Distributor Gains 60 Percent Accuracy Boost With Voice-Driven System

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — June 20, 2012

Nature's Best, the organic and natural products wholesaler-distributer, reports a 60 percent increase in accuracy since deploying the Vocollect voice-directed mobile worker system throughout its distribution centers. Supply chain experts Manhattan Associates integrated the technology from Vocollect, which is a business unit of Intermec.

Founded in 1969, Nature's Best is a natural and organic grocery distributor of refrigerated, bulk, supplements, personal care, herbs, medicinal, pet, and many other products. Its two distribution centers based in Chino, Calif., and Flower Mound, Texas, use Vocollect Voice and Manhattan Associates' 2007 R2 WMS for picking cases and eaches in three temperature zones.

Nature's Best experienced dramatic growth and geographic expansion over the past several years, driving the need to optimally integrate its people, systems and processes. Its label-driven selection processes made achieving perfect orders an expensive endeavor. Says Brian McCarthy, senior vice president of operations at Nature's Best, "While Nature's Best has almost doubled in size over the past several years, Vocollect Voice has helped us to design and execute a safe, accurate and productive supply chain –the original driver of our deployment decision. And this investment continues to produce a payback for us."

Deployment results include:

  • 30 percent productivity improvement in each pick
  • 60 percent perfect order improvement within 12 months, achieving planned results
  • Significant annual cost savings in credits, labor and rework from accuracy improvements
  • Savings of over 1,400 annual man-hours; thousands of dollars saved annually from asset reductions and maintenance (through use of the Vocollect Vehicle Mount Talkman application for order fulfillment)
  • Reduced and easier training time for both native and non-native English speakers
  • Improved worker safety through hands-free/eyes-free feature of voice
"We rely on Vocollect Voice to help us maintain a high customer service standard while keeping our business nimble and competitive. This is key in a rapid-growth environment such as ours. Our partnerships with Manhattan Associates and Vocollect have helped us succeed in a highly competitive arena," McCarthy says.  

Says Manhattan Associates executive vice president – Americas Jeff Mitchell, "Voice technology is a key component for increasing efficiency and productivity in the warehouse, particularly in today's wholesale distribution market where success depends on delivering different types of products with varying shelf lives to the right stores at the right time."

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