Semichem, the Scottish market leader in health and beauty discounting, implemented the Minster Logistics voice enabled warehouse management system (WMS) in late 2009, utilising Vocollect Voice technology from VoiteQ, into their Livingston warehouse. The Semichem business, part of the SCOTMID Group, has significant growth plans in place for the coming five years and the new WMS solution ensures their supply chain is structured to support this growth.
Semichem is a modern high street retailer that has been making an impact in the towns and cities of Scotland and Northern Ireland for over 30 years, focussing on supplying discount health and beauty products through their 140 high street stores. The new WMS forms an essential part of the overall supply chain solution linking into Semichem’s EPOS and Management Information Systems (MIS), to improve operational efficiencies. As part of this project, Semichem chose to use voice technology for hands-free, eyes-free voice directed work as they could see the potential for significant improvements in the accuracy, speed and control of pick and replenishment processes.
Scott Kerr, Head of IT for SCOTMID, commented “We chose Minster because of their proven experience in delivering warehousing solutions. They were able to provide an e-fulfilment solution to Scottish Midland Co-Op in very challenging timescales and continued to prove their ability to meet our very particular requirements. We had to replace a legacy warehousing system that was no longer appropriate and decided that Minster, with their breadth of knowledge and experience were the ideal supplier to partner us”.
The VoiteQ voice solution, based on Vocollect Voice technology, utilises their Talkman wearable voice computer attached to a securely fastened belt and connected to a headset worn by the employee which allows the user to interact using spoken voice with the Minster WMS through a native interface. Operatives can work completely hands and eyes free by receiving picking commands from the WMS via the plug-in headset and the Vocollect Voice device; the system literally talks the operative through their task. Instructions are transmitted over a wireless network to the employee who follows instructions, such as the location and quantity for picking. The picker responds with the status of the pick, and then the device updates the WMS module in real time. The operative is directed to the appropriate warehouse location and the location of the goods to be picked is verified by check digits to ensure accuracy. Once confirmed the operative is informed of the roll cage quantity to pick into the roll cage or pallet before being directed to the next location.
Kerr concluded, “Six months on from go Live we are now beginning to see improvements in a number of areas of our business as a direct result of using the voice enabled solution these include increased accuracy of pick, managing issues as they arise in real-time and improved picking efficiencies. Our decision last year has been proven correct and that with VoiteQ’s expertise in voice technology, partnering with Minster and their WMS knowledge, we implemented our ideal solution.”
Minster Logistics Tel: 01827 55334 www.minsterlogistics.com