Look Who’s Talking

Millions of cartons and products are picked each day in order fulfilment applications using voice-directed computing.

The hands-free, eyes free approach to order picking has quickly become a preferred order fulfilment solution for distributors around the world, saving thousands of dollars through enhanced order picking productivity and in the costs associated with rectifying picking errors every day.

Voice-directed computing prompts the operator through a series of tasks with clear, verbal commands. These are transmitted in real-time by a radio frequency (RF) system that interfaces with the user’s host platform, typically a WMS or ERP system.

The operator wears a small headset and the lightweight, portable voice-computer is attached to a belt around their waist. This keeps both hands free at all times while picking and, because the operator doesn’t need to waste time looking at and reading the data on a screen or picking list, this enhances OH&S and substantially increases productivity.

At Dick Smith Electronics (DSE) national distribution centre at Chullora in Sydney, the introduction of Voice Picking has well and truly exceeded expectations, delivering a 22%+ productivity gain and rapid ROI.

Alan Hicks, National Supply Chain Manager, Dick Smith Electronics, says: “Since introducing Voice Picking we have significantly reduced the cost per pick, and actually lowered our overall labour costs despite increasing throughput. Better job satisfaction and OH&S is a real bonus too.”

Trans-Tasman fashion and home décor catalogue distributor EziBuy has also achieved phenomenal results since introducing Voice Picking in its new DC at Palmerston North, New Zealand. In the largest application of Split-Case Voice Picking technology in New Zealand, EziBuy increased picking productivity from an average of 38 lines/person/hour to 89, and up to 160 in fast pick zones.

“EziBuy’s people took to Voice Picking very quickly. The feedback is always the same. They all love the hands and eyes-free picking opportunity that Voice Picking delivers,” says NZ logistics consultant responsible for the project, Scott Kerr, Managing Director, Kerrect Logistics (NZ).

In a different application of Voice Directed Computing, Melbourne-based discount variety retailer, The Reject Shop (TRS), is using the technology to facilitate a batch picking and “Put” order picking process.

In traditional retail distribution centres, the typical practice is to assemble a complete store order at a time. The Reject Shop has turned that principle on its head and instead of carting the entire order around the DC and picking products, TRS batch picks all of a single product for all orders at the one time, and then allocates the required stock for each store in a Voice Directed “Put” process.

“Using Voice Picking as the enabler for our ‘Put’ picking process has delivered excellent productivity gains, improved accuracy, reduced costs and increased throughput,” said The Reject Shop’s Logistics Manager, Philip Beckett.

Dematic’s Nathan Taylor will present detailed case studies on Voice Picking applications in Australia and New Zealand including Dick Smith Electronics, The Reject Shop and EziBuy (see sidebar for details).

Hear the latest information on:

• How Voice Directed Computing works

• How the benefits of hands-free/eyes-free technology delivers results in Logistics and Supply Chain applications

• How new hardware, software and interfacing techniques have greatly reduced the cost and complexity of systems integration

• Live demonstrations of Voice Directed Computing.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to find out why Voice Directed Computing offers the best business case in business, with ROIs from as little as six months.

Venue, Date & Time

Wellington: Thursday, August 23, Duxton Hotel, 170 Wakefield St, Wellington

Auckland: Friday, August 24, Langham Hotel, 83 Symonds St, Auckland

Brisbane: Monday, August 27, Queensland Cricketers Club, 411 Vulture St, East Brisbane

Melbourne: Tuesday, August 28, The Event Centre, 448 Epsom Rd, Flemington

Sydney: Wednesday, August 29, Waterview Convention Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park

Time: 7:30am for 8:00am start. Seminars conclude at 9:00am.

Further information: Dematic Pty Limited, 24 Narabang Way, Belrose, NSW 2085, Australia. Tel: +61 2 9486 5555. Fax: +61 2 9486 5511.

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