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Americana, owner of Bench, picks voice technology

July 20, 2009

Voiteq gets Branded

Americana, owner of the clothing brand Bench, has selected Voiteq to implement voice technology at their Manchester warehouse. The new solution not only allows them to increase productivity and accuracy, but also provides the management team with visibility of the operation.

Americana International Ltd was founded in 1990 and is a leading branded apparel business, having launched Bench in 1995. The business has both wholesale and retail operations throughout the UK and Europe and a market-leading sourcing business in the Far East. The voice implementation, at Americana’s Manchester base, utilises Voiteq’s VoiceMan middleware and Vocollect® wearable voice computers. This solution replaces Americana’s existing paper-based picking, the system directs the operator to the appropriate location, the operator then identifies the product to be selected by both location check digit and colour and then verifies the item by the Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU). Only once the SKU has been verified does the system inform the operator of the quantity to be picked, ensuring the accuracy of the pick.

Damion Laycock, Americana’s Logistics Director says, “The implementation of voice middleware was the perfect solution for us, it enabled us to gain additional functionality but without having the expense or disruption of altering our warehouse management module. This meant we increased our productivity and accuracy quickly and cost effectively.”

Voiteq’s VoiceMan middleware will interface between the Vocollect Talkman T5 wearable computer, and Americana’s existing Microsoft® Navision® system. Operatives can work completely hands and eyes free by receiving picking commands from the WMS to a plug-in headset and the computer, the system literally talks the operative through their task. The voice-directed application not only typically delivers accuracy levels exceeding 99.9%, but has also increased visibility across the operation.

Laycock concludes, “The VoiceMan solution’s flexibility and the team’s experience meant that they have created a solution specifically for us. We are now looking forward to rolling this solution out to the wholesale division.”

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