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Express Operator City Link has introduced a Vocera communications systems at its Wednesbury hub. The wireless, hands-free Vocera badge has been introduced to improve the communication between staff in the control room and those on the sorting floor, replacing a variety of devices formerly used for this purpose.

Wednesbury is the main transit point for the company. From this site, the majority of parcels and packages are sent out to more than 70 distribution and collection branches across the UK using a fleet of 200 trucks.

Accuracy and speed in managing the movement of the parcels is paramount. In one shift alone there can be up to 200 vehicles arriving at the hub for unloading and reloading. Initially, staff in each location used a variety of communication tools such as land line telephones, radios, pagers, and mobile phones.

Each of these tools proved ineffective, as they could not be integrated with one another. City Link needed one integrated device that would allow staff to connect with one another throughout the entire premises from the back office to the loading bays.

To solve the communication problem, City Link turned to JDH Consultancy and Worldwide Solutions to see whether they could improve communication between the staff working within City Link’s control room which is responsible for overseeing everyone from floor supervisors to security and those on the sorting floor controlling the inflow and outflow of transit cages.

In December 2005, City Link piloted the Vocera Communications System. This consisted of two main components, 50 lightweight wearable communications badges, deployed among seventy staff members working various shifts in the central hub, and the Vocera system software which acted as a centralised command centre by controlling all call activity and work flow.

The Vocera solution worked over City Link’s existing wireless network optimised for voice.

The Vocera system installed by Worldwide Solutions enables staff to contact any relevant personnel by using one device that combined wireless LAN, and Voice over IP. By pressing a button on the badge and calling by name, title, or function, staff members can be instantly connected to the resources or colleagues they needed anywhere in the facilities wireless environment.

Adam Stevens, operations manager at Wednesbury, says: “At first I was sceptical about this technology, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the speech recognition works, handling the full range of accents we have here in the West Midlands.”

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