Voice Guidance Picks up the Pace of Order Fulfillment in Pet Products Warehouse
At Coastal Pet Products Inc., order packing and shipping operations no longer wait for the product pickers. An enhanced voice-guided workflow powered by the latest Honeywell Voice technology is speedier.
“They’re picking in record times now,” said Scott Honaker, a specialty system technician at Coastal Pet Products.
Coastal Pet Products outgrew the capabilities of its warehouse material handling equipment and software because of increasing sales, requiring both in-store inventory replenishment and fast delivery to e-commerce customers. Based in Alliance, Ohio, the manufacturer of collars, leashes and harnesses for cats and dogs produces 14,000 to 16,000 SKUs. It’s this variety of products as well as the increasing volume and velocity of orders which prompted Coastal Pet Products’ warehouse management systems and business systems managers to evaluate technology options.
During the past year, Coastal Pet Products invested in updates to its Honeywell Voice system to improve the company’s high-performing order fulfillment processes. Coastal Pet Products also purchased a third-party warehouse management system (WMS). As a result, the company has:
- Increased picking speed
- Reduced labor costs
- Lowered training requirements
- Enhanced visibility
Here’s how Coastal Pet Products maximized the benefits of Honeywell Voice to also improve productivity, order fulfillment accuracy and on-time delivery.
Ambitious Order Fulfillment Goals Achieved With Voice
The company’s leaders wanted to reduce the training time required for seasonal workers to learn the voice system. They also decided to find ways to face other challenges, such as:
- Scaling e-commerce fulfillment while supporting fulfillment to traditional retailers
- Avoiding labor costs for overtime
- Expanding real-time insights into inventory and operations
To accomplish these goals, Coastal Pet Products replaced older wired and wireless headsets with SRX3 wireless headsets, the next generation in Bluetooth® wireless headset technology. SRX3 headsets are ideal for noisy distribution centers (DCs) and warehouses because they utilize the latest advancements in speech-recognition technology. They also offer long battery life in every operating environment and a shareable component design.
To support mobile workers with faster picking and inventory replenishment directions, Coastal Pet Products invested in A720x voice-enabled mobile devices. The wearable A720x enables the Honeywell Voice system to deliver hands-free and eyes-free efficiencies via intuitive and ergonomic technologies. The A720x Series supports simultaneous use of Bluetooth-enabled headsets, scanners and printers.
The Bottom Line: Upgraded Technology Boosts Productivity
Coastal Pet Products has improved productivity by as much as 5 percent. That’s a result of the A720x mobile devices, which send order information faster than the older equipment they replaced. In addition, operators pick up instructions quicker because the audio quality is better.
Coastal Pet Products also eliminated extra Saturday shifts to process orders or replenish inventory. Time needed for training has been reduced by at least 250 hours this year because Honeywell Voice can quickly identify an employee’s voice while the worker learns what the directions from the device mean. New workers can be productive in the first hour on day one, Honaker reported.
Perhaps the most visible change, however, is how the company eliminated delays in packing and shipping by switching to the faster communication capacity of the new voice devices.
“Picks are completed in record time, and we’re overloading the conveyor system now,” Honaker said. “We’re actually picking too fast.”
Honeywell Voice seamlessly integrates with Coastal Pet Products’ new third-party WMS to provide advanced data collection, automated documentation and analytics capabilities. Learn more about how the company now has access to real-time insights into inventory, order fulfillment status and productivity by reading the full Coastal Pet Products case study.