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Irish supermarket chain Superquinn has invested in excess of 400,000 with Irish Psion Teklogix partner Heavey RF to replace a label stock picking system with advanced voice picking technology. The solution also included a wireless network, handheld and forklift mounted computers and full integration into the host SAP system. To date, the system has improved Superquinns pick rate by 20% and has improved accuracy to current levels of 99.8% with further improvements expected. The system was installed in Superquinns Blanchardstown warehouse in Dublin which is managed by supply chain provider, Wincanton Logistics.
The voice system automates a formerly manual process. Electronic orders are automatically converted to speech by Psion Teklogixs MIS interface platform and are directed to the warehouse operators via a Psion Teklogix wireless network. The voice picking system helps Superquinns warehouse staff speed up the process and accuracy of stock picking.
In a competitive tender the Psion Teklogix / Heavey RF solution was selected because of their superior product, local capabilities and flexibility. Not only has the new system surpassed all our expectations but it will have paid for itself within a 12 month period, said Paul Leonard, (Voice Project Manager, Superquinn). Christmas is a very busy time for us. Stock depletion can be a concern and speedy replenishment of stock is of paramount importance. The voice picking system made Christmas seamless.
He added, We found an improvement in stock pick rates, worker productivity, accuracy, savings in stationery costs and stores are provided with accurate pallet manifests. The voice picking system also provides much greater transparency of what is happening on the shop floor. This enables us to identify and focus on the key areas for improvement.
Superquinn operates 21 stores currently mostly in Dublin and surrounding areas with plans for many more. Stores are replenished daily from its distribution centre in Blanchardstown which comprises both ambient and chilled warehouses.
The Superquinn system was a very exciting project for Heavey RF to be a part of says Ronan Clinton (Managing Director, Heavey RF). By using core competencies from Psion Teklogix with SAP integration and our local ability with voice directed systems, vehicle mounted and handheld terminals, we delivered a complete end to end solution for Superquinn. The results speak for themselves it is rewarding to prove ROI figures as quickly as we have. It further proves the use of voice picking as a no-brainer in busy warehouses
The new voice picking system provides extensive supervisory information and makes pick confirmations in real time. This has allowed Superquinn to become much more proactive in addressing any stock problems ensuring uninterrupted supply to its stores and customers.
Jason Bushe, General Manager of Wincanton says, We are extremely happy with how the voice picking system has performed to date. With our picking monitor software, it is easy to get a real time snapshot of the current status within the warehouse and make important management decisions based on the most up to the second information.
Wincanton have undertaken a major warehouse re-lay in conjunction with the voice picking project to ensure that pick slots are appropriately sized and appear at the appropriate point in the walk sequence. The voice picking system has identified pick slots which need to be moved or resized. As a result, Wincanton employees are now enjoying the benefits of an automated and simplified stock picking process, a cleaner warehouse and increased productivity.
From a technical point of view the transition from the old system to the new went smoothly and pre-go live service levels were achieved within the expected time frame, said John Farrelly (Chief Information Officer, Superquinn). Minimum training was required to enable employees to become very effective very quickly.