Voiteq, global provider of Voice-Directed Work solutions, has today announced that publishing firm Oxford University Press has implemented Voiteq’s pioneering VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice solution in its Kettering Distribution Centre (DC), seamlessly integrated with OUP’s existing JDA warehouse and labour management systems. Aiming to achieve significant benefits in productivity and user ergonomics, the phased implementation was completed in May 2015 and the organisation now uses voice across all picking, put-away, bulk very narrow aisle (VNA), relocation and stock counting processes.
A department of the prestigious Oxford University, OUP is the largest university press in the world. The company publishes internationally in more than 40 languages and in a variety of formats, including print and digital. Its Kettering DC dispatches over 36,000 orders every month and employs over 200 people, with up to 70 now using voice at any one time.
As part of its continuous improvement initiative, the company embarked on a search for a cost-effective and technologically innovative solution that would allow it to gain operational efficiencies, without major changes to its existing back-end systems. Greig Cook, business analyst at OUP commented, “Having seen Voiteq’s voice solutions at some other publishing operations, we quickly realised that the performance improvements we were looking to make could be delivered by the introduction of voice. However, we also needed to retain our existing JDA warehouse and labour management systems that underpin our operation, so the Voiteq VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice solution was a perfect fit.”
“The Voiteq team worked closely with us and has delivered above and beyond in terms of service”, said Paula Hart, support & development manager at OUP. “The technology now means our personnel within the DC can work completely hands-free, which is crucial for the careful handling of products. We’ve also been able to voice-enable our VNA area, removing the need for distracting screens and allowing the operators to focus on moving pallets safely and efficiently. It has been a cost-effective process and we’re delighted with the outcome – we are seeing productivity gains in excess of 10 per cent.”
Already deployed in numerous sites across Europe, VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice takes the text prompts displayed on the screen, translates these into voice instructions and then enters the user’s spoken responses back into the screen. This enables employees who currently use screen-and-keyboard RF devices to be completely hands-free; significantly improving ergonomics and productivity without the need for complex interfaces or changes to existing warehouse systems. The unique architecture of VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice provides session persistence to ensure reliable, uninterrupted connectivity between voice terminals and the WMS. It also supports advanced features such as database lookups, session multiplexing and check-digit management.
Isabel McCabe, managing director at Voiteq UK, commented, “We always focus on how we can improve our customer’s operations; we then select the best integration tool from our broad VoiceMan product family. This approach worked very well for OUP and we’re delighted to have them join our ever-growing customer community. We look forward to helping them gain the benefits from voice in even more of their DC processes.”
OUP hopes to exploit the use of voice in other areas of its Kettering DC and is currently looking at its potential use in its goods receiving and packing tasks.