INFORMATION: Free information is available from CHESS on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

Voice and RF-directed operations can now be implemented easily and quickly on existing warehouse management or ERP applications using the new Empirica Enabler from Chess Logistics Technology.

Empirica Enabler provides a sophisticated interface between an existing application and voice and RF hardware to deliver real-time warehouse management with minimal customisation, no extra middleware and no need to upgrade or replace legacy systems.

"Empirica Enabler allows existing WMS and ERP users to implement voice and RF without major reconfiguration of their current systems," says Alex Mills, Marketing Director at Chess Logistics Technology. "This will be attractive to WMS and ERP users who have identified the benefits of voice but who cannot justify the cost of totally replacing or upgrading existing applications."

One of the major drawbacks to implementing sophisticated real time solutions is that their functionality is usually tightly bound to a core application, quite often an alternative WMS solution. This makes it very difficult to introduce voice or RF without major software rework or replacement. The main option for users has been to use middleware to provide an interface between existing systems and whatever voice hardware they selected. These "solutions" have filled a gap in the market but have not necessarily offered the level of functionality that an integral WMS real-time solution can provide.

This limitation is removed by new Empirica Enabler because it has been designed as a standalone module to provide enhanced WMS capability and provide an interface to manage real-time, two-way communication between any existing WMS or ERP and voice and RF hardware equipment. It is based on the same modular software that has been successfully deployed by Chess to voice and RF-enable a number of high-profile customers. Figures compiled by Chess show that these customers have achieved significant increases in picking productivity, around 20-30 per cent over manual methods, and extremely high accuracy, well in excess of 99.9 per cent. Additional benefits include reducing non-productive time, paperwork and administration, and improving health and safety, labour flexibility and employee satisfaction.

Empirica Enabler receives files electronically from an existing application and converts them into scheduled tasks for completion with mobile voice or RF equipment. It schedules warehouse tasks automatically by priority and proximity, working within definable rules which determine where and how work can be done to create real-time solutions that ensure process discipline is maintained. The system is extremely flexible and allows for varied levels of responsibility and supervisor intervention. It can handle exclusion, dual cycling and multi-level bar code verification.
The flexibility supported by Empirica Enabler means, for example, that staff can be allocated to pick, putaway or replenishment tasks (or any combination) to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency. The application ensures that items are handled in an ever-changing sequence dictated by evolving schedules and workloads. Completed individual tasks are confirmed to the host system in real-time. In this way Empirica Enabler offers a sophisticated task management solution based on proven technology from an experienced supplier. Excellent productivity analysis and work in progress reporting are included as standard.

In addition to its voice-enabling capabilities Empirica Enabler can be used to RF-enable systems where hand-held or truck-mounted terminals may be more appropriate solutions. It is designed to work with all types and combination of RF device, including dedicated voice hardware and the new dual-purpose, hand-held devices being introduced into the market. This versatility means that customers can introduce a combination of voice-enabled and conventional RF equipment to support complete operational flexibility in the warehouse.

Chess Logistics Technology Limited ( has provided software for logistics and distribution applications for more than twenty years and is recognised as a specialist in its field. The company has an extensive client list of national and international companies.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from CHESS on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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