Corporate Express Plans to Install Automated Order Fulfillment Systems

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Corporate Express announced plans to roll out automated order fulfillment systems featuring voice picking technology in 22 distribution centers by the end of 2002. Siemens Dematic will integrate the order fulfillment systems and utilize Vocollect's Talkman automated voice-directed picking technology. The plan calls for two sites to be installed every three weeks until all 22 are completed, according to Tim Beauchamp, senior vice president of distribution at Corporate Express. Ten sites have already been installed with the Siemens Dematic/Talkman integrated solution. "I've installed all sorts of automation throughout my career and this has been the most bullet-proof that we've been through. The Siemens Dematic and Talkman systems are simple to use. We've implemented a condensed training and installation schedule so we're able to bring the system up quickly and enjoy the benefits sooner," Beauchamp said. Beauchamp outlined specific benefits Corporate Express has seen from the Siemens Dematic/Talkman system:
  • An "almost immediate" 50-60 percent increase in productivity over paper-based picking methods.
  • Almost immediately improved picking accuracy to 99.96 percent.
  • Significant decrease in training time for new workers.
  • Flexible and scalable technology that works well in different sized operations.
  • Complete site implementation in three weeks or less. All 22 sites will be up and running within six months.
  • Payback in less than one year. Siemens Dematic integrated the Talkman voice system into Corporate Express's piece picking application. In addition to interfacing with Corporate Express's warehouse management system, Siemens Dematic integrated a zone routing software system with the Talkman platform to provide fast, accurate routing of customer orders to the correct pick zones. Beauchamp said that another benefit working with the Siemens Dematic team was the integration of the Talkman system with existing scanning technology. "We still wanted to use scanners in certain situations and they were able to blend the advantages of scanning with the advantages of voice," Beauchamp said. "Siemens Dematic and Vocollect customized the Talkman system to give us exactly the results we wanted for a great value."
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