The Co-operative Group is expanding its use of Zetes’ voice picking technology, 3iV Crystal.
The retailer first implemented a voice picking system from Zetes at its West Thurrock distribution centre in 2006. Since then the company has installed voice at three more sites and plans to extend use to its site in Thetford, Norfolk and a new DC due to open at Birtley, Gateshead, which will replace two older facilities.
By mid-2009 the voice system is expected to be supporting 1,200 warehouse users across six distribution centres, which serve 4,400 retail stores.
The project included a complete overhaul of the organisation’s WMS system and migration to a wireless, real-time infrastructure at each DC.
Voice was selected to enable faster picking because of the speed and complexity of the Co-op’s warehouse operation and high numbers of product lines stocked.
Pick errors are reportedly down by up to 70 per, picking rates have improved beyond original business case estimations, and training of new users can now be completed in less than four hours.
The group is using Vocollect Talkman hardware with the voice system, which is used for all picking and marshalling activities across multiple warehouse environments including ambient, produce, chilled and frozen areas.