Maximizing DC/warehouse utilization and consistently maintaining peak performance are common goals shared by operations. This starts with identifying and evaluating your unique business requirements and addressing your most common challenges with solutions that will consistently deliver required outcomes.
As a small- to medium-sized operation, you are subject to numerous external factors that affect every level of the supply chain, such as customer expectations, product proliferation, expanding networks and the pace of innovation.
In this article, we would like to introduce you to five organizations that have chosen Honeywell Voice and discuss the results they have seen.
Huddle House: Atlanta, Georgia
Business: Huddle House is an Atlanta-based restaurant chain, which operates 350 locations in 23 states.
Situation: Huddle House has a 70,000 square-foot DC in Atlanta that serves as the restaurant chain’s single distribution point. It houses about 650 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in three different temperature zones — ambient, cooler and freezer — and ships roughly 60,000 pieces per week. The company was using radio frequency (RF) scan-based technology to direct its fulfillment operations. Workers were finding it increasingly difficult to meet speed and accuracy standards with that system; the company ultimately chose to overhaul it to a voice-directed system. Requirements included:
- It had to integrate easily with the DC’s existing warehouse management system (WMS), High Jump Warehouse Edge System.
- It had to be quick and easy for staffers to learn.
Solution: Huddle House chose Honeywell Voice, represented by their partner Voiteg, because of the hands-free nature of the technology. The implementation and execution of voice into its WMS were swift and seamless. Although Huddle House allocated a month and a half for the rollout, the team was trained and assimilated the system into its WMS within a few days.
- Workers who had used the RF scanners were trained in one hour.
- Picking errors dropped by 53% after shifting to the new system, bringing its picking accuracy rates up to 99.999%.
Coastal Pet Products: Alliance, Ohio
Business: Coastal Pet Products is a manufacturer of pet restraints and a distributor of pet products.
Situation: Coastal Pet Products ships to distributors, small and large retail stores, and is now expanding into e-commerce. The company seeks to turn orders within 24 to 48 hours, depending on if the buyer is a consumer, store or distributor. They originally worked with paper-based picking, but that made it difficult for management to grasp what everybody was doing and tied up an operator’s hands. The system was laden with errors, and it took six weeks to train a picker on the different products and where they were located.
Solution: Coastal Pet Products chose Honeywell Voice, which has provided:
- Enhanced visibility for operations to know where people are picking, what operations they can do, and how to direct their workflow
- Increased picking accuracy to 99.8%
- The ability to be more efficient across the operation and maintain a high level of customer service
- 20–25 minutes to train new associates
- A700x devices allow associates to simply pick up and go with no training required
Aliaxis: Kent, England
Business: Aliaxis, a global leader in the production and distribution of advanced plastic piping systems, is responsible for the entire journey of the manufactured product, from the factory to the warehouse, through to order picking and fulfillment and ultimately the final delivery of completed orders to their customers.
Situation: For more than 20 years, the Aliaxis warehouse process was managed with a paper-based system, which was prone to ever-increasing human errors in accuracy and customer service complaints because of inaccurate deliveries. After careful internal evaluation, Aliaxis decided to bring in a fully automated system that would:
- Improve picking, consolidation and loading processes
- Integrate seamlessly with Aliaxis’ Microsoft Dynamics Warehouse Management System
- Help reduce human errors and increase traceability
- Allow reliable electronic proof of delivery (ePoD) and improve customer satisfaction levels
Solution: Aliaxis’ research led them to Honeywell Voice. There were two parts to the solution that were deployed across a 5G network:
- Warehouse and Yard. The picking, consolidation and fulfillment solution included eSmart® Voice running on Honeywell A710 Talkman devices coupled with SRX2 cordless headsets. Each device is equipped with a unique location identifier, allowing the workforce to accurately receive and follow instructions through the speech recognition headset for picking the correct items in the warehouse and in the yard, where large items are stored. Picked items are also scanned for order completion on delivery vehicles.
- The ePoD portion of the solution came from eSmart ePoD software, which was included on Honeywell CT50 mobile computers. This combination is used in vehicle cabs for tracking and delivery of orders, including signature capture.
The eSmart Voice software, working in conjunction with eSmart ePoD, manages the entire solution pick to delivery, which includes dashboards for easy reporting and process management.
Business benefit: The Honeywell solution, coupled with Aliaxis’ logistical and fulfillment process improvements, delivered a plethora of real-time, sustainable results that included:
- Improved customer service and delivery statistics. There has been a 40% improvement in consignments and deliveries that are accurate the first time. Overall, there has been a 34% reduction in queries from customers and an 80% reduction in complaints regarding shortages.
- Real-time dashboards and up-to-date reporting drive value for staff and customers. Dashboards give staff a true snapshot of warehouse daily workloads and provide customers visibility into their orders and deliveries.
- ePoD solution automates labor-intensive processes. The ePoD solution enables clear and accurate signature capture for goods received, with a clear time and geographical time stamp.
- Worker satisfaction. With an hour’s training, the operators can use the system autonomously.
- Stable, robust solution. From day one, Aliaxis found the solution to be stable and worry-free. Plans are being made to expand the solution to their Scottish division.
Jordano’s, Inc.: Santa Barbara, California
Business: Jordano’s, Inc. is a family- and employee-owned foodservice and beverage distribution company, serving approximately 1,700 customers in California. Originally founded as a grocery chain, the company transitioned its focus to distribution in the 1970s and today has annual sales topping $142 million company-wide, employing more than 200 people across its operations.
