Voice solution manages workflow and cleans up inefficiencies

Global supplier of professional hair care products uses a voice solution to streamline workflows and reduce labor and improve accuracy.

By ·

With a number of warehouses, a professional hair care product manufacturer needed to standardize and streamline workflows across many distribution sites to increase efficiency. 

The Goldwell brand of hair care products is supplied by KPSS and is based in Linthicum Heights, Md. KPSS is one of 21 subsidiaries owned by Germany-based KPSS GmbH, a global supplier of professional hair care products, including Goldwell and other brands such as Curel, Biore and Ban.

KPSS had been working with a paper-based picking system that was manually intensive, so the core objectives in upgrading were to eliminate labor inefficiencies while reducing costs. It also needed a solution that could handle a variety of cultures and languages, as the company has warehouses in the United States, Canada, Australia, Finland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Managers determined that a voice system could be easily integrated into its case- and piece-pick operations to standardize the workflows for replenishment, picking and packing. A voice solution could also provide maximum flexibility with changing business strategies, especially with the company’s distribution partners.

KPSS refashioned operations with a voice solution (Vocollect, vocollect.com) that has made a significant difference. “We still print the paper ticket to view the size of the order for packing purposes, but then voice takes over during the picking process,” explains Brian Hatfield, KPSS vice president of supply chain for North America.

“It converts the information into voice and states instructions over a headset to the picker.”

“The system is smart,” adds Hatfield.  “When a picker signs in on their equipment, the system recognizes the worker’s unique voice patterns and understands their accents and speech idiosyncrasies.”
Flawless communications between the worker and the system have resulted in a number of improvement gains.  Picking and replenishment labor has been reduced by more than 20%, new employee training can be done in less than an hour, accuracy is up over 99%, and there have been no lost time accidents since the voice solution implementation.

In less than one year, KPSS completed its deployment in Fresno, Calif., and Toronto, and expanded deployments in the United Kingdom.  Looking into the future, Hatfield says, “The voice solution is scalable, so you can start small and take it across other functions of the warehouse.” 

Voice Technology: Getting a read on accurate picking
UK publisher uses voice technology to increase productivity and achieve a nearly perfect pick accuracy rate of 99.98%.

click here to download the PDF article
click here to download PDF article


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the full 2016 Modern Materials Handling Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your peers across the material handling industry? Materials Handling salary survey, Warehouse manager salary survey, Warehouse Salary Research
Download Today!
From the November 2016 Issue
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to the line. The result is a more consistent, efficient and safer operation.
Optimizing home delivery: It takes more than planning
9th Annual Salary Survey: Success and Satisfaction Continue to Reign
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Systems Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...

Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...