de en it

Finding is the new search.

Please enter your search term in the field and confirm your search with the Enter key or a click on the magnifying glass.

REISS Büromöbel lays the ERP foundation for Industry 4.0 transformation with its VlexPlus

REISS Büromöbel GmbH, founded by Robert Reiss in 1882, is an industrial company headquartered in Bad Liebenwerda, Brandenburg, with a rich tradition and known for its homonymous products such as the REISS-Brett [drawing board], the REISS-Zwecke [drawing pin] and its REISS-Rechenschieber [slide rule].

The company has ever since had a tradition of blending its healthy culture of innovation with progressive technologies and quality craftsmanship in its unique way and is now in the process of pioneering Industry 4.0 implementations. The construction of a new, state-of-the-art factory and the introduction of the VlexPlus Next Generation ERP System with flexible production control and a communicating network of machines constitute the foundation of this process of digital

REISS Büromöbel GmbH develops, produces and distributes high quality office furniture for industry, trade and administration via more than 270 specialist retailers and through distribution networks in other European countries. The range of services comprises innovative and ergonomic office furniture systems such as stand-sit workstations and solutions for communication, acoustics, storage space and reception – from single workplaces to complex systems. This manufacturer of office furniture, elected Company of the Year by the Federal State of Brandenburg, is DIN ISO 9001 and 14001 certified, has EMAS Environmental Certification, carries the Blue Angel seal and has Quality Office certification. Around 180 employees at the Bad Liebenwerda headquarters are generating an annual turnover in excess of EUR 43 million.

REISS has the most modern CNC systems for panel cutting, edge coating, drilling, milling or dowelling. Thanks to data networking between design, work preparation and production, the company remains highly flexible.
Initial situation

Legacy system beyond updating

REISS runs a process-oriented manufacturing organisation that includes all processes from planning to delivery under one roof. The ability to meet individual customer demands constitutes a success factor that distinguishes the company to this day. The diversity in the range of products is very demanding not only on the ERP system but especially also on data management and the Product Configurator at the core of the solution. Over the years, new demands of daily business and process optimisation required continuous adaptations and extensions - at the expense of the release capability of the overall system. No new ERP system releases could therefore be loaded without losing or re-programming all previous system extensions. Management therefore by 2014 realised that their future competitive edge demanded the introduction of a new software generation.

Decision making process

Technology and degree of integration are of great importance

The particularly high added value of REISS Büromöbel GmbH proved very demanding in the course of the selection process. All corporate processes and specialist fields such as product development/construction, sales/CRM, office planning, logistics and manufacture had to be included, not to forget the different wood and metal processing departments. “We required not only a high degree of compliance of the solution with our technical and process-related requirements, but also placed a premium on the integration of the overall solution – especially in terms of financial accounting. This was because external financial accounting in the legacy system always required certain limitations and caveats when cost accounting became more complex – we needed to move away from this”, explained REISS Managing Director Hans-Ulrich Weishaupt. The technological component was another important criterion in the decision, especially in view of the future costs. Because the basic system architecture will ultimately determine how simple, fast, reliable and release-compatible a requirement will be implementable in the system. The solution should furthermore have many standard interfaces and allow easy communication with third party systems via an open interface.

Advantages in use

Variant competence and flexibility promise more security

Since REISS must master not only the manufacture of wood but also the more complex manufacture of metal, the future software partner needed some expertise in the manufacture of furniture. To represent the wide diversity of products and guarantee consistent configuration, the variant configurator needed to be more than an add-on – it was to be deeply embedded into the ERP system. Two solutions capable of including the complex catalogue of requirements largely in the standard solution already emerged tops against the competition in the course of tendering. “Such decisions, however, depend not only on price and the service package on offer, but also require a certain measure of gut feel. The chemistry must also be right here.

We finally awarded the tender to VLEXsoftware+consulting GmbH since we appreciated eye-to-eye communication with the medium-sized business and the very constructive and results-oriented approach. The excellent capability of handling variations and the gut feel that the Java-based system also offered us the necessary future-proof technological flexibility certainly added to our confidence when arriving at our decision”, says the company boss.

Whilst customer and supplier data were largely imported from the existing system, the product data and the corresponding configuration rules were created anew in VlexPlus. Although this demanded a higher initial effort, once the data had been neatly stored in the system with its algorithms, the company stood to benefit by a sustainably high degree of automation and reliable plausibility checks. About 80 users have since September 2017 been working with VlexPlus in all departments of the office furniture specialist, from Sales and Purchasing via Manufacture and Inventory Management and down to Logistics and Financial Accounting.

The wood production and processing as well as the final assembly of the office furniture takes place in the new plant in Lausitz, which was built in 2019 (Image: REISS)

New Industry 4.0 capable works under construction

The competitiveness of office furniture manufacturers is critically dependent on the ability to satisfy individual customer demands at no significant extra costs. Our system change offers us a basis for digitisation of our manufacturing processes and organisational structures and will moreover allow us to offer lot size 1 manufacture without, for instance, the economic penalties of intensified manual labour. The option of flexible conversion of manufacture from batch to daily piecewise production allows us in future to also reduce specifically throughput times, as needed.”

Construction of the new factory occupying an area of more than 12 500 sq. m., including an integrated MES fine-control system and a state-of-the-art “Lot size 1” plant, is currently in its implementation phase. Start-up of this factory, one of the most capable in the sector boasting state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies and intelligent networked machinery, is scheduled for October 2019, fully prepared for Industry 4.0. With the conversion of the system core, REISS has laid the foundation for digital transformation already now.

