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Lecasud, founded in 1981, is a privately owned co-operative retail company which centrally co-ordinates buying, procurement and supply to 35 stores in south east France. Lecasud operates in the retail sector with an extensive product catalogue of 12,000 SKUs (grocery, beverages and alcohol, hardware, perfumes, cosmetics and hygiene, household cleaning, general merchandise, fruit and vegetables, frozen goods, ...). Leclercs operates central buying from two warehouses of 23100 m. The 100,000 sq metre warehouse moves 700,000- 750,000 pallets a year.
Leclerc Lecasud, the central buying and distribution group of E. Leclerc in the south of France, who are already an Aldata customer for central head-office and warehousing operations including voice operation on voice-dedicated terminals, decided to implement the Aldata G.O.L.D. Vocal solution in a PDA environment for all order preparations its dry goods warehouse. Warehouse operators use PDA terminals with headsets to receive and transmit voice commands to the Warehouse Management System, which has complete visibility of the operators and the warehouse stock and is able to direct order preparation missions in real-time to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity.
The Leclerc Lecasud warehouse of approximately 100 000 m2 delivers between 700000 and 750000 pallets every year to 35 stores in South-Eastern France. These need to be delivered on time, which implies the use of the most relevant warehouse management solutions in order to be able to provide E. Leclerc stores with high-quality reliable deliveries. Leclerc Lecasud needed a solution which can improve order preparations in terms of time and reliability. Leclerc Lecasud also wanted to reduce warehouse operational costs and improve its productivity.
Aldata proposed to Leclerc Lecasud a software solution for voice order preparations (G.O.L.D. Vocal) which enables to use the whole multi-modal functionalities offered by PDAs: data capture (voice, keyboard, bar codes, RFID) and restitution (voice, screen, RFID). Leclerc Lecasud has been using Aldatas G.O.L.D. Vocal module for several years with voice-dedicated terminals for its order preparation activities in its fresh and frozen product warehouse. In extending its vocal technology environment for grocery and household cleaning products, the French retailer decided to opt for the new environment of G.O.L.D. Vocal: the PDA.
The voice solution implemented by Aldata on the Motorola WT4090 PDA helps Leclerc Lecasud to meet the objectives of the business challenge described above.
- Enables order preparations to be effected more quickly than with paper-based operations
- Reduces paper and administrative costs
- Increases productivity as more order preparation missions can be effected in the same time as for paper-based order preparation missions
- Enables enhanced levels of quality control as the warehouse operators perform hands-free, eyes-free operations
- Reduces operator training costs
This advanced technology has brought other advantages:
- The voices of the preparation operators no longer have to be initially recorded for identification purposes, saving time and costs for temporary and seasonal personnel
- The multi-mode voice and data functions of the Motorola WT4090 mobile terminal provide preparation operators with one unique terminal to carry out different tasks alternating between voice and traditional barcode reading.
This solution is particularly innovative as the market for warehousing voice solutions has been almost covered by voice-dedicated terminals in France, Europe and the USA. This is the first successful implementation of a non-voice-dedicated but a PDA solution with a major retailing group who are ranked 21st (in terms of retail sales) in the global Top 30 retailers.
The first step of the project was to choose the equipment best suited to the workplace. G.O.L.D. Vocal offers a wide choice of equipment from different manufacturers. Preparation operators have tested, under real conditions of use, various equipment qualified by Aldata and made their choice by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the various solutions proposed. After choosing the equipment, it was necessary to proceed with the WIFI coverage of the site and to supply the equipment. The preparation operators were trained without any productivity loss because training was carried out in the field under real conditions of use. G.O.L.D. Vocal coexists with other modes of preparation (paper, Radio). The preparation operators are trained on-the-job without disturbance on the site. The implementation is carried out at a rate chosen by the customer.
Significant benefits result from the implementation of the solution:
- Quality of Customer Service: the rate of order preparation errors has been reduced by 8
- Warehouse Productivity: productivity gains are of the order of 12%
- Operator Training: a voice-dedicated solution requires an initial voiceprint per operator in order to subsequently identify each operator. Aldatas G.O.L.D. Vocal on PDA works on speech recognition techniques and thus no voiceprint is required. This enables operators to be operational immediately (no pre-identification required) and is also highly effective and cost-beneficial for seasonal and temporary operators.
- Warehouse Operational Costs: the full ROI, when compared with the paper-based operations, is expected to be gained within 8 to 15 months. A significant portion of this is on target to be achieved within 12 months.
- Protection of existing investments in voice solutions: Leclerc Lecasud can use Aldatas G.O.L.D. Vocal on PDA in its dry goods warehouse whereas they have other warehouses in a voice-dedicated environment.
While selecting a PDA voice solution and not a voice-dedicated solution, E. Leclerc has positioned itself as an early adopter and has passed a very strong message to the retail and supply chain market.