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Following successful implementation of voice technology in its frozen foods department last year, SPAR wholesaler, James Hall & Co (Southport) Ltd, is rolling out BCPs Accord voice picking system across its entire warehouse operation. James Hall is now expecting, the 350,000 investment to pay for itself in nine to 12 months as the company reaps the accuracy and productivity benefits of this powerful new technology.
James Hall is one of the UKs top ten grocery delivered wholesalers, servicing 460 independent and company owned stores across NW England.
The investment in voice picking is the latest stage in a technology revamp that has also included the introduction of radio frequency systems and web ordering. It has been prompted by a need to minimise picking errors in order to improve customer deliveries, ease out-of-stocks in retail stores and reduce the costs involved in rectifying incorrect deliveries.
way beyond our expectationsJames Hall benefits from
accuracy levels of 99.99 per cent.
The new voice system replaces a traditional paper-based pick-by-label system which had always been efficient, but, like any manual system, subject to human errora significant factor in an operation as large as Halls, where pickers assemble 2500 orders per week from over 6000 different product lines.
The voice system uses BCPs Accord voice picking solution, operating with Vocollect Talkman T2 terminals on a Symbol RF network. When fully implemented it will be used by 80 pickers across the entire warehouse operation. Supply chain solutions specialist, BCP, is delivering the full solution, including all hardware, software and services and is working with Halls in-house IT team to install it as a phased implementation
The first stagefor picking frozen foodswent live in 2004, rapidly delivering such substantial improvements that Halls quickly decided to roll the technology out across its whole operation. Cigarettes, wines and spirits went live in May and the entire ambient department should be using Voice by the end of the year. BCP will then work with James Hall to implement the system across fresh foods, where some refinements may be necessary to handle cross docking and other specifics associated with the handling of fresh produce.
Picking errors in frozen foods have fallen by 90 per cent, resulting in accuracy levels of 99.99 per cent which, as Dominic Hall, Technical Services Director at James Hall, says is way beyond our expectations and is generating enormous savings, as rectifying incorrect deliveries to retailers is expensive and time consuming.
No more paperthe voice system uses BCPs Accord voice
picking solution, operating with Vocollect Talkman T2 terminals
on a Symbol RF network.
The company believes these savings will be largely responsible for the expected nine to 12 month payback on their investment, although significant cost reductions are also coming through from other benefits such as improved stock accuracy, stationery savings and administrative efficiencies, all of which are expected to be even more substantial in the larger ambient and chilled departments.
As a technology innovator, BCP reportedly is at the forefront when it comes to applying new technologies to the food industry supply chain. Aware of the immense potential of voice technology, BCP has paid careful attention to the way it has developed its voice-enabled warehouse management system (WMS) to make its benefits available to as wide a market as possible. It can be deployed as a standalone WMS to interface to other Order Processing and Stock systems, as discrete Voice modules to interface to third party WMS or, like the implementation at James Hall, as part of a fully integrated Accord supply chain solution.