Connect Distribution Increase Productivity Using Voice
2 August 2010: Following a successful trial of VoiteQ’s voice-directed order picking solution Connect Distribution has decided to install the technology, which incorporates a voice-directed work solution from Vocollect. The decision to implement the solution follows an initial 20% increase in productivity, virtually no picking errors and high user acceptance during the 4 week trial.
The implementation will utilise VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware and Vocollect® wearable computers. This solution will replace Connect’s existing paper-based zone picking on conveyors, feeding the packing operation.
Each operative works in a specified zone of the conveyor, as the totes move along the conveyor through each zone the operatives are directed by the system to pick the items for that order. The system automatically generates the required labels on a belt-mounted printer and the operative is directed to place the labelled item into the correct tote on the conveyor. Once the tote has completed a full tour of the conveyor and the order is fulfilled, it is fed into the packing operation to be prepared for despatch.
Iain Priestley, Head of Operations at Connect Distribution Services says “We offer a guaranteed same day despatch on trade and premium consumer orders, and through a seamless implementation we were able to maintain these service levels. Now fully implemented, we are achieving productivity gains of over 30% which outstripped our initial expectations and reduced the return on investment period. User acceptance has been very high and as our pickers are incentivised, they are clearly delighted with the investment.”
VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware interfaces between the Vocollect Talkman T5 wearable computer and Connect’s existing in-house warehouse management system, WMS. Operatives can work completely hands and eyes free by receiving picking commands from the WMS to a plug-in headset and the computer, the system literally talks the operative through their task. The voice-directed application not only typically delivers accuracy levels exceeding 99.9%, but also increases visibility across the operation.
Priestley concludes “Voice technology has been a great success for Connect and we are already assessing the introduction of voice to other areas of the operation such as our bulk stores and stocktaking process, where we consider there to be massive potential.”
David Stanhope, VoiteQ’s CEO commented; “Voice will provide Connect Distribution with the increase in productivity that they require to enable them to meet their promise to customers of same day despatch and allow them to complete the orders faster. Not only does this improve their already high levels of customer service, but also delivers a very rapid return on their investment in voice technology.”
Gary Glessner, VP and Managing Director, Vocollect EMEA said; “Voice-directed work is ideal for distribution operations such as Connect Distribution where orders range from tiny electrical components through to heavy domestic appliances. The hands-free process makes the staff more agile and also enables them to ensure the correct lifting positions. Added to this, the ability to change pick lists simultaneously to orders coming in makes voice-directed work invaluable in a customer-collection led environment.
About Connect Distribution
The group consists of Connect Distribution Services Ltd, Buyspares, Repaircare & Wellco. The latter three have been added to the group separately, as established businesses within their relevant sectors.
The group specialises in component and accessory distribution for both White and Brown goods, but also offers a comprehensive range of Small & Major domestic appliances. In addition to distribution, the group also specialises in managing warranty & insurance repair contracts, utilising independent service providers all linked via web based software.
The group stocks around 120,000 stock lines, has over 16,000 active customers, distributes for over 100 original equipment manufacturers, and a myriad of other support suppliers. It processes on average over 180,000 lines per month. We currently hold both life time and working stocks, on consignment, for a number of manufacturers who wish to outsource their parts distribution function. Our capability means that we can offer a full aftersales service, including call centre, warranty repair and procurement management, of which any service function can be tailored to match individual requirements.
VoiteQ provides industry leading voice directed solutions enabling hands-free and eyes-free warehouse picking, resulting in a smoother, more continuous operation, increasing productivity and accuracy.
VoiteQ is the UK’s leading supplier of voice directed distribution systems, having supplied hardware, software, services or support to the majority of UK warehouses which have voice implementations.
VoiteQ supplies fully integrated retail solutions which incorporate Business Management Systems, Warehouse Management Systems, and EPoS systems, as well as VoiceMan, the UK’s leading middleware software for voice solutions.
Part of the CentriQ Group.
Since 1987, Vocollect, Inc. has delivered proven performance improvements in productivity, accuracy, cost reduction and job satisfaction for mobile employees. Vocollect Voice literally talks people through their daily tasks, replacing cumbersome lists and traditional data capture methods with hands-free, personal voice dialogs. Through a premier global network of resellers and supply chain performance experts, hundreds of thousands of people on six continents use Vocollect Voice to improve work every day. Vocollect is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S.A., and supports its clients and resellers through offices in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Vocollect®, Vocollect Voice®, and Voice-Directed Work® are trademarks of Vocollect, Inc. All rights reserved.
For further information please contact:
Marketing Manager, VoiteQ
Tel: +44 (0)8744 38940 322