PJH Group, which distributes bathrooms, kitchens and appliances to the home improvement market, has placed a £150,000 order with Solarsoft Business Systems for new voice picking software and Psion Teklogix WORKABOUT PRO units.
In doing so, PJH plans to achieve 100 per cent picking accuracy and increase the number of picks per day by ten per cent. By removing manual warehouse processes, staff training time is expected to be reduced from several days to a matter of hours.
PJH Group will initially roll out the voice system at its national distribution centre in Enfield, which is focused entirely on distributing stock to B&Q stores.
Some 18,000 items are picked each day in PJH warehouses, and the company reckons voice technology will increase staff productivity and increase the speed and flexibility of warehouse operations.
Using speech recognition and speech synthesis, the voice system will enable workers to communicate with the Solarsoft warehouse management system.
David Johnston, IT director at PJH Group, reckons the system will help it gain a “considerable” productivity increase, adding: “we expect to see a reduction in picking errors to close to zero.” Throughput is expected to increase significantly since pickers can recite their picks into the multi-lingual voice system, without interrupting proceedings to remove gloves to scan barcodes or complete paper forms.
“We will be able to increase the number of picks per day by ten per cent. The software will also help us to move towards central control of our warehouse operations, rather than relying on employees’ memory and inside knowledge for the location of stock.
“Mis-picks are very costly – from handling calls from customers who have received the wrong goods, to paying for those goods to be returned, and then re-picking and re-transporting goods. And then there is the fact that payment is delayed while the customer waits for the order to be fulfilled correctly. By eliminating mis-picks, we will be able to significantly reduce the admin burden on the business, simultaneously helping our cash-flow,” says Johnston.
Once the system has been implemented at the Enfield site, it will be rolled out at the company’s other sites.