Albert Heijn implements voice-picking cking in distribution centres “With the new voice-picking solution from Motorola’s Enterprise Mobility Business and Voxware at our distribution centres, we realised a ﬁve to ten per cent productivity increase in a few weeks, depending on the product range, said Boudewijn Canrinus, who is ” responsible for product innovation at Albert Heijn. “This is even more impressive when you consider that we had already achieved high labour productivity and a low picking error rate compared to competitors with our existing Motorola scanning solution. ” The company: Albert Heijn Albert Heijn is a Dutch supermarket chain owned by the listed international group Ahold. It has head ofﬁces in Zaandam, The Netherlands. Albert Heijn employs a workforce of over 70,000 employees and realised a 6.5 billion euro turnover in 2006. The company runs almost 750 supermarkets that serve over 10 million customers every week. Its six Distribution Centres (DCs) are responsible for stocking all of its stores. The challenge: Maximising productivity and minimising errors Albert Heijn is an innovative supermarket chain with a highly-responsive supply chain. It maintains its competitive edge with advanced information and communications technologies, and business process optimisation. As a result, the company already had high productivity and a low picking error rate at its four regional and two national DCs. But, in order to achieve this, the picking team needs to constantly refer to their mobile computers both to receive information and to conﬁrm their picks. This takes their eyes and their hands away from the picking locations, limiting the speed at which they can work and allowing room for error to occur. After following the developments in voice picking for several years, Albert Heijn believed that a solution from Motorola partners VoxWare and Van Boxtel could keep them remain at the forefront of retail innovation. However, Albert Hejin had to be sure that the voice-picking solution would enable a productivity increase that would justify the company’s investment. In order to achieve this, Albert Heijn needed to reach over 99.5 per cent picking accuracy from a mobile computer operating on an open architecture. 1 CASE STUDY: Albert Heijn implements voice-picking in distribution centres
Company Albert Heijn Location Zaandam, the Netherlands Industry Food retail Motorola products • 1,500 MC3000 • 400 MC9000 Applications • Voxware voice-picking Beneﬁts • Five to ten per cent increase in already-high productivity levels • Error reduction to near-100% picking accuracy • Improved safety • Improved visibility with real time track and trace of products through the warehouse management system • Ease of use for operatives with different native languages
“We opted for the voice-picking solution from Motorola and Voxware because it is a completely ‘open’ system with high accuracy and a better price/performance ratio than other solutions. ”
The solution: Open voice-picking solution by Motorola and Voxware Albert Heijn carried out a proof-of-concept trial for a voice-operated mobile computing solution from VoxWare and implemented by Vanboxtel in 2006. The system relies on MC3000 and MC9000 mobile computers from Motorola. These ruggedised mobile computers for mission-critical enterprise applications feature multi-mode wireless connectivity and Push-to-Talk Walkie-Talkie capability for anytime, anywhere voice and data connectivity. “Our policy is to select only solutions based on a standardised architecture, which can be integrated as openly as possible with other business systems, said Boudewijn Canrinus, who is ” responsible for process innovation at Albert Heijn’s DCs. “Until recently, the investment in voice picking was too high for us because the software solutions on offer by most vendors were closed. If, like many of our competitors, you switch from paper picking lists to a voice solution,...