Voice technology enables growth as warehouse doubles in size
November 01, 2013 - MMH Editorial
Memphis-based Hollywood Feed offers unique brands of unprocessed food for canine and feline pets as well as ancillary services such as grooming, training and proper pet nutrition. Since 2007, the company has expanded from three to 20 stores at 50% yearly growth with plans to build 12 new stores in the next year. After deploying a voice picking solution in its warehouse (Voxware, voxware.com), the company has improved accuracy and efficiency while supporting rapid growth.
Operating distribution out of a 36,000-square-foot conventional warehouse, Hollywood Feed previously filled orders for 30- to 50-pound bags of pet food using a paper-based picking process. With a small workforce devoted to product selection, the existing picking process did not allow workers to reach maximum levels of productivity or efficiency and left room for inaccuracies. When the company expanded the warehouse to 77,000 square feet, managers turned to voice technology to increase productivity, efficiency and accuracy.
“We began investigating voice because it offered a hands-free solution that would best meet our needs,” says president Shawn McGhee. “However, we quickly found that few suppliers wanted to talk to us unless we were spending $250,000 or more.”
Instead, McGhee selected a supplier that offered subscription-based pricing that provided the level of flexibility needed to bring voice into his business. “In addition,” says McGhee, “we thought their cloud-based voice management suite (VMS) was far more intuitive than any other solution we investigated.”
Hollywood Feed had the voice solution up and running in just 11 days without the help of dedicated information technology resources. And, 50% of the workforce was up and running in two days. “Quite frankly, this is the single easiest technology I have ever implemented,” McGhee says. “I’ve had Windows implementations that took longer than this did.”
The results include decreased worker training time, worker efficiency improved by a third, increased accuracy in order selection, and a return on investment in less than 60 days. With continued growth in their sites, the company plans to scale the cloud VMS to accommodate more workers, increase order demands and ensure their customer base remains satisfied.
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