Speech Technology Magazine

 

Foodservice Distributor Gets Taste of Improved Efficiency

With Vocollect's Voice Solution, Jordano's boosts order accuracy.
By Michele Masterson - Posted May 1, 2013
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When you've got three shifts of workers picking merchandise in a 100,000-square-foot warehouse and 800 stores as your customers, having a speech recognition system you can depend on is more than just a nicety, as Jordano's Foodservice, a 98-year-old foodservice and beverage supplier based in Santa Barbara, Calif., can attest.

The company has a sales and distribution network that covers 35 market segments in eight California counties. Between its two divisions, Jordano's Foodservice and Pacific Beverage Company, Jordano's posts annual sales of more than $200 million, and has more than 500 employees. Jordano's Foodservice processes upward of 14,000 SKUs six days a week in its distribution center.

The foodservice division has used Vocollect Voice for case and pallet-picking as part of a warehouse management system from partner BFC Associates since 2008, but in 2012, it upgraded to Vocollect's SRX2 headsets.

The wireless headsets provide voice recognition that can increase operational efficiency by enabling employees to pick orders in noisy and freezing environments. The headsets provide an advanced voice recognition solution to lessen data congestion sometimes present in ordinary Bluetooth devices. An embedded multimicrophone decreases unwanted words and sounds. The headsets are also equipped with a new solution, SoundSense, which listens and blocks sounds often found in warehouses or distribution centers. With the use of the headsets, Jordano's saw a 93 percent reduction in order errors and a 19 percent improvement in worker productivity.

Using voice, the company also decreased its pickers per shift from 34 to 24.

"The first place we wanted to use the SRX2 wireless headset was in our freezer...our most hostile environment," says Dennis Merchant, director of operations at Jordano's Foodservice. "We found that, even with all the fan noise, our operators were hearing even better than with the wired headsets. Combine that with the device being more lightweight, easier to maneuver around with, and Bluetooth-enabled [and] it's easy to see why our people like using it so much. And we got a full shift [ up to twelve hours] with the battery, so there is less downtime."

As a foodservice company, Jordano's needs to adhere to strict government standards. With the Vocollect solution, the company is able to track specifics, such as when, where, and who completed orders.

"We paid for our voice system...in less than a year, and we have significantly improved our accuracy and productivity levels," Merchant says. "Vocollect Voice has become a real selling point for our company in sales situations, and it has made my life a lot easier."

App at a Glance

Using Vocollect Voice's headsets and speech recognition solution, Jordano's Foodservice was able to achieve:

  • a 93 percent reduction in order errors;
  • a 19 percent improvement in productivity;
  • a reduction in training time of 50 percent;
  • a reduction in the number of pickers per shift from 34 to 24; and
  • an ROI in less than 12 months.

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