Vocollect and IDS Chosen by Zanios Foods

PITTSBURGH, PA and OMAHA, NE - Zanios Foods, a foodservice distributor in the United States, saw its 2002 sales grow by 20 percent over 2001 to $100 million. To support its rapid growth, Zanios turned to, Integrated Distribution Solutions L.L.C. (IDS) and Vocollect, for a warehouse system combining voice with the warehouse management technology tailored to the food distribution industry. Together, IDS, the provider of technology solutions for food distributors, and Vocollect, the developer of voice-directed distribution systems, installed Vocollect's Talkman distribution system in Zanios' 204,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Albuquerque, N.M., where the company is headquartered. The new voice distribution system is the latest strategic enhancement to interface with Zanios' warehouse management system. "Our main reason for adding voice is to improve our picking productivity and accuracy," said John Goneau, president of Zanios Foods. "In addition, it will cut the amount of time it takes to train new workers in half, including those who speak Spanish. With the gains we will make by not having to double-check every order that leaves the warehouse, the Talkman system will pay for itself in under a year. And it will probably be less than that, if you take into consideration the increased productivity and decreased training time." "We felt the Talkman voice system meshed perfectly with the other systems we've installed or have planned for the Zanios facility," said Todd Michaud, president of IDS, one of Vocollect's premier Talkman Voice Partners. "In fact, IDS has developed its own software called Power Voice, which allows us to directly integrate Talkman's software with our proprietary WMS system, IDS Power Warehouse. We believe it's a very strong combination that will continue to provide tremendous results for Zanios." Results from the pilot voice picking installation were excellent, according to Michaud. "Zanios went from having one mis-pick per 980 cases, to one mis-pick per 5,000 units - a near 80% improvement." The initial installation in the Zanios warehouse operates 15 Talkman terminals, used in two shifts by 22 selectors each day. There are plans to install seven to 10 more terminals this year, according to Goneau, who added that the company would use its voice system for receiving, forklift and inventory functions, as well. Zanios is also expecting to see improvements in other areas of the warehouse, as well. "While the direct economic benefits of a voice installation are significant, our customers are seeing an across the board impact," said Jack LeVan, president and CEO of Vocollect. "The Talkman System creates a more efficient way for their entire warehouse to work. It drives a series of process improvements that, in turn, drives other improvements in areas such as cycle counting, shorts, put-away and replenishment. We've seen voice become a catalyst for major change in warehouse management processes."
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