WHSmith PLC is expanding its use of Voice-Directed Work deployment in its travel division

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This follows the impressive benefits the company has seen during the past four years of using VoiteQ's voice solutions, based on the Vocollect Voice­ offering. 

WHSmith Travels customer base has increased dramatically over the last 12 months, with the introduction of WHSmiths stores within UK service stations. The increase in sales with these additional stores has had a significant impact on the companys travel distribution centre in Holford, with a 30 per cent increase in stores being serviced by the centre. In order to maintain its high service levels, WHSmith is increasing its existing number of voice computers by 50 per cent.

Increased productivity

WHSmith first implemented VoiteQs VoiceMan middleware and Vocollect Voice in late March 2004. The voice solution interfaces into WHSmiths existing warehouse management systems (WMS) and operates Vocollects belt-mounted, wearable computer. Operatives can work completely hands- and eyes-free by receiving picking commands from the WMS to a plug-in headset and the computer; the system literally talks the operative through their task. The voice-directed application typically delivers accuracy levels exceeding 99.9 per cent and greatly increases productivity one of the key drivers behind WHSmiths latest deployment of the technology. 

Jim McCafferty, site manager for WHSmith, commented: Weve witnessed significant improvements to picking accuracy and productivity by using voice technology. As the workload in the DC increased, we knew the best solution to help us to cope, was to expand our use of voice within the warehouse. The additional voice computers will be Vocollect's Talkman T5, which is an upgrade from the existing T2 computers that was installed 4 years ago. WHSmith continues to gain significant benefits from using its existing voice devices, which has led to the purchase of the additional Talkman units.

Quick response

Weve always found the VoiteQ team great to work with, they respond to our issues quickly and efficiently, and they are always willing to help, developing a solution to meet our specific needs, concluded McCafferty. Were looking forward to expanding our use of voice technology and our work with VoiteQ.


About WHSmith PLC

WHSmith PLC has 543 high street stores and 259 travel outlets at airport, train station and motorway service area locations across the UK, WHSmith Direct  serves customers on the internet 24 hours a day. High Street Retail sells a wide range of newspapers, magazines, stationery, books and entertainment products. Travel Retail sells a tailored range of newspapers, magazines, books and confectionery products for people on the move. WHSmith PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SMWH) and is part of the FTSE mid 250 index.

About VoiteQ

VoiteQ provides voice directed solutions enabling a hands-free and eyes-free method of warehouse picking that results in a smoother, more continuous operation, which increases productivity and accuracy. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Blackpool, UK, VoiteQ supplies fully integrated retail solutions which incorporate Business Management Systems, Warehouse Management Systems, and EpoS systems, as well as VoiceMan middleware software for voice solutions.

About Vocollect

Since 1987, Vocollect, Inc. has delivered proven performance improvements in productivity, accuracy, cost reduction and job satisfaction for mobile employees.  Vocollect Voice literally talks people through their daily tasks, replacing cumbersome lists and traditional data capture methods with hands-free, personal voice dialogs. Through a premier global network of resellers and supply chain performance experts, hundreds of thousands of people on six continents use Vocollect Voice to improve work every day. Vocollect is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., USA, and supports its clients and resellers through offices in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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