The SIMBA DICKIE GROUP no longer needed to be convinced of the advantages of a Pick by Voice solution: The toy manufacturer has been equipping its main logistics center with this technology since 2010. Those responsible were aware that voice-controlled order picking leads to a significant reduction in errors and that work processes were faster for the employees. Yet after switching from Vocollect Voice to a more modern Pick by Voice solution, Lydia Voice® from Ehrhardt Partner Group (EPG), the group of companies experienced a surprise: production had increased significantly. This was made possible by the use of the ergonomic order picking vest Lydia Voice VoiceWear® and the intelligent functionalities of state-of-the-art technology.
In the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP warehouse, children's dreams come true. Plush animals, dolls and miniature editions of cranes, ships, trucks and houses pile up to the ceiling of the hall. Of course, the famous fiery red Bobby Car is not to be missed. The group's product range comprises around 14,000 items from a variety of brands. Importantly, their various products need to leave the warehouse on schedule. Throughout the year, employees are regularly faced with the challenge of supplying SIMBA DICKIE GROUP customers with seasonal goods on time. Sector-typical peaks in demand, such as at Christmas time, also need to be solved logistically. This requires an efficient material flow based on the use of modern technologies.
EPG’s Lydia Voice® is a surprise
Since 2010, the international retailing company has been using an intelligent manual assistance system for order picking that optimally supports employees in their work processes: Pick by Voice. Goods from 5,000 of the 33,000 pallet spaces in the shelf warehouse are picked by voice. In the course of a year, nearly 1 million picks are completed. Using the system's voice output, employees receive instructions as to which articles they are to pick and in what quantities. The goods are then placed in the picking cart. If necessary, orders from several customers are collected together on one cart for further process optimization. Since the replacement of Vocollect Voice as the Pick by Voice system, the warehouse employees have received support from the personal language assistant Lydia Voice from EPG.
"We were looking for a solution that offers our employees ergonomic advantages, can be integrated directly into the SAP LES we use, and that we can also adapt to our own needs. The old system had not fulfilled these requirements", explains Marco Meusel, responsible for IT Software Services at the SIMBA DICKIE GROUP, on the reasons for the change of vendor. “EPG’s Lydia Voice not only met our requirements, it exceeded all expectations."
“The system changeover increased overall employee performance by a few percentage points compared to working with the previous voice system. That was a big surprise for all of us. We didn't think this was possible because we had already worked with Pick by Voice before," says Meusel. He attributes the significant increase in productivity to the use of the ergonomic order picking vest, Lydia VoiceWear . It can be set up in just a few simple steps and allows employees maximum freedom of movement when working, as the microphone and Voxter® voice computer are integrated. As a result, there is no need for an additional headset.
Another advantageous factor is the ability to make adjustments in the voice dialog itself. "For example, we can give certain keywords as answers, which reduces the time required for picking," explains Meusel. Apart from the classic advantages of a Pick by Voice solution such as the hands-free/eyes-free concept and the considerable reduction of errors during the picking process, EPG’s solution has additional benefits. For example, there is no need for time-consuming voice training. New employees and seasonal staff can immediately start using Lydia® Voice without a long training phase, since speech recognition is speaker-independent. Additionally, the battery of the Voxter voice computer can be changed during operation so that picking is not interrupted.
Further applications for Lydia Voice are on the horizon
"We expect a significant increase in productivity as a result of our conversion to the Lydia Voice Suite," says Meusel. In addition to order picking and the processing of incoming returns, other possible applications for Pick by Voice solutions are already being discussed. "What is certain is that we have found a system that enables us to be well positioned for the future," he adds.