NZ retailer talks up voice recognition

One of New Zealand's largest supermarket co-operatives said a new voice recognition tool has helped boost productivity in its warehouse operation.Foodstuffs Wellington, a co-operative of more than 180 member grocery stores in the lower half of the North Island, has implemented Infor's voice solution at two of its distribution centres.

One of New Zealand's largest supermarket co-operatives said a new voice recognition tool has helped boost productivity in its warehouse operation.

Foodstuffs Wellington, a co-operative of more than 180 member grocery stores in the lower half of the North Island, has implemented Infor's voice solution at two of its distribution centres. It plans to add the technology at a third centre next month. Infor provides business-specific software to organisations of all sizes.

Foodstuffs said one of the biggest challenges faced by the distribution industry is the amount of time required to pick products for order fulfilment. The manual process of collecting products off a warehouse shelf is susceptible to human error.

"We needed to increase productivity while maintaining the high level of accuracy that our existing radio frequency system provided," said Joe Bolton, general manager, operations for Foodstuffs Wellington.

Foodstuffs is forecasting a six to eight percent reduction in "pick time" and a 95 percent reduction in equipment repair bills as a result of integrating Infor's WM Voice solution and SCM Warehouse Management solution.

"The retail distribution industry is highly competitive and faces labour shortages, increasing quantity of product lines and demand for higher levels of service," said Tim Moylan, Infor's VP Supply Chain Solutions Asia Pacific. "Even one percent improvement in productivity results in an increased competitive advantage. Voice is increasingly a solution for leading distributors to gain that edge."

Foodstuffs Wellington is one of three Foodstuffs regional co-operative groupings which collectively have a 56 percent share of the New Zealand grocery market.

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