Life cycle costs of intralogistics systems

Global competition and constantly increasing cost pressure demand consistent optimization of profitability within all areas of the company. In this context, the cost-related consideration of intralogistics is increasingly proving to be a decisive factor. Intralogistics systems can represent a competitive factor in so far as they secure the internal material and information flow and thus enable a successful supply chain. This results in high demands on the availability and economic efficiency of these systems on the part of both the manufacturer and the operator.

Although a large part of the total costs incurred over the service life and thus essential parts of the economic optimisation potential of intralogistics systems can be attributed to the actual operating phase, the investment decision is nevertheless often made solely on the basis of the acquisition costs. This reduction to initial costs means that there is a risk of ignoring essential parameters, such as the cost of repairs or energy consumption, and of preferring a suboptimal alternative that is less sustainable over the entire life cycle when making the investment decision. The central cause of this problem, however, is not seen in the lack of knowledge about the approach of life cycle costing, but in the necessity of a generally valid life cycle cost model for intralogistics.

The objective of the project is the development of a life cycle cost model for intralogistic systems. On the basis of a holistic, adaptive and thus applicable calculation structure for all system components, the model is to cover all costs of intralogistic systems incurred over the life cycle and represent them with the help of well-founded calculation functions. The model will continue to be implemented in a software tool. A structured processing of the weak points and potentials identified within the framework of model creation and implementation as well as the derivation of concrete recommendations for action round off the project and offer a defined starting point for further practice-oriented processing of the presented topic.

In addition to the calculation of life cycle costs, the model also takes into account failure costs, technical availability in accordance with VDI 3581 and maintenance-oriented project planning. Between the mentioned fields of investigation there are dependencies and interactions, which are of considerable importance in the context of a system analysis and a system comparison and are therefore included in the investigation. Thus, a transparent understanding of costs is already created during the conception and project planning of the systems.

The processing of the project is divided into five work packages. After clarifying the project goals, the first work package identifies the relevant life cycle cost types of intralogistics systems. The term "relevant" refers to the fact how a certain life cycle cost type acts as a "lever" for the total life cycle costs in the planning phase or how the amount of a life cycle cost type can be described in relation to the total life cycle costs of the intralogistics system. Within this work package, the first step is to classify the cost elements with regard to their temporal occurrence. Subsequently, selected project calculations are used to gain insights into the structure of the life cycle costs of intralogistics systems.

Based on the identification of the relevant life cycle cost types, the second work package determines the relevant influencing variables. These can be constructive, operational or economic variables. Subsequently, a methodology is derived with which it is possible to evaluate the determined influencing variables, which are determined in the planning and project planning phase, with regard to their impact on the life cycle cost types already in the planning phase of the intralogistics system. The information available in the planning phase must be taken into account. Based on the identification of the relevant life cycle cost types and their influencing variables, which are defined during the planning and project planning phase, the calculation methods for the life cycle cost types are then defined. The calculation methods are then implemented in a life cycle cost calculation model for intralogistics systems. In work package three, the developed model is examined for its forecasting quality with regard to the total life cycle costs. This is done on the basis of a comparative calculation of target and actual costs based on a real project.

All findings from the previous work packages and the developed model are summarized in work package four. The model itself is converted into a software tool for practical application. In the fifth work package, the software tool is evaluated with regard to applicability and forecasting accuracy and improvement potentials are derived.

  • Jungheinrich AG

This project was funded by Dr. Friedrich Jungheinrich-Stiftung.