Similar challenges? Contact now!

What does the customer say?

Effective interaction between ERP, MES and construction software

The new solution allows REISS for the first time now to implement the increased requirements of automated data exchange, electronic order processing, dispatch of electronic invoices and the option of directly linking Webshops to its own system - economically and without interruption of operations. Electronic data exchange takes place here via an OFML (Office Furniture Modeling Language) interface, created in the course of the implementation the VLEXsoftware in the system, in cooperation with 3D product configuration specialists. The bidirectional data exchange based on the OFML industry standard now allows REISS to seamlessly integrate own Webshops and also Sales, Configuration or Catalogue portals and to plan complex multichannel strategies. Employees will thus be able to fully focus on examining orders without distraction by requirement of data capturing. Especially service quality benefits here.

The new system also optimises checking of resources and capacities at the time the order is captured. System errors when booking materials can now be monitored fully automated, thanks to failure-free material related processes and perfect feedback, allowing REISS staff to quickly view the order status. ERP system connections to the automated board store and pre-cutting centre furthermore enables automatic machine data feedback and integrated offcut optimisation. Over- and under-consumption as a result of cutting optimisation will be booked directly back to stock. The company will in this way not only ensure a reliable basis for recalculation but also minimise the use of resources by the process as a whole. Manual inventories are also eliminated in this area, since stock and material accounting will at all times be totally transparent. “Optimisation of our manufacturing processes and running feedback of production tells us exactly where in the process the product is. We are now able to call up this information directly from the Vlex cockpits, in real time. Cumbersome communication and request processes between colleagues are something of the past now”, says Hans-Ulrich Weishaupt.

Workflow control instead of complex programming

The workflow engine integrated in VlexPlus is an important control and optimisation tool. "This enables us to react to certain events in the system with definable steps. Status feedback plays an important role here: for example, when we import an order into an external system, the clerk, sales or production staff must be able to see at any time whether the order has been entered and what order status it is in - in order to be able to provide information at any time or to assess until when changes to the order are still possible," explains Thomas Schulz, Senior Specialist ERP System at REISS. Via the status confirmations, we can store event triggers in the workflow control system ourselves as required, without having to place a costly programming order with the service provider." The interaction of VlexPlus, SOLIDWORKS and the MES is now a continuous process in which data can be exchanged in a largely automated and event-controlled manner. Plausibility checks and monitoring mechanisms stored in the system ensure, for example, that the people involved in the process are immediately informed of errors. The import of parts lists from the design software into VlexPlus already works automatically to a large extent. However, if the ERP does not yet know a certain characteristic or characteristic value of a new BOM, an error message is directly forwarded to the relevant departments. The individual process steps can even be divided across different department levels. The fact that many processes are automated without manual intervention and we only have to concentrate on the faulty orders not only saves us a lot of time, but also creates a high level of process reliability," Thomas Schulz continues.

Production optimisation with complete process transparency

The new system also optimises the checking of resources and capacities at the time of order entry. Thanks to trouble-free material processes and clean feedback, material movements can be monitored fully automatically by the system. The connection of the ERP system to the automated panel storage and cutting centre also allows automatic machine data feedback and integrated cutting optimisation. Increases and decreases in consumption from the cutting optimisation are booked directly into the stocks. In this way, the company not only ensures a reliable basis for recalculations, but also that the entire process is carried out with minimal use of resources. Moreover, manual inventories are no longer necessary in this area, since thanks to automated material movements, there is maximum transparency in stock levels and material accounting at all times. Employees can call up this information directly from the VLEX Cockpits in real time. Cumbersome communication and enquiry processes among colleagues are no longer an issue at REISS.

With this digital transformation process, the company has laid an important foundation for a flexible process organisation and future growth course. Today, the company is not only able to implement new requirements such as flexible configurability, automated data exchange, electronic ordering and order processes, the dispatch and processing of electronic invoices or the possibility of linking web shops directly to its own system economically and without disrupting operational processes. The electronic data exchange takes place via an OFML (Office Furniture Modelling Language) interface, which was created in the course of the system introduction. The bidirectional data exchange based on the OFML industry standard enables REISS to seamlessly integrate its own web shops as well as sales, configuration or catalogue portals and to pursue complex multi-channel strategies. The employees can thus focus entirely on checking the order and not on entering the data in the system. This benefits efficiency and service quality in particular.


"The competitiveness of an office furniture manufacturer depends decisively on its ability to implement customised requirements without much additional effort. With the system conversion, we have taken a big step towards digitalising our production and organisational structures in order to ensure batch size 1 production without this being at the expense of economic efficiency, for example due to high manual process components. Thanks to the possibility of flexibly switching production from batch size production to one-off production on a daily basis, REISS will be able to increase the speed of response to the customer in a targeted manner in the future, if required," summarises REISS Managing Director Hans-Ulrich Weishaupt.

The company is currently building a new production line for sheet metal with a state-of-the-art laser cutting system, which will be connected to both the VlexPlus ERP and the design system. Since all final assembly stations have been moved from the old plant to the new one, some processes still need to be reorganised and optimised. The optimisation of metal prefabrication at the main plant in Bad Liebenwerda for precise planning of deliveries to the Lausitz production plant and other external users is to be completed by 2022.