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VoiteQ makes great impression in trials at Spicers for warehouse voice directed picking system

Spicers, the UKs largest supplier of general office products, is preparing to roll out voice picking technology from VoiteQ following the successful completion of a voice trial using their VoiceMan middleware solution, creating simple integration between the existing IT infrastructure and the Talkman wearable voice unit. The trial, which equipped four individual warehouse staff with Talkman picking devices, saw picking accuracy rates rise sharply by 50% and productivity levels climb by 17%.

The project is now extending Voice Picking to all its pickers throughout the companys warehouse in Heywood near Manchester, with planned expansion to its other regional UK distribution centres over a given period of time.

Spicers was established in the UK 200 years ago originally manufacturing books and envelopes. The company has since grown to a 300 million UK office supplies organisation with a European wide network.

Spicers selected VoiteQ, the UKs largest supplier of voice directed distribution technology, to replace its existing paper-based picking system. This system posed multiple problems including accuracy errors as a result of poor printing quality, slow training times, inability to monitor the movement of products around the warehouse and measure the efficiency of staff.

Bobby Arman, Spicers Logistics Manager, says, We needed a new system that would improve service to customers ensuring that all deliveries arrived on time and in full. The improvements to picking accuracy and general productivity so far have been very impressive. We have been able to measure far more accurately the efficiency of warehouse workers as well as monitoring in real-time the movement of items around the distribution centre.

Arman continues, Training new staff is also much easier with voice. Previously with our paper-based system we often had to rely on experienced members of staff and their specific knowledge of products around the warehouse. With voice, new starters can be up and running at full speed in hours rather than weeks. I anticipate that this will make a significant difference to our business.

The Talkman T5 solution, manufactured by Vocollect consists of a securely fastened belt worn unit and head set. Instructions for the days picking are sent over the RF network by the host system to the workers voice device. Once a picker has located the product in the warehouse and picked it they respond via the mouthpiece. Talkmans check-digit picking response system generates typical picking accuracy levels of over 99.9%. VoiceMan, the UKs leading software for voice-directed warehouse operations, simplifies the integration of the existing Warehouse Management System (WMS) with the Talkman device.

Arman concludes, Voice technology is creating a real stir in the logistics industry but we are the first company in our sector in embrace this technology. VoiteQ has produced remarkable results for us and I believe that they will give us a unique advantage over our competitors. Implementation so far has been very simple due to VoiteQs co-operation, friendly attitude and flexibility. Voice has integrated easily with our existing IT infrastructure and the technology has been received as a breath of fresh air in the warehouse.


About Spicers

Spicers is the UKs largest wholesaler of general office products in Europe and the dominant player in the UK. They are an Investors in People accredited company, and have an annual turnover in excess of 350 million.

Spicers Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of DS Smith Plc, whose activities in addition to Spicers are in Paper and Corrugated Packaging and Plastic Packaging. DS Smiths turnover in the year to 30 April 2005 was 1.6 billion and the Group employs 11,900 people.


About VoiteQ

VoiteQ provides voice directed solutions enabling a hands-free and eyes-free method of warehouse picking that results in a smoother, more continuous operation, which increases productivity and accuracy

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Blackpool, UK, VoiteQ is the UKs largest supplier of voice directed distribution systems, supplying more than 70% of UK warehouses which have voice implementations

VoiteQ supplies fully integrated retail solutions which incorporate Business Management Systems, Warehouse Management Systems, and EPoS systems, as well as VoiceMan, the UKs leading middleware software for voice solutions.

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