When the employees at Yves Rocher Nordic, a multinational cosmetics company, were skeptical about voice-picking technology as a way to improve speed and accuracy in the warehouse, the company turned to Consafe Logistics as their trusted knowledge partner. Consafe Logistics led them through a two-week test where selected members of Yves Rocher Nordic warehouse staff were trained to use a voice-recognition picking system then given the opportunity to use it "live" onsite.
"Our warehouse staff perform high-intensity picking quickly and accurately. They were not convinced when we suggested that voice picking could improve our performance," said Mats Brafors, Warehouse Manager for Yves Rocher Sweden. "We turned to Consafe Logistics for their expertise in this emerging area. They demonstrated the calculated savings and offered to train and equip our “guinea pig” employees for a two-week trial. It gave us a zero-risk way to conduct a proof of concept."
What motivated Yves Rocher Nordic to implement voice picking was the greater picking accuracy the system offered, along with a more ergonomically healthy work process for the company’s employees. Because voice picking is a hands-free system, employees enjoy greater ease of movement. They are told exactly where to go and exactly what quantity to pick of each article.
"Voice-picking is better for employees and better for delivery accuracy and productivity," said Ulf Henriksson, Sales Manager at Consafe Logistics, "We offered Yves Rocher a ‘try it before they buy it’, to introduce their people to the benefits of this technology."
Two-week test in live conditions
Yves Rocher Nordic pick and send more than 2 000 000 packages annually from their warehouse in Helsingborg, and they wanted the test to reflect and measure these real-world conditions. Consafe Logistics therefore suggested that they should use their own picking lists and set their own success criteria for efficiency.
Mats Brafors selected two warehouse employees to undergo a short period of training, after which they were given headsets that connected to the Consafe Logistics voice-recognition system, an innovative software platform that creates a mobile front-end to a company’s ERP/WMS or legacy system. Because the test was limited to two employees and compatible with the existing system, it was minimally disruptive.
At the end of the two weeks, Mats sat down with the company’s logistics and IT managers to review the results of the test. Using Consafe Logistics’ voice-picking technology, the test subjects had maintained the same level of picking intensity, while the number of picking errors dropped significantly.
In addition, the ease with which the test subjects had become proficient in the new system suggested to Mats Brafors that this was an excellent way to improve productivity for new and temporary workers.
"We have a high employee turnover rate, and use recruitment agencies to see us through the busiest times," explained Mats. "A voice-picking system will help us get our workforce up and running much faster, and ensure accurate picking from the first hour."
Going live spring 2012
The positive response from test subjects and the measurable improvement in picking accuracy has motivated Yves Rocher Nordic to invest in a Consafe Logistics voice-picking system. They have ordered 30 units and 60 headsets for their warehouse in Sweden, and plan to go live with the new system in the spring of 2012.
"Being able to see how Consafe Logistics’ voice-picking product performed in our own warehouse conditions made it easy to make a confident decision about implementing new technology," said Mats Brafors. "We had already seen the returns before making any real investment of time or money."
With the Consafe Logistics voice-controlled system, companies can:
- Improve picking accuracy by as much as 50%
- Improve ergonomic health in the workplace
- Enable voice-picking on handheld and in-vehicle computers
- Train employees in as little as two hours
- Enable multi-language support for a diverse workplace
Companies wishing to trial voice picking can contact their local Consafe Logistics representative.