June 2014 Integrated Solutions For Retailers
By Sally Jones, contributing editor
When this pet food retailer adopted cloud-based voice technology in its warehouse, it reduced pick time, improved quality, and slashed worker training time.
When you’re an up-and-coming retailer looking for ways to keep pace with competitors, you seek out every possible edge. Especially when you’re moving tons of bulky items from warehouse to retail store every day. Growing from 18 stores in the third quarter of 2013 to 23 at the beginning of 2014, and planning to double the number of stores every two years, Hollywood Feed is setting an aggressive course. And the key to the company’s success is the ability to streamline the warehouse operation that resupplies each store. “If you think about pet food, it’s mostly delivered in bags weighing anywhere from six to 50 pounds,” says Shawn McGhee, president. “So one of our challenges was creating an efficient pick operation when one hand is full of paper and holding a pen, and you’re trying to look at the item, record quantities, and pick, all at the same time.”
A veteran of large-scale warehouse and distribution opera- tions, McGhee knew he needed to improve the efficiency of the picking operation. He considered many solutions, including RFID scanners, but realized these options still required workers to hold something. And he also ran into a snag when searching for vendors. Without a significant capital outlay, none of the large companies were interested in providing solutions for what he calls a “baby” warehouse — just 76,000 square feet. That’s when he found the voice solutions offered by Voxware.
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