Barrie Timson has worked at Raleigh UK Ltd since 1989 and has held his current role since 2003.
In this interview, Barrie discusses how he and his team worked with BEC to create and implement a new scanning and voice-enabled data capture solution designed to improve the company’s mission-critical processes, whilst bringing their picking, packing and despatch accuracy up to 99.9%.
1. What are your main areas of responsibility within Raleigh UK Ltd?
My main areas of responsibility within Raleigh UK Ltd are to oversee all IT Systems and communications, as well as the management of the IT hardware and software within the facility.
2. How long have you been a BEC customer?
We have been a BEC customer for almost 5 years.
3. How did you first come into contact with BEC?
We first met BEC during a Movex Users Association (MUA) event during which they were showcasing their range of data capture software solutions. We had always wanted to automate our picking, packing, replenishment, despatch and goods-in processes and were initially looking to go down the scanning route, however after meeting with BEC at this event we took the decision to look into a Voice-based solution for some of these processes as well.
4. Which BEC solution are you currently using?
We are using BEC’s eSmart WMS software within our facility in both a scanning and voice-based solution capacity.
5. In which parts of your facility is BEC’s eSmart WMS software solution used?
We are currently using the solution within the storage, picking, packing, replenishment, distribution and goods-in areas of our warehousing facility.
6. How is the BEC solution used within your warehousing facility?
The solution is being used in a number of ways. Predominantly, it has helped us achieve success with the business’s mission-critical activities, specifically our ‘next day delivery’ promise for parts and accessories whereby both consumers and retailers can now place ‘next day’ orders up to 9 o’clock the previous night.
Voice is used within our storage, picking, packing, replenishment and despatch applications, as well as interfacing with our couriers which has allowed us to increase this order cut-off time from 3.30pm to 9pm. We wouldn’t have been able to do this prior to the BEC solution being in place and the result has ultimately meant more orders and a higher turnover.
In addition, we also use a scanning-only solution coupled with BEC’s software to book items into our warehouse when they arrive from our suppliers, so we are utilising an effective combination of both scanning and voice-based solutions within our warehouse facility.
The hardware we are using as part of our software solution are Honeywell CK3 mobile computers and industrial grade Granit scanners, as well as Vocollect A730 Talkman devices coupled with SRX2 headsets for the voice element of the solution.
7. What type of solution were you using before you deployed your BEC solution?
We were previously using a paper-based solution which included manual paper pick lists, despatch notes and labels – we didn’t use any barcoding whatsoever.
8. What have been the main business benefits you have experienced/achieved as a result of your BEC eSmart WMS software solution?
We have achieved 3 main business benefits as a result of deploying the BEC solution. Firstly, our stock accuracy in terms of picking, packing and despatch is now 99.9% accurate. Before the BEC voice solution was deployed, we sometimes experienced issues of the wrong product being sent to customers and order shortfalls, which thankfully now no longer occur.
Secondly, we use a lot of temporary, seasonal and agency staff. The training time with the old paper-based system could take anywhere between 1-2 weeks for new employees, however with the BEC solution, this training time has now been reduced to only 5-6 hours, representing a big time saving for us and ease-of-use and increased levels of productivity for the employee.
Thirdly, as well as a huge improvement in stock accuracy, we have also seen a dramatic increase in efficiencies across the picking, packing, replenishment and despatch areas of the business, which has allowed us to not only increase the order-cut off time for next day delivery, it has also benefited our business in terms of turnover and revenue.
9. What ERP system are you currently using?
We are currently using an old version of Movex, which is critical to the business and our processes. We are looking at upgrading this in the future.
10. How have your workers found the transition between your old picking system and the new BEC solution?
Our workers like it because it’s much easier to use than our old paper-based system. They have less ‘baggage’ to walk around the warehouse with and it makes their job easier as they have better stock accuracy to work with. The voice solution can also work with a huge range of languages, dialects and accents, so training and the undertaking of tasks for our permanent, temporary, seasonal and agency staff are much quicker and easier than before.
11. Why did you choose BEC to work with you on your warehouse automation project?
Predominantly, we chose BEC because they had a lot of experience working with the ERP system which we had deployed within our warehouse. We were also able to visit some of their existing customer sites to discover the business benefits which they were experiencing having deployed a BEC solution, which in turn gave us the confidence that they would be able to work well with us.
The price of the solution was also within our budget scope and BEC took the time to understand the exact solution which we needed, as well as providing a clear idea of timescales for the solution roll-out, with the added benefit of minimising the disruption of our working warehouse during the implementation period.
12. What are BEC’s specific USPs?
BEC gave us the element of confidence which we needed in order to take the next step and improve upon the previously manual processes which were utilised within our facility. We knew that they were well-versed in supplying and implementing similar solutions amongst their existing customer base and were highly experienced in developing, designing and deploying both scanning and voice data capture solutions.
13. Do you have any plans to extend your BEC solution further or do you have any new applications which you are currently considering?
As I mentioned, we are currently looking to upgrade our current ERP system, which will determine how we move forward with BEC in the future.
14. What are the main benefits you have found working with BEC?
We have experienced many benefits working with BEC. They took the time to understand the solution we required so as a result of that, coupled with their vast amount of experience with scanning and voice, we have got everything we asked for – and more.
Since the software is so stable our support and maintenance requirements have been minimal, however on the odd occasion that we have required assistance the resolution time has been extremely quick and efficient.
15. How would you rate your experience with BEC?
The whole experience with BEC has been excellent. The implementation ran extremely smoothly and they delivered everything they said they would from day one. We have received a highly stable, working product which has delivered great results and has moved the business forward, in particular with regard to our new 9pm cut-off time for next day delivery orders which has given us a clear advantage over our competitors.
Our volume of orders has also increased and we are spending significantly less time sorting out issues with wrong orders and incorrect deliveries.
The new solution has drastically improved our overall functionality and profitability as a business and I would recommend any company looking to either introduce automation or enhance their current automated solution to talk to BEC.