AS Watson completes UK implementation Zetes 3i Voice Solution

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Zetes, a leading pan-European systems integrator in automatic identification of goods and people, has completed the implementation of its voice logistics solution 3i Voice for the distribution warehouse of Superdrug and Savers stores, both UK subsidiaries of AS Watson.

Today, AS Watson has already equipped 270 order pickers in Netherlands, Poland and UK with Zetes 3i Voice working simultaneously. The company is convinced about the technology and investigates further implementations in Europe and even Asia.

Voice in the UK

Covering more than 750,000 sq. ft., AS Watsons new, state-of-the-art warehouse in Dunstable (UK) features as the main distribution centre for all items sold in Superdrug and Savers stores. Zetes 3i Voice solution enables the company to streamline its picking and logistics operations through the integration of wireless voice recognition technologies with its exiting warehouse management system. The contract is the biggest single site voice-based solution secured by Zetes UK to date. The project in Dunstable follows many successful auto-ID projects Zetes has implemented for AS Watson.

Auto-ID: reach optimal control over goods and time

About 3 years ago, AS Watson engaged Zetes to develop and implement a Retail Store Inventory Management System in all of its European shops. Zetes developed a system based on a wireless handheld terminal enabling work in 16 different countries, including some of AS Watsons retail-chains in Asia Pacific. Store employees of AS Watson use the terminal for all sorts of logistics in-store activity, like receiving or sending of goods, checking stocks or label printing. After 7 months, AS Watson has achieved a full return on this investment, based on a productivity gain and a reduction of error margins.

In the past, AS Watson also relied on Zetes to equip several of its logistics centers with voice logistics technology. As a first project for evaluation in 2004, Zetes installed its 3i Voice Solution in a Kruidvat distribution centre in The Netherlands (Veghel). This centre, specialized in fast moving promotional goods, was chosen because of its complex logistics processes. By eliminating paper pick lists about 900 label sheets every morning - Kruidvat has reached a full return on investment in 1.7 months (90 order pickers). Following this success, AS Watson decided to install the solution in its warehouse for Rossman in Poland (80 order pickers) and Superdrug/Savers in the UK (100 pickers).

Just like all of our ICT efforts, we see auto-ID projects as a way to connect the flow of goods and people to our central ERP-system. The main benefits we seek are increasing productivity, a minimal number of errors and most important for a retailer - have optimal control over goods and time, said Ir. Gerrit-Jan Steenbergen, Global Head of Store Systems, Group IT. With the help of our trusted partner Zetes, one of our few global suppliers, we have managed to achieve every one of these goals. Just like us, their philosophy is to think global, via standardized solutions, and to act local, via a wider spreading number of subsidiaries.

About Zetes

ZETES INDUSTRIES (Euronext Brussels: ZTS) is a leading pan-European company in the value-added solutions and services industry for Automatic Identification of Goods and People (Goods ID and People ID).  Zetes uses both emerging and mature technologies (barcode, voice recognition, RFID, smartcards, biometrics), and develops Solution Architecture Frameworks to optimise the business performance of many customers in various market segments: manufacturing, transportation, logistics, retail, healthcare, finance, telecommunication, government and public services. The Zetes group has its headquarters in Brussels, with subsidiaries in Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, the Nordic countries, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Zetes currently employs more than 700 employees (in FTEs) and generated consolidated revenues of 137.5 million in 2006.  

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