1 March 2015, Brisbane.

Voltex Electrical Accessories (formerly Cable-Loc) have selected Navigator WMS with Vocollect Voice to optimise processes in their Adelaide distribution centre.

Voltex Electrical Accessories, founded in 2001, is an Australian electrical and data contractor direct supplier. Without traditional shopfronts, they provide a comprehensive range of the highest quality products and customer service directly to Australia's electricians.

The Solution

To thrive in a competitive market, Voltex management realised that it was essential to embrace modern technologies including mobile e-commerce, as well as automating their manual warehousing practices. After evaluating options from their ERP vendor, and other "voice only" vendors, Voltex engaged RFBS to design and deliver a total warehouse solution which would streamline practices from goods receipt through to despatch.

Voltex installed Navigator WMS, and modules for scan-receiving, replenishment, put away as well as Navigator's voice-directed batch picking application - all tightly integrated with their Connected Business ERP system.



Receiving

The system allows workers to use a mobile scanner to receive stock against purchase orders. Each item is scanned and matched against the purchase order to show the expected quantity, and the number of items received so far. The worker can enter the amount received, then record where the stock was placed by scanning either a pallet 'lot number' or the picking bin barcode.

Replenishment

The replenishment function directs workers to fill bin locations in priority sequence. Bins with insufficient stock to fill orders are targeted first, while bins below their minimum level are processed once all other tasks are completed. The system drives stock rotation, with workers directed to take stock from the oldest lot numbered pallets first. The replenisher scans the item and the picking location to confirm stock is always placed in the correct bin.

Order Picking

Voltex replaced paper pickslips with Navigator's voice-directed batch picking system, enabling each picker to work on up to 26 smaller orders at the same time. The system speaks the next bin location to the picker as they walk, and waits until the picker correctly speaks the location's "check digit" to tell the picker how many items to pick. This process saves precious seconds at each pick line - removing the need to stop and read from a piece of paper, or to write down the quantity picked.

Batch Picking - Explained

In batch picking, Navigator assigns one high priority order to the picker, then continues assigning other orders which require stock from the area in which the picker is working. Rules define the maximum number of items which may be picked at a time in terms of cubic metres, number of orders and number of lines.

Navigator produces a 'pick marker' label for each order, which is placed on the order's carton. The pick marker contains a letter from A to Z, which identifies each order, as well as a random 'check digit' which is read by the picker to prove stock is being placed in the correct carton.

As the batch is picked, workers are directed around the warehouse in bin location order. Pickers hear the next location to visit over their headset and confirm they have found the correct item by speaking a 'check digit' number on the racking. Once the item is verified, the system tells the picker how many items to pick - and waits for the picker to confirm how many pieces were taken. Finally, the system tells the picker which order needs the stock by speaking the carton identifier (a letter from A to Z), and waiting for the picker to speak the check number off the relevant 'pick marker' label.

Voice Despatch

As each batch of orders is completed, Navigator allows the picker to capture the carton dimensions, weight, and the carrier to be used - all via speech commands on their Vocollect headset. Navigator passes the information to IFS SmartFreight, which produces the compliant carrier labels - ensuring that accurately picked goods are also sent to the correct address.