Faster picking for Scottish wholesaler

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Adopting the Talkman voice-directed distribution system at its distribution centre in Aberdeen, has resulted in increased picking speeds and reduced errors for Scottish convenience wholesaler and retailer Aberness. The company says that the use of Talkman, developed by Vocollect Europe, has enabled it to cut stockholding by 20% and improve customer service levels by 4% to 98%.

Aberness supplies 44 of its own outlets as well as distributes to an extra 140 Mace stores within Scotland, supplying all ambient requirements from a 5,115sq m warehouse. More than 900 orders are despatched a week, which equates to 55,000-plus picks.

Picking speeds have increased from 90-140 an hour to 160-plus on average, with peaks of more than 220. Incorrect picks have been drastically cut and the greater efficiency has also resulted in the warehouse opening hours being reduced by four hours a day, with very little need for overtime.

The warehouse had predominantly been paper based. Also, stock levels were higher than necessary, rotation and control of products was poor and better information was needed to ensure profitability.

Commenting on Talkman, Aberness operations director Graeme Hay says: “Once we’d seen the solution in use, we were convinced that its power would enable us to drastically improve our warehouse processes.”

The project, including full installation and covering Aberness’ own implementation costs, amounted to about Euro 1M and Vocollect says the projected ROI of 24 months for the entire WMS, EpoS and Talkman solution is ahead of schedule.

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