A new era started in the slot machine sector on 11 November 2018: the new Technical Guidelines (TR) 5.0 compelled all the gaming machine companies to replace their one-armed bandits with new TR 5.0 devices or convert them accordingly by this date. This required enormous logistics efforts by the manufacturing companies, because many operators wanted to literally wait until the very last minute before completing the switch.
LÖWEN ENTERTAINMENT and Rhenus High Tech have already been working together in a partner-like manner for twelve years. “That was a huge advantage, because Rhenus is familiar with the market, our products and our customers’ needs,” Michael Elzer, Head of Supply Chain Management and Logistics at LÖWEN ENTERTAINMENT, emphasised.
Rhenus High Tech had driven to the delivery addresses of LÖWEN customers within a time frame of just three months by the deadline in November and replaced more than 40,000 NOVO and Crown brand slot machines. 400 technicians also converted existing devices.
Founded in Braunschweig 70 years ago, LÖWEN ENTERTAINMENT is the oldest company in the German gaming sector. The firm’s headquarters are now located in Bingen am Rhein. Its core business focuses on developing, manufacturing and selling slot machines. LÖWEN ENTERTAINMENT is the parent company of the LÖWEN Group, which has been part of Europe’s leading gaming technology group NOVOMATIC since 2003.
Gaming machines that meet the Technical Guidelines 5.0 (TR 5.0) are the only ones that it has been permissible to use in Germany since 11 November 2018. The statutory requirements help to protect players and young people. The maximum losses and gains per hour have been reduced, for example, and a maximum betting amount button and other breaks have been introduced.
The distribution network expanded to 51 business sites
LÖWEN and Rhenus had already been working on the concept and preliminary planning for the project since the beginning of last year to ensure that all the devices could be completely replaced punctually by the deadline. They identified the number of business sites, vehicles and trips that they would need, for example – both to deliver the automatic machines and handle the returns.
We coordinated matters very closely with LÖWEN, completed the storage and loading work and handled the organisation and management of the transport capacity needed to move the units to the depots,” Franz Kronschnabl, Managing Director of Rhenus Midi Data, reports. To achieve this, it was necessary to pick up new machines from two warehouses, one near Hamburg and one near Bingen am Rhein. The units were then transported to Rhenus Midi Data depots and to sites operated by partners that had been specially selected for the project.
With the help of these partners, Rhenus Midi Data was able to increase its distribution network to 51 business locations in all. This was the only way of ensuring that the largest project in the hightech vending & gaming sector so far could be completed at all.
Local training courses for 100 employees
However, that was not the whole story. Rhenus trained more than 100 delivery crews as early as May and June. Outstanding quality management was the top priority here. As 95 percent of the procedures were handled electronically, almost every vehicle that was used was given a tablet for the project. “We used a mobile task force training truck to show the drivers how they could reliably handle the units during deliveries and for returns, deal with the packaging guidelines, operate the tablets and which contact points existed if any problems like vehicle breakdowns, delays or damage occurred,” Franziska Bonk, Overall Project Manager at Rhenus High Tech, explains. The project team monitored the quality management issues.
The logistics work was then ramped up from October onwards. Local transport vehicles were used to deliver the units from the nearest regional depot, where the new gaming machines had been stockpiled. Two-man handling crews started as many as 180 trips every day. The teams delivered up to 2,000 slot machines all over Germany per day – from the Baltic Sea coast to the Alps, from amusement arcades to snack bars.
Rhenus High Tech is the market leader for distribution and installation services in Europe through its Rhenus Midi Data company. Its services include installation, unit replacement, updates, cleaning and repair work, data management and dismantling & disposing of devices. It particularly focuses on sectors like vending & gaming, banking & retail, IT & data storage as well as fitness and wellness.
The project wins the Rhenus Sales Award
Hydraulic lifts and electrical stair climbers were used to transport the gaming machines safely to their place of use; some of them were up to two metres high and weighed about 180 kilos. “There were many challenges. In addition to individual preferred dates, there were height restrictions for vehicles in historical city centres, for example, or special delivery times in pedestrian zones and shopping malls,” Franziska Bonk reports. An extensive checklist was meticulously worked through for pick-ups too and it recorded elements like components that were inserted or any damage that had occurred, for example.
The dedication shown by all involved paid off. “We promised our customers an all-round, full service package and were able to fulfil this, thanks to the support from Rhenus High Tech. The implementation by the deadline was very efficient and worked out fantastically well,” says Arthur Stelter, Head of the TR 5.0 project group at LÖWEN, summarising matters. The dimension of the project was also very important for the Rhenus Group. As a result, key account manager, Tobias Wagner, who represented the whole team at Rhenus High Tech that coped with the LÖWEN project, received the 2018 Rhenus Sales Award.