For Belgium's major meat wholesaler. FLSystems has just commissioned a EURO 1.3 million contract to supply and integrate a state-of-the-art pick-to-voice system for Franky Vleeswaren, the leading Belgian meat wholesaler.
The fully integrated pick-to-voice solution from FLSystems delivers a 100% improvement in productivity and efficiency by ensuring that picking is ordered, accurate and rapid. The purchase of the pick-to-voice system is part of Franky Vleeswaren's investment in developing its HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plan and cold chain monitoring.
The new hands-free solution replaces a paper-based system and delivers a major boost in operational efficiency by processing 750 bins per hour with ease, which was an essential requirement to respond to the growing demand for fresh meat and meat products.
With the new voice-directed system Franky Vleeswaren is better equipped to manage the vast range of refrigerated meats and meat products it supplies to its customers throughout Belgium. The system simplifies the picking operation enabling the pickers to follow and respond to spoken instructions instead of reading paper picking lists. Furthermore, the system aggregates multiples of each product enabling the pickers to pick the total number of each item at one time, whereas with the defunct paper picking lists they needed to work through the list order by order often going to and from the same zones as they worked through the list. This has greatly reduced the time taken to pick, compile and complete orders ready for shipping.
The pick-to-voice system comprises a state-of-the-art lightweight headset leaving the pickers free to use both hands to handle the bins and the products. The system issues orders via the headset to the picker, telling him / her exactly which product to pick and its exact location. The picker simply responds to the order by speaking into the microphone telling the system that he / she has understood. The required number of products are then picked and placed in the bin. The picker then tells the system that the pick is complete. The system then issues the next order and the picking routine begins again until all the orders are complete.
The system assigns picking orders to specific bins, which are identified by unique barcode IDs. The orders are linked to a programme which controls the filling of bins based on a numbers of parameters such as volume, weight and filling level. This programme ensures that bins are correctly filled and not overloaded. The picker scans the bin barcode with a wireless scanner, which then triggers the voice-directed picking order for the bin. The bins follow a winding circuit through 10 picking zones, which are equipped with walk-through shelves for dynamic buffering.
Once the orders are processed, the bins are transported to the shipping zone where they are forwarded onto one of the 24 shipping lines and docks ready for loading onto refrigerated goods vehicles.
FLSystems has worked with Franky Vleeswaren for more than 15 years, previously supplying and maintaining the meat wholesaler with the worldclass Alvey/SES palletising and distribution solution. Over this time FLSystems has developed an intimate understanding of the meat and meat product wholesale and distribution market. Both companies therefore enjoy a strong working relationship.
Ivan Speelers, Project Leader and Commercial Director, Franky Vleeswaren said: “We were extremely happy with the previous installation which has more than proved its worth. The professional supervision in the planning phase of the new project was excellent, and FLSystems introduced the latest techniques in the solution. The 24 hour availability of the FLS call centre guarantees rapid support and service should we ever need it and the 2-year full guarantee on the system offers us additional security.”
FLSystems designs, constructs and installs economic and reliable solutions for internal transport and palletising operations under the brand name of Alvey/SES. These solutions are suited to packaged goods as well as pallet loads, for the distribution and production sectors, including after sales service and maintenance. FLSystems has over 40 years experience in the palletising market and has an impressive client list in many different industries (mail order, express parcels, printing and paper industry, (frozen) food industry, beverage industry, automotive, chemical industry and pharmacy.