Burris Logistics, headquartered in Milford, Del., operates a network of frozen food warehousing and distribution systems in the eastern United States. The regional 3PL prides itself on its leading-edge approach to all technological challenges from trailer design, computerized routing software and warehouse operations. Most recently, Burris has installed a voice-directed picking system from Vocollect at its Federalsburg, Md., distribution center.
"We have achieved the results we were looking for, and more, with this system," says Maggie Owens, marketing director for Burris Logistics. She adds that the Vocollect integrated solution has been so successful at this one DC that it will be rolled out in facilities throughout the Burris network of frozen food warehousing and distribution systems in the eastern United States, comprising more than 50 million cubic feet of storage space.
For Burris, Vocollect is replacing the previous picking system, which used labels and, therefore, required selectors to stop and read the information they needed -bin location, item number/ UPC code, pick quantity, etc. - plus sticker each case by hand.
"We opted for voice technology and the hands-free operation it enables to make the selection process more efficient and more accurate," says Owens.
Using the voice-based picking system, Burris has increased productivity by 11.9 percent, which translates into a $70,000 saving per year at the Federalsburg facility alone. Owens says that accuracy was already good at the facility, but the DC staff has been able to push it up to 99.88 percent.
"We calculate that we're saving 9,000 case errors per year, and the time and money that used to cost us," says Owens.
Additional benefits include having real-time information on which employee is picking what item, when it is picked and where it is.
"That allows us to get ahead of out-of stocks, and otherwise run more efficiently," says Owens, adding that the voice picking has been very well received by the entire DC picking crew. "They wouldn't give up their Talkman now if we paid them! Vocollect has proven its value not only as a supplier, but also a supply-chain partner, to Burris Logistics."
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