BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd., the UK-based supplier of data capture solutions for supply chain logistics and manufacturing, has recently won a voice picking technology contract with Aliaxis, a global leader in the production and distribution of advanced plastic piping systems.
As part of its drive to improve customer service, Aliaxis, who are based in Lenham, Kent and host the Hunter, Marley and Multikwik brands, has invested in an automated voice picking system within its warehouses, which has significantly modernised its order fulfilment processes.
As a complex business with multiple product lines, Aliaxis knew that an off-the-shelf package would not fit the company's needs. With this is mind, Aliaxis worked closely with chosen solution provider BEC to develop a bespoke software solution which was specifically tuned to their requirements.
Philip Jarrett, Director of Sales and Marketing at BEC, comments, "To ensure that we created a robust and productive solution for Aliaxis, we carried out extensive mapping of the fulfilment process, including a detailed 'walk-through' of the distribution centre. By developing the software in partnership with the actual warehouse operatives, we were able to find out exactly what was happening 'out on the floor' and put solutions in place to eradicate any bottlenecks or other issues."
Created with Honeywell Vocollect voice technology and BEC's eSmart Voice software at its core, the new solution has been designed to improve accuracy by building quality checks into each step of the order delivery process, whilst integrating fully with Aliaxis's Microsoft Dynamics ERP suite. This creates full visibility across the entire order fulfilment journey, meaning that the number of errors have been substantially reduced.
Tom Hamlyn, Logistics Manager at Aliaxis, explains: "Following feedback that some customers were receiving inaccurate deliveries, we decided that a fully automated system was the most astute way to improve our service. Along with a new electronic labelling system which applies an individual barcode to each package so it can be tracked from start to finish, the voice picking solution from BEC has noticeably streamlined all processes within the warehouse. Since we began trialling the system in January, we have seen big improvements in the number of delivery errors and have had an excellent response from our key customers."
Replacing the previous paper trail method, the voice picking solution provides instructions to warehouse operatives through Honeywell Vocollect SRX2 advanced speech recognition wireless headsets, before using Honeywell Vocollect A710 and A730 Talkman mobile devices to pick and process orders. Each product within the warehouse also has a unique location identifier, which allows both the operatives and delivery drivers to quickly check that all products have been correctly picked and loaded.
Following a stepped introduction, the voice picking solution is now fully operational and the company is working on Phase 2, which will introduce additional functionality to track packages as they are delivered and capture customer receipt signatures.