When rapid company growth swamped a warehouse's order system with paper, it was time to automate, says Larry Landtiser, General Manager, Strategic Customer Operations, for ODW Logistics. The hands-free environment that voice technology enabled caused it to win out over RF.
Productivity, safety, accuracy and performance was the companys mantra back in 2005, but it was in danger of becoming an empty slogan with growth taking off the way it did. Thats because ODW Logistics was still in a manual operation and it was handling anywhere between 500 and 700 orders a day for its biggest customers. That was less than optimal by any standard, Landtiser says, and it certainly wasnt good from a safety standpoint: employees wandered around the warehouse with paper in their hands.
Radio frequency and voice systems were assessed, and both had their pluses and minuses. Voice ultimately won out, he says, because of the hands-free environment that it creates. It combined both safety and productivity, Landtiser says.
The vendor that ODW eventually went with, top-VOX Corporation in Barrington, IL, got the contract in large measure because it was assiduous in providing on-site demonstrations of how ODW could benefit with its system. It also helped that ODW was the first top-VOX customer in the U.S., and Landtiser knew they would be able to get all the support needed.
They told us they would build the system around us instead of saying that they had a box that we had to fit in, he says. They partnered in July 2006 and went online within three months.
Benefits? There are 25 percent fewer safety incidents at the work site, accuracy in picking has improved to 99.5 percent, and productivity has increased by 30 percent.