BEC’s innovative eSmart:datacapture Voice system increases both accuracy and productivity at Shamrock Foods’ 225,000 ft² warehouse, improving stock visibility and the ability to verify data in real time saving both time and money.
BEC’s voice picking solution replaced the legacy data capture system that Shamrock Foods had used for years, providing immediate increases in pick rate and accuracy. The new implementation provided Shamrock Foods considerable cost savings, increased visibility of stock and improved productivity.
Based in Ballymount, Dublin, Shamrock Foods Ltd is the owner of three successful consumer brands: Shamrock, Odlums and Roma. Their products include a wide range of home baking ingredients, cereals, pulses and Italian Meal solutions. Shamrock Foods operates primarily in the grocery trade, manufacturing and distributing fast moving consumer goods from its ambient warehouse. Delivering to over 2400 customers at 3000 delivery points across Ireland, Shamrock Foods is also a leading provider of route-to-market services for third party companies. Keen to improve company performance and customer service, Shamrock Foods approached BEC.
BEC rapidly enabled real time, accurate reporting on all warehouse activities by using their eSmart:datacapture Voice solution, which bolts seamlessly onto the Movex ERP (Lawson M3).
One of the main issues facing Shamrock Foods was the imminent need to upgrade their obsolete hand held terminals and the continuous drive to improve warehouse productivity and picking accuracy. Their existing RF data capture system was still efficient and the investment of €300,000 in a complete, new system seemed a daunting prospect. Shamrock Foods needed a solution that offered a rapid return on investment, increased pick accuracy and minimised disruption to the Warehouse.
"When the opportunity arose to replace our existing data capture terminals with state of the art technology, we opted for a Voice-Directed solution from BEC, as it offered increases in efficiency over our existing barcode system as well as greater pick accuracy" explained Gerry Moynihan, IT Manager at Shamrock Foods.
Having previously designed and implemented the data capture system already in use; Shamrock Foods selected BEC as the preferred supplier of seamless integration into Movex ERP (Lawson M3).
The eSmart:datacapture Voice solution implemented by BEC uses Talkman T5 Voice terminals and headsets. Lightweight and wearable, the Voice computers enable users to keep their hands and eyes-free as they complete their tasks. The Pickers are no longer encumbered by having to check a paper pick sheet or data terminal screen, so their efficiency has improved.
"Using speech to complete pick transactions and having the data verified against Movex in real time has given us accurate, real time reporting on performance and stock levels for over 19000 pallet spaces" Gerry said. "BEC’s Voice system has proven ideal for our fast moving pick environment. We have improved productivity and accuracy which has readily justified our investment".
eSmart:datacapture Voice has the capability of to use synthesised speech to issue pick lists via the headset. In response to the spoken commands, the Pickers use microphones to confirm their location, quantity and the item picked, saving time and money and improving accuracy.
BEC’s software communicates transaction data in real time, across a wireless network, directly to Shamrock Foods ERP system; Lawson Software’s M3 product. The picked items are instantly validated against the current pick list, resulting in the high degree of pick accuracy Voice technology promises. This real time communication was particularly important for Shamrock Foods because of the way product is dynamically allocated in this fast moving environment. Short picks are identified immediately and replenishment action can be taken to ensure orders are dispatched fully complete.
A key function of the device is that when there is a shortage of stock and the task cannot be completed, a simple phrase will trigger automatic stock counts and replenishments from bulk storage. This reduces delays and helps further operational efficiency at the Shamrock Foods’ warehouse.
The eSmart:datacapture Voice system is a subset of BEC’s eSmart: software family and therefore works seamlessly alongside the handheld terminals used on site. Running on BEC’S eSmart:datacapture® RDT (Radio Data Terminal) module, Psion Teklogix’s 7535 handheld terminals are used for Goods In, Stock Move and Packing activities. The 7535 terminals offer bright colour touch screens, robust wireless communications and a high level of ruggedness fit for the tough warehouse environment. Combined with BEC’s modular eSmart:datacapture® design, the Voice terminals work in parallel with the various handheld and vehicle mounted devices being used in other areas of the warehouse.
"BEC provided a high a quality, competitively priced Voice solution that built on and incorporated our existing system. By mimicking the transaction used on our hand held computers, the new Voice system has ensured our Pickers can effectively use the Voice terminals with minimal training," Gerry continued.
The automated data collection system used to provide Voice functionality at Shamrock Foods has provided real time integration into the Movex ERP (Lawson Software) for improved visibility of stock, job monitoring, process reporting and increased pick accuracy.
"We needed an upgrade that would cause minimal disruption to our operations," explained Gerry. "Having worked with BEC in the past and recognising the professionalism of the BEC team; they had already proved their skills at integrating real time into Movex. We knew their Voice system would be implemented efficiently and that we would continue to benefit from their excellent after sales support".