Mamas & Papas Implement Voice Technology into their Warehouse Operation

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Mamas & Papas, the UKs number one parenting brand is investing in Vocollect Voice technology to increase accuracy and productivity in their Huddersfield warehouse.

VoiteQ will initially integrate their VoiceMan middleware to Mamas & Papas in-house warehouse management system (WMS) to allow them to gain rapid benefits from the voice solution, proved by an eight week trial over the peak Christmas period.

The Voice-directed picking solution will be installed in two areas of their main Huddersfield warehouse, both the ground floor which includes general merchandise and the mezzanine with the clothing. The ground floor utilises a pick and pack operation, where products ordered are firstly picked into totes which then move on to the packing area to be prepared for despatch. The new voice solution directs the operatives to the location where the products are stored, the check digits (a section of the product code) are verbally confirmed, before the system confirms the quantity to be picked. The eight week trial in this area proved that the voice solution increased both accuracy, by the use of product check digits, and the productivity, which increased by 17%.

The mezzanine where the clothing is stored, mostly as hanging garments, used a similar pick and pack operation. The implementation of voice enabled Mamas & Papas to combine these processes, by directing the operative to pick the items required and place them directly into the carton or box for distribution, removing the requirement for the packing process. In addition to enabling the streamlining of the process, voice again provided a significant improvement in accuracy of the picking process, increasing the accuracy to 99.85%.

Chris Greenwood, I.T. Director at Mamas & Papas commented, The implementation of VoiceMan middleware enabled us to test the benefits of voice technology during our peak Christmas period, but with minimal risk to the business. With middleware simply taking a feed from our existing systems, we did not require any alterations to be made to our core system but gained additional functionality. The picksnake has proved to be a very useful tool, enabling us to easily manipulate the route that the operatives take around the warehouse to make the tour more efficient.

Gary Glessner, managing director, Vocollect Europe says; The nursery equipment market is extremely competitive and subject to very tight profit margins.  Voice picking introduces immediate cost savings for retailers by ensuring the quickest and most accurate delivery of stock from warehouse to store.  Further more, in addition to pre-determined purchases, many prospective parents are subject to high-value impulse purchases, so it is vital that stock is available at all times.
The VoiteQ solution, built using Vocollect Voice technology, comprises a wearable Voice computer, Talkman T5, running Vocollects Voice Client Voice recognition software attached to a securely fastened belt and headset worn by the employee.  This enables interaction between the user and the in-house WMS via VoiceMan middleware. Operatives can work completely hands and eyes free by receiving picking commands from the WMS, via the plug-in headset and the mobile Voice device; the system literally talks the operative through their task.

Greenwood concluded, The flexibility of VoiteQs solutions has worked really well for us, allowing us to gain the benefits of voice via middleware whilst we develop our new in-house WMS. We look forward to working in partnership with VoiteQ to create a native voice interface into our new WMS, their knowledge and experience in this area will no doubt prove to very useful over the coming months.

David Stanhope, VoiteQs CEO commented We are pleased that VoiteQ can add another major UK brand to our list of voice customers. Being able to implement a voice trial quickly and easily enables us to prove the benefits that voice can bring to an operation, as demonstrated by Mamas and Papas trial results. This provides the operation with the confidence to fully implement a voice solution and statistics to prove the return on investment.

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