PJH Group, one of the largest European distributors of bathrooms, kitchens and appliances to the home improvement market, has placed a £150,000 order with Solarsoft Business Systems for new voice picking software and Psion Teklogix WORKABOUT PRO units which will enable PJH to aim for 100% picking accuracy and increase the number of picks per day by as much as 10%. By removing manual warehouse processes, staff training time will also be reduced from several days to a matter of hours.
Formed in 1972, PJH Group delivers in excess of £150 million worth of stock per annum to customers including B&Q, Persimmon, Barratt Homes, CP Hart and Travis Perkins. Solarsoft’s new voice picking solution will initially be rolled out at PJH’s National Distribution Centre in Enfield which is focused entirely on distributing stock to B&Q stores. By automating its warehouse operations, PJH will be able to further improve its delivery service to all customers.
With upwards of 18,000 items picked each day in PJH warehouses, voice technology will increase the productivity of staff and give the company more speed and flexibility in its warehouse operations. Using speech recognition and speech synthesis, the voice solution will allow PJH workers to communicate with the warehouse management system, also provided by Solarsoft. Wearing Psion Teklogix’ WORKABOUT PRO multi-modal unit with a headset, warehouse operatives will be able to receive picking instructions and verbally confirm their actions back to the system, while keeping their hands free.
David Johnston, IT Director at PJH Group, says, “The new voice picking solution from Solarsoft will help us achieve a considerable productivity increase and we expect to see a reduction in picking errors to close to zero. Throughput will increase significantly because pickers can simply recite their picks into the voice system, without interrupting proceedings to remove gloves to scan barcodes or complete paper forms. As a result, we will be able to increase the number of picks per day by as much as 10%. The software will also help us to move towards central control of our warehouse operations, rather than relying on employees’ memory and inside knowledge for the location of stock.”
Johnston continues, “Mis-picks are very costly – from handling calls from customers who have received the wrong goods, to paying for those goods to be returned, and then re-picking and re-transporting goods. And then of course there is the fact that payment is delayed whilst the customer waits for the order to be fulfilled correctly. By eliminating mis-picks, we will be able to significantly reduce the admin burden on the business, simultaneously helping our cash-flow.”
Another benefit of Solarsoft’s voice picking software is that the system has multi-lingual functionality. As PJH employs a diverse workforce to manage its warehouse operations, this means that staff can be trained on parts of the system in their own language and they can input voice commands in whatever language they choose.
Commenting on the working relationship with Solarsoft, Johnston concludes, “We have a long-standing relationship with Solarsoft and we like the fact that they are flexible in their approach, and their staff are experts in implementing IT solutions in the manufacturing and distribution sector. By working with Solarsoft, we are able to stay focused on our core business activities, from warehouse management and stock control to deliveries and customer relations, whilst Solarsoft work in tandem with our IT team to help ensure that we have a best-in-class IT infrastructure to help move the business forward.”
Once the voice picking solution has been implemented at PJH’s Enfield site, phase two will involve rolling out the technology at the company’s other sites.
Solarsoft Business Systems supplies modern enterprise software and IT services to manufacturers, distributors and wholesale businesses across North America, Europe and Asia. The company has grown organically and through acquisition since 1986. Over 2,000 companies rely on Solarsoft to bring clarity and efficiency to their daily operations.
For more information, please visit www.solarsoft.com Tel: 01256 685200