Success Story

HOERBIGER: integrating and digitalizing warehouse processes with ORBIS Logistics Apps in SAP S/4HANA

Products SAP: SAP WM/EWM/Stockroom Management, SAP S/4HANA & ERP
ORBIS Solutions: ORBIS Logistics
Sectors: Manufacturing industry
Processes: Intralogistics, Warehouse control
References: HOERBIGER Wien GmbH

The HOERBIGER Group is standardizing its IT landscape across all its locations with SAP S/4HANA. In parallel to this process, the components manufacturer is digitalizing, standardizing and optimizing its intralogistics operations with easy-to-use and flexibly adjustable mobile Logistics Apps from ORBIS. These apps integrate seamlessly into the existing SAP warehousing solution – depending on the manufacturing type in SAP EWM, SAP WM or SAP MM – and replace a variety of scanner solutions, some of which are outdated.

In many cases, companies operating in the oil, gas and process industry, in the automotive industry or in safety technology rely on quality products and services from the HOERBIGER Group. Its components and systems are used in reciprocating compressors, gas flow control, vehicle and gas drives, rotary unions, automotive hydraulics and explosion protection, among other applications. The traditional company is even the world’s largest independent manufacturer of synchronizers for passenger cars in the automotive industry.


Head office: Zug, Schweiz
Products: compression, automotive, rotary, engine, safety
Sites: international in approx. 50 countries
Employees: 5,800 worldwide

The components manufacturer, which has its head office in Zug (Switzerland), operates internationally and, in 2020, generated sales exceeding EUR 1.1 billion and employed over 5,800 staff at 128 sites in 40 countries. The cornerstone of the company’s success story was laid by Hanns Hörbiger in 1895, when he created an innovative steel plate valve that enabled the further development of blast furnace technology and paved the way for modern high-pressure chemistry.

Setting standards – in warehouse logistics too

HOERBIGER’s economic success has always been based on innovations that set standards. Staff commitment and a high level of excellence with respect to products and services – not to mention management and business processes – are just as important.

The components manufacturer is standardizing its heterogeneous IT landscape as part of a long-term strategic project with a view to continuously increasing the effectiveness and transparency of its operating processes and thus its operational excellence. To this end, it is bringing as many sites as possible together in IT terms under the roof of the integrated ERP suite SAP S/4HANA. It will gradually replace existing IT systems – SAP R/3 4.7, SAP ERP (SAP ECC 6.0) and ERP solutions from other providers.

A key objective of this ambitious project is also to digitalize and optimize intralogistics processes, in order to reducing inventories along the value chain and increasing delivery reliability. For HOERBIGER, this is a business-critical and thus a competition-relevant factor. But here there was a need to catch up. Depending on the manufacturing type (made-to- order manufacturing or repetitive manufacturing), the individual plants mapped their warehouse processes either in SAP Warehouse Management (SAP WM) or in SAP Extended Warehouse Management (SAP EWM), and partly in the SAP MM module.

“The situation with regard to mobile data acquisition in the warehouse – which was performed using a variety of scanner solutions, some of which were outdated – was particularly unsatisfactory,” commented Bernd Saubach (Efficiency Manager and Global Process Expert for Production & Logistics/WM at HOERBIGER Holding AG).

The standard SAP application RFUI and a proprietary SAP Fiori development were used in SAP EWM, while an SAP partner’s mobile solution was used in SAP WM. No scanner solutions have been used in the SAP MM module to date.

ORBIS Logistics Apps for as many plants as possible

So those responsible were looking for a modern, easy-to-use in-warehouse mobile data acquisition solution that could be seamlessly integrated into SAP S/4HANA and would enable every plant to have end-to-end digital intralogistics processing – regardless of whether it used SAP WM, SAP EWM or SAP MM. Other key selection criteria included the fact that the solution had to be quickly and effortlessly adaptable to the process requirements of the HOERBIGER plants in question and support all common mobile devices and operating systems. Using the proprietary SAP Fiori development based on SAP S/4HANA – which is used in several plants that work with SAP EWM – was out of the question, because it was too rigid in terms of individual adjustments. Furthermore, the development of new functions and menus is not one of the company’s core competencies.

Source Photo: © Hoerbiger Wien GmbH

Motor Hoerbiger

HOERBIGER finally found what it was looking for in ORBIS SE’s Logistics Apps. HOERBIGER and ORBIS SE have been trusting partners in the SAP environment for many years already. The apps are fixed components of ORBIS Logistics solutions, cover the entire spectrum of logistics processes in SAP, and seamlessly integrate and work together with the SAP warehouse software in question. This and the fact that ORBIS has extensive expertise in warehouse logistics, not to mention employs a team of internationally active consultants and offers global support, were major plus points.

“On the whole, what made the ORBIS Logistics Apps so appealing was the overall package comprising migration, global support, the portfolio of templates that can be easily adapted to local requirements, and cost-effectiveness,” clarified Mr. Saubach.

„The overall package was what made ORBIS’s Logistics Apps so appealing. They cover the entire spectrum of logistics processes in SAP (MM, WM, EWM), including global support – not to mention the portfolio of templates with functions and masks that can be adapted to local requirements with extreme ease.“

Bernd Saubach, Efficiency Manager and Team Lead Global Process Expert Production & Logistics/WM, HOERBIGER Holding AG

Bernd Saubach, HOERBIGER Holding AG

So HOERBIGER also tasked the Saarbrücken-based IT service provider with implementing the mobile Logistics Apps. It did so initially at the plant in Vienna with new, up-to-date hardware during the changeover from SAP ECC 6.0 to SAP S/4HANA. There, the apps replace an SAP partner’s scanner solution, which had been adapted to local needs but was outdated, and which ORBIS had already provided support for, for many years. Although process rebuilding was also a necessary part of the implementation process, the tight six-month schedule was maintained to thanks to the cooperative partnership and direct communication between all those involved – from the project managers to the developers.

Success factor: template-supported rollout

The introduction in Vienna was the starting point for the template-supported rollout, enabling rapid implementation of the logistics apps including custom adaptations in the individual plants.

“The fact that the templates for the Logistics Apps can be easily and flexibly adapted to plant-specific requirements in terms of functions, menus and layouts by means of customizing, and without any need for costly development work, is a tremendous advantage,” explained Mr. Saubach.

An example of a solution developed especially for HOERBIGER is the delivery check app. It guarantees efficient, complete and timely processing of deliveries in compliance with all the documentation requirements, not to mention complete control of outgoing goods in shipping, because the data and images captured using mobile devices are directly available in SAP.

Additional functions and adjustments – including the likes of simplified production process feedback – have also been implemented elsewhere. There are also plans to further optimize the templates that are used for the ORBIS Logistics Apps. HOERBIGER will provide important feedback for this. This will include partially confirming warehouse tasks in the EWM block warehouse or viewing the available quantity in the EWM stock overview, thus perfecting processes even further.

The rollouts at the plant in Oberstenfeld (near Stuttgart), at two plants in Schongau (which use SAP EWM), at the plant in Brilon and, to some extent, at the US site in Massachusetts (which uses SAP WM), not to mention at the US site in Florida (which uses SAP MM), have been completed. The rollout has been initiated, or preparations are underway, at two other sites in Germany and the USA. Conversions to the mobile apps are scheduled to take place this year in plants that use the proprietary SAP Fiori development. Based on its positive experience with ORBIS and the apps for SAP warehouse logistics, HOERBIGER is now considering using the ORBIS Packaging Cockpit too.

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