Zetes wins important voice picking contract for Morrisons’ distribution centres

picker2jpgVoice gives Morrisons improved picking accuracy and efficiency, user-friendliness, and multi-lingual user support. Zetes, Europe’s leading provider of solutions for the automatic identification of goods and people, has signed a contract worth over £6m with Morrisons, the UK’s fourth largest supermarket chain, to provide one of Britain’s biggest voice directed picking installations.

Zetes’ solution for Morrisons is based on Zetes’ 3iV voice software and over 2000 Vocollect Talkman voice computers. Once live, it will voice enable thousands of Morrisons’ warehouse operators based at the retailer’s distribution centres across the UK, who are currently working from a paper based picking system. Implementation is being conducted in phases starting in January 2009 and is scheduled for completion by 2010.

Zetes is Europe’s largest voice technology specialist and currently supports over 40,000 live users of its 3iV software in some of Europe’s largest distribution centres. Before securing the final contract, Zetes successfully completed a three-month pilot project to prove the business case of their voice system at Morrisons’ Corby Freezer DC.

During the pilot phase, Zetes implemented a voice picking solution in conjunction with 20 Vocollect Talkman T5 wearable voice computers and headsets. This delivered immediate improvements according to Morrisons’ project evaluation criteria.

These benefits included improved picking accuracy, greater operational efficiency including ease of task allocation and the flexibility to meet Morrison’s operational requirements, user-friendliness, the ability to support multi-lingual pickers of all levels of ability and the suitability of the system for freezer environments. In addition, Morrison’s management team wanted to improve the quality of real time, business management information and enhance the reporting capability for legacy and Oracle WMS.

“Zetes is delighted to have been selected by Morrisons as a strategic supply chain IT partner. We regard this as a flagship project and all of us at Zetes are very excited to have the opportunity to develop both a long term partnership with Morrisons and to deliver a step-change in the accuracy and efficiency of stock picking across their UK distribution network,” says James Hannay.

“This project is particularly exciting for us because Morrisons already outperforms many of its competitors in what are extremely tough trading conditions for retailers, so having the added advantage of voice directed picking will assist Morrisons in maintaining competitive advantage in the future.”

“Morrisons are very pleased to appoint Zetes as a strategic technology partner, their voice picking system met all our requirements and we are looking forward to a speedy implementation”, says Gary Barr, IT Director at Morrisons Plc. “It was important to identify a supplier able to deliver and support our solution to the highest levels and we have found this in Zetes.”

Morrisons’ voice implementation is being deployed as part of an enterprise-wide IT strategy review, which also includes a migration from its legacy WMS systems to the Oracle WMS. Zetes will be implementing its 3iV voice solution across Morrisons’ sites running both their Legacy and Oracle WMS in parallel.  Zetes’ solution was an ideal choice under such circumstances because it enables Morrisons’ to benefit from the rapid ROI achieved through switching to voice picking whilst their strategic IT transformation programme continues.

The Zetes 3iV solution delivers complementary business logic optimised to enhance the voice functionality of the WMS yet avoids any costly and unnecessary duplication of WMS functionality. Vocollect’s Talkman T5 wearable computers were selected as the best voice platform for use by Morrisons’ warehouse operators.
An additional benefit to Morrisons from implementing Zetes 3iV is the future flexibility this voice solution delivers. Uniquely, Zetes has adopted an open systems approach which ensures Morrisons are not “locked in” to any voice hardware or software, and can retain access to all the latest application and technology developments plus benefit from improvements to industry standards.

As part of the Morrisons solution, Zetes will be providing full on-site hardware and software support through Zetes Care support and maintenance, which includes service delivery management.

Zetes’ James Hannay of Zetes, concludes: “In a tough economic environment, Zetes’ voice solution delivers significant productivity gains to our customers. Investment projects bringing the shortest Return on Investment are the first ones customers are typically considering, and Morrisons saw these benefits early on during the pilot phase.”