Voice technology improves picking south of the border

Mexican supermarket chain installs voice technology to ensure timely and accurate delivery of grocery orders.
image
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
February 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Tiendas Comercial Mexicana is the third-largest supermarket chain in Mexico, with stores in more than 50 cities. Founded in 1930, the company has built a strong public reputation for community support, quality stores and product selection.

Inside its four distribution centers, however, Tiendas Comcerial Mexicana was struggling with inefficient picking operations. A paper picking system in its dry goods DC and a RF scanning picking system in its perishables DC were contributing to incomplete and inaccurate orders. While picking orders, operators often fumbled with the RF device or paper, which made it difficult to follow established picking processes.

When the company established a new perishables facility in 2009, it also took a fresh look at technology for its existing DCs. The company chose a voice-directed, hands-free solution (Vocollect, vocollect.com) to help the performance of its picking operations across the board.

“The most important goal for us is to continuously improve our service levels to our 200 stores. So we needed to become as efficient as possible in throughput, velocity and product cost,” says Carlos Ramos, corporate logistics director.

The solution helps associates ensure timely, correct orders by eliminating paper and scanning devices.

The voice system also proved effective in recording the weight of items like meat and frozen products. Rather than reading and typing in the weight, workers dictate the information directly into the system. The simplified catchweight capture process has realized more than 50% in improvements over manual processes.

Workers reached full operational capacity in just two days and helped the company exceed its productivity and accuracy goals. Picking productivity is up by 25% over RF scanning in the perishables DC and by more than 50% over paper in the dry goods DC. And, order accuracy has increased from 98% in the dry goods facility to 99.6%

“The customers have definitely noticed our faster and more accurate response times to meet their needs,” says Ramos, “which has helped us grow and maintain our competitiveness during challenging economic times.”



About the Author

image
Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Department of Commerce reported that January retail sales were up 0.2 percent compared to December and up 3.7 percent annually at $449.9 billion, and the NRF reported that January retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants, rose 0.6 percent over December and 1.4 percent compared to January 2015.

On the freight shipments side, Cass reported that January shipments––at 1.025––trailed December by 1.3 percent and January 2016 by 0.2 percent. These declines were less than the 4.9 percent drop from November to December, though, and January shipments still topped the 1.0 mark for the 65th straight month in December.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) saw a 0.4 percent decline from November to December, its second straight decline on the heels of a 1.0 percent decrease from October to November.

Carloads saw a 11.7 percent annual decline at 241,680, and intermodal containers and trailers rose 10.5 percent to 262,830

An amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea convention will go into effect requiring all shippers (importers and exporters) to certify and submit the Verified Gross Mass – the combined weight of the cargo and the container – to the steamship line and terminal operator in advance of loading the container aboard a vessel.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.