Productivity +20%, picking costs -17% at the DAO Group

The DAO Group, which is the CONAD distribution centre for Trentino Alto Adigo, currently has 300 points of sale, operating everywhere in Italy. In 2014, it expanded its warehouse in Lavis, Trento province. This called for a review of its picking processes and a new solution to manage them. The company decided that a ZetesMedea Voice system would be the most suitable solution and in its first year of use, productivity increased by 20% and picking costs decreased by 17%.

  • Client:
    the DAO Group
  • Industry:
    Food & Beverages
    Warehouse & Distribution
  • Process:
    Order Picking
  • Technology:
    MCL™
    Voice

OBJECTIVE

  • Replace the old paperbased process
  • Reduce operators’ workload whilst boosting productivity.

SOLUTION

  • Voice picking orders with ZetesMedea using MCL Voice technology
  • Full integration with the WMS
  • Motorola WT4090 VOW terminals
  • Motorola RCH51 headsets

RESULT

  • A 20% increase in productivity in the first year
  • Monthly error rate down from 176 to 32
  • Picking cost reduced by 17%
  • Improved quality of work

The DAO Group (Dettaglianti Alimentari Organizzati), boosts its warehouse productivity with ZetesMedea Voice.

The warehouse employs around 20 operators working in two shifts. The old system used labels; once the orders were printed and picking was complete, the operators applied a label to the pallet. This paper-based procedure was extremely error-prone, hence the need for a more efficient system.

The solution had to fulfil some specific requirements; it needed to be a next generation cloud-based solution, capable of being properly integrated into modern structures, and able to reduce operators’ workload whilst increasing productivity. It was also required that productivity would not decrease during the implementation stage.

Efficient collaboration

The DAO Group’s software partner Level Srl from Trento was given the task of evaluating the candidates for this project, and they chose Zetes. A team of professionals was put together, consisting of DAO, Level, and Zetes personnel. An excellent working relationship was born right from the first meeting, with the combined team approaching this project with a creative and co-operative attitude. They analysed the DAO Group’s requirements and monitored the implementation of the project, remaining in close and frequent contact from the analysis phase and jointly steering the project until the end.

Voice directed, hands-free work

ZetesMedea Voice is a logistics execution system. The solution was customised to satisfy the customer’s requirements perfectly. It drives cost-effective, error-free process execution and provides real-time visibility, integrating leading data capture technologies such as Vision, processed by ImageID technology, and Voice, plugging them into any host systems. Powered by the MCL Voice platform, ZetesMedea Voice is an untrained system; users can start working straight away without training or setting up a voice profile. The solution was integrated with the DAO Group’s existing host system. Equipped with wearable terminals and headsets, operators receive instructions directly from the WMS. They follow the instructions and make up the pallet to be shipped. When the task is complete, the finished pallet is given a unique identification label.

The Voice solution allows operators to execute a number of commands:

  1. Reporting of any warehouse locations that are close to being empty, with a preventive replenishment request
  2. Reporting broken packages during picking; the operator continues to pick individual items as individual items can be taken from the broken package
  3. Request for a break in the picking process, with record of the reason: the user asks for a break by sending a voice request and obtains a positive or negative reply from the WMS in real time. The operator’s breaks are not taken into account in his overall KPI’s;
  4. Implementation of location control with two-colour check digit: the system chooses a colour at random and the operator must confirm the relevant check digit. This control system prevents users from memorising locations, which could lead to picking errors;
  5. The option to print labels at any time. The operator completes a pallet and can decide to ship it immediately, without waiting for completion of the mission;
  6. Dynamic inventory: whilst the operators are picking the items, the WMS requests a count of what remains in the picking location, and the data is updated in real time.

Productivity +20%, picking costs -17%

A few months after implementing ZetesMedea Voice, the DAO Group recorded the following significant results:

  • A 20% rise in productivity. The increase in packages picked in the second half of 2013 was accompanied by a reduction in hours worked. The cost of picking went down by 17%.
  • The number of overtime hours worked fell dramatically, for a constant number of packages prepared. This was beneficial both in terms of cost and the quality of the working environment as perceived by workers. The first half of 2013 in particular saw an 85% decrease of extra hours.
  • The number of errors decreased significantly, with the error rate dropping from 176 errors/month to 32 errors/month.

Enrico Zadra, IT Manager of the DAO Group: “We discovered that Zetes is a solid organisation that has been stable for several years now. From our very first contact with the Business Development Managers dedicated to ZetesMedea Voice, we saw that we would be able to build a good working relationship for the future, starting with this first installation.”