I was reminded by a colleague who visited the Promat 2011 event recently of a case study that catches the imagination whenever we talk about it. My colleague had met up with the folks from Datria at the event. Datria were showing the Cisco and Datria Unified Communications (UC) Voice Picking Solution that Coca-Cola Refreshments U.S.A. (CCR) uses (CCR used to be called Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. before acquisition) in 100 locations or more to date.
For years Coke used a manual pick system Then they moved to a semi-automated one that could deal with full pallets, but then, with more and more products being added, Coca-Cola Refreshments U.S.A (CCR) found that it needed a better system to handle mixed pallets and make less shipment errors. Enter Cisco and Datria.
Way back in 2007, CCR began looking for differentiating technologies, techniques and methodologies that would improve order accuracy. A combination of Cisco, Datria and SAP proved the best solution as CCR chose the Cisco and Datria Warehouse Unified Communications Voice Picking Solution.The benefits have proved phenomenal for CCR.
As their order profile changed CCR could no longer rely on a manual system to deal with mixed cases (80% of the order volume is now mixed pallets). CCR needed to have order accuracy rates of over 99.5% to get preferential supplier treatment from customers like Walmart. The Voice picking solution gives CCR 99.8% overall accuracy and 100% in some locations. And there’s more…
Apart from great financial benefits and increased customer satisfaction, CCR is happy that it’s employees like the system. Workers can choose English, Spanish or French (other languages are available) and find the system easier to use (training is simpler and workers can be on-ramped and be productive faster). The System is safer too. Fork-truck drivers look up and forwards more since they don’t have to use a computer or specialist handheld device. The system works by ‘talking’ to the employee and listening to his or her responses. It truly is a ‘Voice’ system!. In fact some Hispanic speaking workers switch to English to improve their language skills!
The system is providing real payback for CCR. To find out more there’s a great article in MODERN MATERIALS HANDLING / MARCH 2011.It was published to coincide with Promat -- the reason for my blog. It has quotes from Mike Jacks, CCR Senior Manager of Logistics Systems, such as:
“Since there are a wide variety of facilities in terms of age, sophistication and layout, we needed a solution that was flexible enough to adapt to all of those different scenarios.” After investigating voice, pick-to-light, RFID and bar code scanning, they [the largest 100 CCR facilities] agreed they wanted a solution that allowed for heads-up, hands-free operation by the order selectors. Voice made the most sense. “Bar code scanning delivered the accuracy we wanted, but it wasn’t hands free,” says Jacks.
The article is by Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling, and is one of the best I’ve seen to go into the important details in a thorough way. He also talks about How VoIP works at Coca-Cola at the Modern Materials Handling Website.
You can find out more about the Cisco Datria Warehouse Unified Communications Voice Picking Solution by clicking on the link. There’s also more about Cisco’s partnership with Datria in the Datria Partner Solution Profile. Finally, here’s a link to the older Technology-based reference article from SAP, Cisco and Datria.. This is one story that continues to evolve for the good of Cisco, our partners, our customer CCR, and their customers too.