"Our goods receipt is now much faster and more precise."

With the support of CompControl, EMS service provider Cicor at its site in Bronschhofen has automated both its operations with incoming goods and its goods receipt. Peter Bucher, the Head of Operations, explains how his company is coping with the flood of material packages and how crucial traceability is.

Mr. Bucher, what are the special requirements in incoming goods and/or in goods receipt at the Cicor location in Bronschhofen?

The bottlenecks affecting the component procurement market have resulted in an increase in terms of complexity and volume in the warehouse and intralogistics sector. You place as many orders as possible in order to build up safety stocks. As a result, the number of parcel deliveries has temporarily increased fivefold what forced us to set priorities. That means that you have to locate packages with very urgent material positions, because otherwise production lines may be standing still. The package contents with less demand can then be unpacked at a later stage.

What are the specific issues?

You have to imagine it figuratively: You receive a van which is full of packages. And then you stand in front of this mountain and wonder: “What am I going to
unpack first?“ Before we automated our goods receipt, we had to open every single package to check its content. And then it had to be clarified to which order the content belongs to. Furthermore, there is a trend towards robot picking systems, especially with larger suppliers. This means that instead of a delivery note, an electronic delivery note with a QR code will be submitted to our portal in advance. In this case, the packages no longer contain a delivery note, but can be identified through the waybill or the packaging list applied on them. The advantage of this procedure is that a package no longer needs to be opened in order to be informed about its content. However, what you need is a system which can handle it.

And does CompControl support you in this?

We use WEControl Dome by CompControl for the incoming goods. However, in order to also automate the goods receipt and to face the challenges you have just described, we needed an additional solution – i.e. a system which is upstream of the actual incoming goods. At the moment, the company CompControl does not offer something like this. But when we described our requirements to Mr. Limpert, we were able to develop a  corresponding solution in cooperation with CompControl.

How is this like?

After having received the material, the system directly checks which order or which delivery note it matches. If it matches an order, it will be handed over unpacked to the incoming goods in order to be posted. If it does not fit, a research procedure will be started. We christened this solution iWE, whereby the letter “i” stands for “intelligent”.

What benefit does Swisstronics bring to this intelligent management of the incoming goods?

We can make use of it for the implementation of the triage – that is, the ordering of goods according to urgency and quality inspection requirements. The
packages whose content is most urgently needed will be unpacked first. We also offer the chance of carrying out a presorting. For if a package is sent away in Asia, for example, we already know what is arriving at us and at which time. Furthermore, our goods receipt through automation is now much faster as well as more precise. For people get tired and consequently make mistakes more frequently. In addition, we now have an electronic archive for every delivery of goods – consistent with the order, delivery note as well as with the image of all material labels. The system also forces the employees to a clean maintenance of the master data. 

What do you mean by that?

Our market is very dynamic. Become a supplier sold, changed their name or merged into other corporations. As a consequence, the catalogues or the designations of the parts were subject to frequent changes. The information must be constantly updated, because the system needs up-to-date data to permit a correct allocation of the respective material. This is not really fun for every employee. For the whole thing takes a lot of effort. Here at the Bronschhofen site alone, we manage around 16,000 material numbers. However, it is worth the effort, because the said management also guarantees us in-depth traceability. And this is a very important aspect for us right now.


As an electronics manufacturer of Medical Devices, we ensure strict traceability to any Batch of the manufacturer’s parts required. Its traceability to the original manufacturer’s batch is a huge challenge in case of a manual goods receipt whereby this applies in particular in case of partial deliveries. If it is not possible to receive the information within seconds, the whole system will be called into question. This requirement can actually only be solved by means of automation.

How do you rate the cooperation with CompControl?

Previously, we also got in touch with other manufacturers who supply systems for incoming goods. However, what they offered was just their standard solutions. But we needed was a system that was exactly adapted to our requirements. And at company CompControl, we quickly felt that we were talking to each other on an equal footing. We immediately had the direct contact with the suitable contact person. In addition, Mr. Limpert and his team approach an objective in an extremely pragmatic manner. For this reason, the collaboration with CompControl was simply the right decision to make.

Are there any other plans concerning this collaboration?

Within the Cicor Group, other production sites also show a great interest in the system. Above all, the responsible persons within the group like the fact that the solution includes both the incoming goods and the receipt of goods. For just the However, the incoming goods operation alone does not solve the issue of coping with the flood of parcels.


About the company:

Swisstronics Contract Manufacturing is part of the Cicor Group and offers complete outsourcing solutions for the development and manufacture of electronic assemblies as well as complete devices and systems. The company develops and manufactures small and medium-sized series of electronic assemblies and systems with state-of-the-art equipment at its site in Bronschhofen. The clients of the company include companies from the medical, industrial, consumer goods, defence and transport sectors.