Wednesday 26th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

3663’s end-to-end voice is a UK first

Food service company 3663 has increased order selection rates by 30 per cent as well as improving accuracy following the introduction of a voice picking system as part of the UK’s first end-to-end voice application.

With 1.25 million square feet of storage in 39 depots across the country, 3663 has sales of over £1 billion a year, delivering ingredients, finished products and equipment to the catering industry. The company has more than 6,300 employees and a fleet of 1,100 vehicles serving a customer base of 50,000 including Burger King, KFC and Nandos.

Phillip Oliver, project manager, says: “In this market everyone is looking to cut costs in the supply chain and so businesses like ours have to be constantly looking at new ways of streamlining operations.”

3663 approached Psion Teklogix to roll out an integrated warehouse management system driven by Vocollect Voice across the four logistics depots: Banbury, Lichfield, Royton and Heywood.

The Vocollect Voice application allowed employees on the ground to move stock more quickly and accurately through the stages of the warehouse cycle. The distribution centre employees now wear a Vocollect Talkman T2 wearable computer allowing them to work hands free, eyes free in a safer environment.

The previous process had been a complex cycle which had been run almost entirely on a paper-based system, supported by manual control processes.

Now, the WMS incorporates a voice management console which gives the business units a unified overview of all processes in real time throughout the day. This allows faster response times, the ability to spot variances in staff performance and better planning and reporting.

Since the installation of the system, 3663 has seen increased accuracy to near 100 per cent and order selection rates up by 30 per cent.

The management team has benefited from a heightened level of control that has allowed the business to focus on core activities and to plan more effectively. Having access to real-time productivity status reporting has for the first time yielded complete knowledge and traceability for its processes and goods, more effective training and increased retention rates.

Pauline O’Connor, warehouse administration manager, says: “Vocollect Voice gives us a more flexible and versatile workforce with new employees using the system in just 20 minutes. Voice simply makes life a lot easier.”

Vocollect’s Voice Directed Distribution system at 3663 is the UK’s first end-to-end voice application. It has made a huge impact on 3663’s business by delivering an organically grown system that meets the precise needs of the organisation.

Increases in visibility, traceability and productivity have all boosted the company’s profit margins while delivering superior customer service, which for 3663 is the most important aspect.

Following this implementation, 3663 is now looking to roll out Voice Directed Distribution in other areas of its operations.