Parmalat Australia exceeds targets with voice-directed warehouse solution

Parmalat’s Lidcombe Warehouse achieved a 15 percent improvement in litres per man hour following the roll-out of a new WMS and voice solution

Icon Integration and Dematic worked with Honeywell Scanning & Mobility (HSM) to design and employ a new voice-directed smart SAP WMS solution capable of delivering a competitive edge for Parmalat.

The new WMS solution and the Honeywell Vocollect voice technology solution replaced a paper-based picking system at Parmalat’s Lidcombe distribution centre (DC) in western Sydney, which is one of the key warehouses in Parmalat’s Australian network.

“The Lidcombe DC is very important to our business as we service a number of high profile customers across a wide area, and it is imperative that our warehouse runs as effectively as possible in order to deliver perishable dairy goods fresh and on time,” said Guy Romeo, national logistics transformation manager, Parmalat.

Seth van Dijk, sales manager, Dematic, said Parmalat initially enlisted them to investigate how technology could help them optimise their current processes.

“The basis of Dematic’s initial investigation on the DC floor was for us to look at what was traditionally a paper-based process and to determine how we could implement technology to help speed that up,” van Dijk said. “Dematic investigated a number of different technologies but determined that voice picking was the optimal solution.”

Parmalat’s overall goal in implementing the new system was to achieve greater utilisation of their labour to improve overall warehouse efficiency. To achieve this Parmalat needed to upgrade to a system that offered more visibility, so they were in a position to specify what tasks employees fulfilled at all times. Under the new WMS and voice solution Parmalat now has complete visibility of their workforce.

“Parmalat’s business is fast-moving consumer goods with a short shelf-life, therefore it was vital they introduced automated processes that led to less travel time, better rotation of stock, less wastage and ultimately an increase in the litres per man hour,” said Jason Nalewabau, director, SAP Logistics Execution Solutions, Icon Integration. “We had the tools at Icon to automate Parmalat’s new smart WMS design and on top of that we overlayed the Honeywell voice system to get the visibility and speed of execution in the warehouse.”

Parmalat achieved productivity and safety improvements through Honeywell’s Vocollect voice solution’s “Hands-Free and Eyes-Free” qualities, which means employees no longer need to look down or put down papers and scanners to pick up a unit or crate of stock. The DC also is better organised and stock is moving a lot more freely since the new system was deployed.

“Under the new WMS and voice-directed picking system, we’ve experienced a 15 percent improvement in terms of our litres per man hour,” Romeo said. “As a result we’re not only reaching our targets, but exceeding them, even during peak periods such as the Christmas that has just passed.”

Parmalat’s new voice-directed picking solution has not only been designed for use in warehouses distributing milk in nondescript crates, like Lidcombe, but also Parmalat DCs that predominantly distribute other product categories including cheese, soft dairy and UHT milk.

“We are thrilled to see Parmalat is already reaping the rewards of enhanced efficiency, productivity and accuracy that are delivered by voice technologies,” said Paul Phillips, regional manager – Australia/New Zealand for Honeywell’s Vocollect Solutions. “Customers supplied by Parmalat’s Lidcombe warehouse are also benefitting from the enhanced order fulfilment performance they are now able to offer.”

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