Vocollect SRX2 Cordless Headset

Vocollect A730

1 December 2016, Brisbane.

Century Yuasa Batteries have selected RFBS' Navigator Voice solution to streamline the picking of automotive, marine and motorcycle batteries in their Brisbane distribution centre.

Refined Processes

When RFBS was engaged by Century Yuasa, we went to work in the warehouse to isolate areas for process improvement. During our warehouse tours, we documented all of the steps required to complete each pickslip and worked with the distribution centre manager to identify which tasks could be safely automated.

Previously...

  • Distribution Orders from QAD were exported into Excel using QAD's 'Browse' functionality. The load planner would manually sort and manipulate the worksheet to produce one pick slip per pallet taking into consideration the weight and footprint of each line on the pickslip.
  • The spreadsheet was emailed to the picker, who was able to review this on a Honeywell VM1 vehicle mount computer.
  • Pickers then worked their way through the spreadsheet, picking stock to their pallet and keying in the quantity picked for each item.
  • Once the pallet was completed, the weight of the items was recorded and the paperwork returned to the dispatch supervisor.
  • The dispatch supervisor printed an address label for each pallet and hands this to the picker.
  • The pallet is wrapped, with the address label underneath the stretch wrap.
  • Any adjustments to the shipped quantity for a Distribution Order or a Sales Order / preshipper were manually updated within QAD.
  • The completed spreadsheet was emailed to the other Century branches as an 'advanced ship notification'.

A New Approach

RFBS worked with CYB to implement a tailored solution which included the Navigator Voice engine as well as customised application software. The two main objectives were to reduce the number of steps required to dispatch each pallet (saving time) and to reduce the number of picking mistakes (improving inventory accuracy).

  • RFBS worked with Kettering Consulting, who configured QXtend to export QDOC files for Distribution Orders and Sales Orders.
  • RFBS built a web service interface to receive and send QDOC files.
  • The Excel process was replaced with a custom application, allowing the load planner to combine multiple Distribution Orders together into loads, and 'drag and drop' batteries from pallet to pallet to create optimal configurations.
  • Warehouse staff were equipped with voice picking equipment, and can now be directed around the warehouse to gather stock for each pallet via speech.
  • Inventory accuracy is improved by forcing the worker to speak the last 3 numbers of the product's barcode - before they find out how many items to pick.
  • The picker hears the quantity which should be picked, and speaks back their confirmation.
  • Once each pallet is completed, it is weighed and the result spoken by the picker.
  • The pallet tag is now automatically printed from a laser printer next to the scale - without supervisor intervention.
  • QAD is kept up-to-date automatically. Distribution orders are updated back into QAD as each line is picked, while sales orders are confirmed once they are completely picked. Picking discrepancies are automatically emailed to the warehouse supervisor for investigation.
  • The 'advanced ship notification' spreadsheet is now automatically generated and saved for Century branches.
  • The system automatically captures picking statistics for each worker.

The Results

Century Yuasa reported a significant improvement in picking accuracy from the first month of operation. While the old paper system resulted in several pages of inventory discrepancies per month, the Navigator system this has reduced errors to several batteries per month!

As a result of the success of the implementation, Century Yuasa plan to roll out the solution to other branches around Australia and New Zealand. There are also plans to voice-enable other warehouse processes, including pallet loading and cycle counting.

More Information

If you would like more information on how a Navigator Voice solution can improve the accuracy and productivity of your warehouse, contact RFBS today on 1300 136 419.