Oxford University Press
February 13, 2017
Major academic publishing house uses VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice solution across multiple workflows
Benefits At a Glance:
- Fast implementation
- No WMS modifications
- Minimal IT support required
- Voice-enabled 5 workflows
- Productivity up by 10%
- Lower operating costs
- Reduced training time
Oxford University Press (OUP) is a publishing company and department of the University of Oxford. Today, OUP has a presence in more than 50 countries, and is the largest university press in the world, employing over 6,500 people worldwide and publishing in more than 40 languages. Its Kettering Distribution Centre (DC), which has more than 220 staff, dispatches over 36,000 orders every month.
OUP had been a longstanding user of handheld terminals (HHTs) which were coming to end-of-life. This offered the company an opportunity to explore and identify the best technology available that could provide greater efficiency and enhanced user ergonomics.
Greig Cook, business analyst at OUP, said: “As part of our search for a viable operational solution, our team visited existing customers of Voiteq in the publishing industry to see how they were using voice. We quickly realised that voice could deliver the performance improvements we were looking to make in our DC.”
Challenge & Solution:
As OUP had already invested in its JDA Dispatcher warehouse & performance management system, they needed to retain the processes already in place. The business sought a solution that would seamlessly connect to its systems without requiring any further development.
The business also wanted to improve associate safety, reduce training time, increase accuracy and productivity alongside updating its existing hardware.
Voiteq was selected and implemented its VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice solution which takes the text prompts displayed on a HHT screen, translates these into voice commands and then translates the user’s spoken responses back into data for the JDA Dispatcher WMS to process. The new solution was combined with belt-worn Talkman devices and lightweight headsets.
One final challenge that OUP needed to address was RF dropout zones in certain parts of the DC. VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice features session persistence; tasks sit on the device to ensure uptime during any blackspots.
VoiceMan Screen-to-Voice was seamlessly integrated with OUP’s existing management systems in a matter of weeks.
“We had previously looked at voice and didn’t think it was for us given the complexity of our back-end systems. However, when Voiteq approached us about Screen-to-Voice, we realised that we could maintain our systems and processes as they were, and to top it all off, it could be done in just a few weeks. The roll-out and support from Voiteq was second-to-none,” remarked Paula Hart, support and development manager, OUP.
OUP now uses voice across five workflows – picking, put-away, bulk very narrow aisle (VNA), relocation and stock counting – with over 70 personnel working eyes-free, hands-free at any one time. Processes such as picking are now more fluid as voice users can be ‘walking and talking’ to the next pick without waiting to view an instruction on a screen.
Health and safety was also high on the agenda for OUP, deciding to add voice to its forklift truck (FLT) VNA area, removed the need for distracting screens and allows associates to focus on safely and efficiently moving pallets.
“The Voiteq team worked closely with us and delivered above and beyond in terms of customer service throughout the project delivery and post go-live period.
“It has been a cost-effective process and we’re delighted with the outcome. We didn’t have to modify our WMS and we’re seeing productivity gains in excess of 10 per cent. There have also been other benefits; our old hardware, such as HHTs, were regularly sent for repair due to damage or wear and tear, with voice we haven’t lost or repaired any devices yet. In addition, our training time has also been cut in half.”
“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.”
Paula Hart, support and development manager, OUP.