Voice pick contributes to doubling of company size
October 02, 2012 - MMH Editorial
Nature’s Best is the nation’s largest privately owned wholesaler-distributor of natural and organic products. Through two distribution centers, the company supplies retailers throughout the western, central and southern regions of the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and Asia. While handling more than 20,000 SKUs in a 24/7/365 distribution environment, the company upgraded its voice-pick technology for significant process improvements and savings.
Facing rapid sales growth and geographic expansion, the company was at a crossroads, says Brian McCarthy, senior vice president of operations. Workers had formerly used voice-pick technology on a departmental basis, but McCarthy says the company recognized the need for a way to do business throughout the selection process.
In consultation with a technology partner, the company determined voice-pick was still the best choice and set about evaluating providers. The company deployed voice-pick headsets and vehicle-mounted units for 130 warehouse employees. McCarthy says the system provides nimbleness and flexibility, combined with processes that are easily replicable.
“The improved order accuracy has netted significant annual savings in credits, labor and rework, and various efficiencies,” says McCarthy. “This is an outstanding payback.”
Following a 60% improvement in order accuracy, mispicks are almost non-existent. Productivity in the each-pick areas has also increased 30%. Combined with a mobile vehicle-mounted unit, the solution helped the company save more than 1,400 man-hours and thousands of dollars in annual equipment maintenance costs. Training time has been notably reduced, even in a multilingual workforce.
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