Situation: The company’s orders are fulfilled primarily through its DC in Santa Barbara. The 100,000 square-foot facility processes upward of 14,000 SKUs six days per week across three shifts. The company was using a double paper/label process that was causing accuracy issues. Order fulfillment was becoming increasingly complicated due to governmental mandates for traceability. They were experiencing an average of one error per 1,000 cases.
Solution: Jordano’s was able to review the technology and visit other voice installations within grocery and food distribution. They chose Honeywell Voice and deployed voice, starting in the freezer, moving to the cooler, and then to dry goods. After they deployed across all areas, they commented that they should have deployed all areas at once.
Since incorporating voice, workers now average one error per 14,000 cases — representing a phenomenal 93% reduction in errors (up to 99.995% picking accuracy). Work improved from picking 135 cases per hour to 160, representing a 19% boost in productivity. Per a company representative, “Our salespeople tell prospects now, ‘We pick with Honeywell Voice, so you are virtually guaranteed a perfect delivery.’”
With the accurate tracking of individual performance and order fulfillment that voice provides, traceability has become much easier. Now management can pinpoint who picked what order, in what quantity, at what time and date, and where the worker was stationed at the time the order was fulfilled. This breadth of information on individual performance also provides an excellent coaching tool for supervisors. The overall results were as follows:
- 93% reduction in order errors (up to 99.995% picking accuracy)
- 19% productivity improvement
- Tens of thousands of dollars saved annually through error reductions
- Training time reduced by 50%
- Reduced requirement for single-workflow pickers from 34 with paper to 24 with voice, redeploying workers where they were needed most
- Strong worker satisfaction
- Identification through voice of specific order fulfillment logistics facilitates traceability
- ROI in less than 12 months
Business: Plodine is a Croatian retail chain.
Situation: Plodine has a 10,000 square-meter central warehouse in the vicinity of Rijeka. Using a paper-based picking system, along with the warehouse management module of an ERP system, 40 operators working three shifts were processing less than 1,000 orders per day. Only the employees working in the respective area knew the exact warehouse location of items. Each colleague was a specialist for their own “product island”. Searching for articles frequently took longer when employees were ill or on holiday.
Solution: Plodine chose Honeywell Voice along with a new WMS, because of the easy learning curve and the ability of the pickers to be hands-free and eyes-free. An important effect of the new system is significantly enhanced transparency. All movements in the warehouse and the current picking process can now be followed on a screen and analyzed.
In conjunction with the new WMS, each stored article can now be easily located, which was not always the case. Having order pickers who specialize in specific areas of the warehouse is no longer necessary, as all areas of the warehouse are now mapped in the system. The same 40 operators increased order processing by eightfold to 8,000 per day.
New workers are up and running in less than hour. The system learns to recognize the pronunciation, accent and dialect of the individual employee and adjust perfectly to that individual person — rather than the other way around.
Lactalis Group: Australia
Business: Lactalis Group is a worldwide leader in the dairy industry known for maintaining the highest standards in all its products. Established in France in 1933, Lactalis now exports to more than 80 countries around the world, providing a wide variety of more than 2,000 dairy products — from milk, butter and cream to cheeses and desserts.
Situation: Lactalis Group was seeking to replace its paper-based picking operations within its DCs in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, Australia. In addition, the company was seeking to improve operational visibility and control while increasing worker productivity.
Due to the short shelf life of milk and the other perishable products that Lactalis distributes, the company has only two days to deliver product from its facilities to stores. Warehouse operators lift 18-kilogram crates and move 5.2 million liters of milk a week and must turn over their entire DC stock every 24 hours. It’s imperative that their warehouses run as efficiently as possible in order to deliver fresh dairy goods on time to their customers.
Solution: Lactalis Group chose Honeywell Guided Work for SAP Business One, for its extensive applicability throughout the company’s warehousing, distribution and fulfillment operations.
Honeywell Voice empowered warehouse operators with a hands-free picking process. Utilizing the voice system enabled workers of all experience levels to be quickly brought onboard and trained to achieve desired productivity targets. For warehouse managers, Honeywell Voice provided the abilities to control workflows in real time, access information about distribution status, and gain deep insights into their entire fulfillment operations.
Honeywell Voice transformed Lactalis’ order fulfillment process. Now, when an order drops into the system, an operator picks up the SAP transfer instructions, confirms the correct location with the check-digit, and then the system tells them to pick a certain number of crates or units. Once an operator picks the item, the voice system then confirms that the correct quantity has been picked — a process that is repeated until the order is complete.
Using this voice-directed SAP WM solution, Lactalis quickly saw increases in warehouse efficiency and productivity. Previous paper-based fulfillment processes were completed by one picker at a time. With Honeywell Voice, shipments can be allocated and distributed across multiple pickers on the floor, allowing picking to take place simultaneously.
The new system also enables real-time, two-way data flow between workers on the distribution floor and Lactalis’ WMS. This makes it easy for managers to control the flow of tasks, generate reports, and gain access to comprehensive and accurate information and insights into their operation — including checking on individual worker performance in real time.
Lactalis also optimized its DC operations by adding Honeywell Voice across all of its warehouse functions. They saw this as a key opportunity to drive continual improvement and provide higher levels of customer satisfaction.
Now operating solely on voice technology, Lactalis no longer needs to swap between different technologies, such as RF. Its warehouses have become more fluid, enabling workers to change their tasks without having to leave the warehouse floor and switch to a different technology. Key benefits have included:
- Compared to RF, voice has saved 18 seconds for every direct worker-completed action in the warehouse.
- In the first 18 months following implementation, picking productivity increased by 32%.
- Fast worker onboarding and training
- Wide applicability to DC processes
- Stock loss was reduced by AUD$170,000 in the first year.
Click here for more information about Honeywell Voice.
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