Pep Boys' Warehouses Talk with Vocollect

PITTSBURGH - The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe and Jack - implemented the Vocollect Voice-Directed Distribution offering in two of its five national distribution centers and plans to roll it out shortly to the remaining three.

"Vocollect is making it possible for our warehouse management system to literally talk our team members through their daily order selection assignments," said Stuart Rosenfeld, vice president distribution at Pep Boys. "We expected productivity improvements and we achieved them. We expected an average 12 percent increase, but when we saw our accuracy rates increase over those we were attaining with RF scanning, we were very surprised. Our accuracy fill rate is averaging 99.63 percent considering we move more than 75 million items a year; a .5+ percent increase in accuracy is significantly better."

Vocollect Voice-Directed Distribution takes the warehouse management system (WMS) assignment output, such as a pick list or replenishment request, and applies text-to-speech and speech synthesis technology to use speech to guide workers step-by-step through their daily tasks. As a task is completed, the worker communicates with the WMS through a belt-worn computer and a speech recognition headset. Vocollect's speech recognition engine translates what the worker says into text and sends this information via a wireless network back to the WMS creating a real-time and dynamic working dialog.

"What impressed me most about our Voice-Directed Distribution effort was how quickly our team accepted this new technology," explained Mike Elmore, vice president and chief information officer at Pep Boys. "Since speaking is such a natural form of communication, Vocollect is making it possible for Pep Boys to drive more value from our warehouse management system investment. The results from our initial implementation made the decision to roll this out to all five of our national distribution centers easy. Two are already complete, the third will go-live in March, and the remaining DCs will follow suit as quickly as possible. Based on our success with this natural form of communications, we are investigating the possibility of applying voice technology to other areas both inside and outside the distribution centers."

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