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BOOTHS Convert to Voice

January 6, 2006

Leading Regional retailer, Booths, has selected Voiteq, the UK’s leading software supplier of voice recognition applications for warehouse and distribution companies, to install Vocollect’s Talkman ® voice picking technology at its distribution centre in Preston. The £140,000 VoiceMan middleware installation will work alongside its existing CSfD warehouse management system (WMS) to create a more efficient warehouse with more accurate picking rates.

Based in the North-West of England and founded 158 years ago, Booths has a long history and tradition of selling high quality food purchased from the best local producers from the counties it serves.

With an annual turnover of £190 million and 26 stores located across the north of England, Booths is experiencing considerable year on year growth and expansion. As a result of the company’s growth it was decided that its existing Ambient picking solution at its distribution centre had reached critical mass.

Andrew Rafferty, IT Manager at Booths stated, “With over 25,000 individual stock lines to manage and an increasing number of outlets, we needed a picking solution that would drive productivity and increase efficiency. Our old picking solution was paper based and required pickers to tick picking orders off sheets by hand and enter information manually. The Voiteq solution will create a paperless warehouse, with an automated process and hands-free, eyes-free enabled workers.”

The VoiceMan solution takes “picking” information from the CSfD WMS and converts it into ‘voice’ tasks which, are sent over the RF network by the host system to the worker’s voice device, which consists of a securely fastened belt mounted Talkman unit and headset. Once a picker has located the product in the warehouse and picked it they respond via the mouthpiece. Talkman’s ‘check-digit’ picking response system generates on average picking accuracy levels of 99.99%.

Rafferty continues, “We chose Voiteq specifically because of their understanding of our business and their expertise in our sector. We needed a provider who was prepared to be flexible and integrate their voice solution into our existing WMS. We expect to have completed phase one of implementation by February 2006, phases two and three will see voice technology incorporated into perpetual inventory and stock replenishment.”

He concludes, “We had considered voice technology previously but were concerned that the technology was too new. However, after observing Voiteq’s implementation at wholesale distributors NISA, we were convinced that voice technology was the right solution for us.”

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