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UK retailer, Sainsbury's, has added the VoiceMan MOVER Warehouse Operations application to its initial implementation of the VoiceMan middleware picking solution from VoiteQ, incorporating Vocollect Voice technology. Voice-picking was installed at three of its distribution centres in 2008, the success of the technology has led to Sainsbury's investing further into VoiteQ's VoiceMan solutions.
The initial challenge was to create a brand new solution from the ground up, to meet challenging timescales, but without detriment to the quality of the end product. For this project to be a success the availability of key personnel was essential, this often required a full time investment from the project team, which consisted of members from both Sainsbury's and VoiteQ. The implementation of VoiteQ's middleware enabled this additional functionality to be integrated into the current business processes, pain-free and with little or no business impact, including zero downtime for Sainsbury's deliveries from the warehouse.
Colin Smith, Sainsbury's Logistics Systems Manager, comments, "With the use of the middleware solution, VoiteQ have implemented their VoiceMan solution into Sainsbury's Distribution Centres (DCs) with minimal disruption to our day-to-day business. A large part of the success of the implementation was down to the capabilities and flexibility of VoiteQ. They have exceeded our expectations."
Following on from the success of the initial voice-picking project, Sainsbury's decided to utilise VoiteQ's knowledge and experience for creating real time RF solutions, to make improvements elsewhere in their operations. An application has been created, utilising the existing RF network within the warehouse, to interface with truck mounted terminals running VoiteQ's VoiceMan MOVER Warehouse Operations application. VoiceMan MOVER allows Fork Lift Truck operatives to carry out Putaway, Replenishment, Pallet Moves and Stock counts all on a 'Real Time' basis, interacting with Picking to provide just in-time replenishments, and therefore ensuring high availability, on a batch-based legacy WMS. All achieved with no significant modifications to the incumbent system. VoiceMan MOVER now manages stock movement tasks in a number of several Sainsbury's DCs.
Colin Smith continues, "The project was a real partnership effort, in fact it was frequently impossible to tell who was working for Sainsbury's and who was working for VoiteQ. I believe this 'one team' approach ensured the continued success of the project. The DCs using VoiceMan MOVER continue to be impressed with how easy, reliable and intuitive the system is for the warehouse colleagues' providing optimal use of reach trucks to warehouse locations."
David Stanhope, VoiteQ's CEO concludes, "We have provided Sainsbury's with innovative solutions which directly support their ability to provide exceptional service to its customers, whilst also achieving the planned Return on Investment with the added benefit of the RF equipment utilised being future solutions proof.
At VoiteQ we are always happy to test our skills in creating new solutions for warehouse operations. Sainsbury's requirement for the use of real time applications with their forklift trucks gave us the opportunity to expand our expertise, an opportunity which I am pleased to say we achieved successfully, on time and on budget."