Proven financial and productivity gains have been firmly driving the supply chain logistics industry down the path of adopting Voice-directed solutions for many years now. It is, after all, the most natural and efficient way for warehouse workers to interact with technology in order to complete their task at hand. It is the only technology that allows them to keep their eyes free to ensure they are selecting the correct product, and their hands to be free from papers or handhelds so that they can quickly and safely keep products moving.
Heavey RF Group has been providing these gains to its customers through the implementation of the company's proprietary Voice-directed solution called VocalPoint for nearly 10 years now. Delivering down-to-the-second information on each operator, process, and order, VocalPoint has assisted these customers in properly managing resources and streamlining warehouse processes.
On time and within budget
This year, Health Service Executive set out with four goals to achieve in its distribution centre which is responsible for €30 million worth of stock turnover annually. The company's objectives were to increase efficiency, improve customer service, implement best-in-class technology and, most importantly, deliver the project on time and within budget.
"We needed to become more efficient, more productive and get better accuracy in our warehouse," explained Francis Mollen, assistant head of logistics & inventory management at HSE. "We went with an open tender and Heavey best suited our requirements. We need to keep ourselves as efficient as possible; that's why we decided to go with Voice-directed operations."
The company has achieved these goals, gaining flexibility and operational control over what happens on the warehouse floor. VocalPoint's customisable screens and dashboards provide at-a-glance information, enabling quick decision making. HSE is now able to watch its capacities, so that when there is an increased workload in certain areas of their warehouse, the company can direct staff to different areas without the need to be out on the floor or interrupting the pace of the workforce. "It has given the people here more of a sense of pride," continued Mollen. "They're using up to date technology to improve the service to our customer."
Heavey RF recently completed a roll-out across three sites with impressive results for Allied Logistics. In keeping with its company ethos, Allied Logistics tasked itself with two goals – One, find new ways to optimise accuracy and productivity in the business in order to drive efficiencies and improve customer service; and two, exceed industry standards with regard to technology and maintain the most comprehensive and advanced IT tools to enable employment of robust controls and remain in full control of all stock movements.
This initiative led the company to engage with Heavey RF Group, and beginning in September 2012 Allied began deploying Voice-directed logistics for picking at its Dublin site. The project started out with a focus on solely picking in the Dublin centre, however after the success was realised, it quickly grew to being rolled out across three sites; one in Dublin and two in Cork. Given the complexity surrounding the freezer environment in which the company operates, Allied Foods previously had been using a paper-based solution but soon found that with innovative deployment, the wealth of information offered by Voice would prove to increase accuracy and productivity across all sites.
The Heavey RF VocalPoint Voice Solution was perfect for Allied's freezer environments as there are inherent difficulties in working at such low temperatures. Mobile devices in a freezer environment face many challenges; however the lack of screen, keyboard and scanning engine in the Voice-dedicated unit removes a great deal of these stumbling blocks. Having been the first to install a freezer-specific Voice solution in Ireland in 2006, Heavey RF holds an intimate understanding of these challenges and has gone on to supply many implementations internationally of both RF and Voice into such environments since that time. The results are not only uplifts in productivity and accuracy, as is the standard for Voice; it also resolves the problems experienced in this harsh industry.
"Freezer environments are very demanding on devices – from battery life to non-condensing components, we have always seen the freezer environment as a territory that requires unique management," said Ronan Clinton, CEO of Heavey RF Group. "While we have many deployments in freezers, the Voice-dedicated solution is the best performing and most reliable – and least problematic."
Sustaining its drive for excellence in the provision of globally implemented supply chain solutions, Heavey RF has continued to invest significant resources into research & development, having opened the doors on a dedicated development centre in Cork, Ireland at the beginning of 2013.
The international software R&D centre will focus on bringing the voice of the customer to all future iterations of its software development. Newest on the horizon will be an enhanced version of VocalPoint. VocalPoint 3 will see standardise features that are key to delivering cost saving benefits to the supply chain industry, providing complete visibility into logistics operations and helping to maintain a more fluid and mobile workforce while making use of the latest Voice development environments.
Heavey RF Group at a glance
Heavey RF Group is an international total solutions provider delivering mobile data technology and integration software for industrial clients in a wide range of markets. It manages the supply, installation, integration and complete 24/7 support of handheld and vehicle mounted mobile terminals, wireless infrastructure, wireless security and Voice-directed applications.