Harper Collins Success Story

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Company Profile

With a heritage stretching back nearly 200 years, HarperCollins is one of the worlds foremost English-language publishers.  HarperCollins has offices in the US, Canada, the UK, India, China and Australia with global revenues of over $1 billion every year.  HarperCollins UK publishes more than 1,200 books a year and employs around 1000 people in London, Glasgow and Cheltenham. 

The Voice Story

HarperCollins is at the forefront of creative innovation in publishing.  They were the first trade publisher to digitise its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand and generate additional business opportunities. 

Their UK supply chain strategy is not only leading-edge, but also a source of additional business income.  HarperCollins operate a modern 750,000 square foot facility near Glasgow, Scotland.  From here the company distributes not only its own titles to hundreds of outlets in the UK and worldwide but also acts as a distributor for the books of some 14 other publishing houses.

By leveraging our distribution capabilities, we enable our customers to concentrate on their areas of competence in the publishing industry, notes Mike Levaggi, Supply Chain Director at HarperCollins.  Its a win-win situation for all concerned, but we at HarperCollins do need to keep on our toes and provide excellent service.

Levaggi and his team devised a strategy to take their service levels even higher through the introduction of Voxwares voice software product, Voxware 3.  Workers interact with the Voxware system via Motorola WT4090 devices, which are voice-enabled and certified by Voxware to achieve nearly flawless speech recognition.

We can ship as many as 3 million books every week, says Levaggi.  A major part of our work involves batch-picking thousands of books, which are then introduced into a sortation system.  Before implementing Voxware 3 we relied on paper pick sheets, and although our output standards were high, we had to spend too much time resolving batch picking errors before we could be confident that we had assembled the correct titles.

After deploying Voxware 3, our error rate was massively reduced, and we are getting more throughput because there are almost no errors to research.  This has enabled us to deploy our staff more efficiently and has led us to raise our KPIs for picking.  Our workers have come to rely on the Voxware system, and I can safely say that nobody would want to return to paper picking.

New Voice Applications Beyond Picking

After the successful implementation of voice to the batch-picking area, Levaggi and his team extended the use of voice to support replenishment and bulk moving operations.  This was accomplished through the configuration of new voice workflows within the Voxware 3 software.

We saw an opportunity to extend voice into other areas, and thereby achieve a greater benefit, noted Anne Steel, Supply Chain Development Manager.  We are very pleased with the adaptability of Voxware 3, and the flexibility it gives us in tailoring the voice technology to our operation.  We were able to make adjustments quickly and with little disruption.

Both HarperCollins and Voxware approached the voice project as an integrated and unified team.  The results have been fantastic and are a credit to everyone who worked on the deployment.

Quick Facts:

Objective:  Improve accuracy to eliminate bottlenecks caused by batch picking errors.  Also, integrate voice into more operations beyond picking.

 Voxware 3 Batch-picking, Replenishment, Transfer Applications
 Motorola WT4090 terminal

 99.98% pick accuracy
 Increased productivity
 Better use of staff resources


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