kernel
It is the end of the year, and that means that it is time to take inventory at the silos of AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG. Feedstuffs, raw materials, and components have to be counted. “We measure everything,” says Managing Director Heiko Almann with a smile, and points to the 277 components that must be recorded at the Münster location alone. They hold between four and 250 tons. With a laser device, he can determine the vacant space in the silos. With that data, he then calculates the fill quantity. “We do this every year exactly on 31 December. Our production comes to a standstill for one day, and the quantities remain constant,” explains the state-certified milling technician.
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It takes several more hours to enter all the data about the actual and target quantities into the computer systems. “Taking inventory is important to us, because it is the only way to achieve a correct valuation,” Heiko Almann emphasises.
For many years, taking the inventory at the distribution centre of AGRAVIS has taken up lots of resources as well. Located only a few kilometres from the compound feed plant, the centre with 23,000 sqm floor space, 26,000 palette slots with racks up to 12 metres tall, and 10,000 shelf spaces is one of the largest and most modern in the entire agricultural industry. More than 10,000 products are stored there. Next year, we will be converting our “physical count”, as the inventory process is called in the language of the business explains Roland Pöppelbaum, head of the distribution centre. In our web shop and the textile warehouse, we already introduced the goods management software and converted to permanent space inventory taking in January 2017. Inventory can now be counted any time during the year. With SAP, we also introduced the so-called zero check, meaning that the employee who takes the last item from the shelf must enter it in SAP with a hand-held device. That completes the inventory for that particular space for the current year. That way, at the end of the year we only have to count the spaces that never ran “empty” during the current calendar year. With the introduction of SAP in the distribution centre, the spaces are “zero checked” automatically and some of them more than once during 2018, all without any additional effort.
The employees of AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland-Ems GmbH have some very different obstacles to deal with. They have to head out in wind, snow, and rain to count their machines. These range from riding mowers to harvesters, shredders, or tractors. This year, the employees are in luck. They have been busy counting the nearly 1,200 machines of AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland-Ems GmbH since early December. So far, the weather has not played any tricks on them. “Touch wood, so far we have only had some cold hands. A few more days, then we’re done again for this year,” says Rainald Spräner, warehouse manager at AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland-Ems GmbH in Olfen.
Information box inventory:
AGRAVIS is legally required to prepare an end-of-year report. For the report, all companies who own assets have to count their goods. The value determined by the inventory later becomes the balance sheet item “Stocks” in the group annual report. Last year, that figure was 656,901,000 euros.