Voice picking solution improves warehouse order fulfilment accuracy at Schweppes Australia DC

Schweppes Australia’s Archerfield Distribution Centre (DC) in Queensland operates five days a week, 24 hours a day and can pick up to 16,000 cases every day. Schweppes Australia delivers to about 5,000 customers out of Archerfield and on a national basis the company delivers the company delivers to roughly 30,000 customers.

The Schweppes story began in 1783 when Jacob Schweppe brought ‘Schweppervescence’ to life. He perfected a way of capturing and bottling bubbles (the process of carbonation) — and founded Schweppes in Geneva. The company eventually expanded into England and his fizzy soda waters were endorsed by leading doctors and sold as a treatment for a variety of ailments. It was described as “a safe and cooling drink for persons exhausted by much speaking, heated by dancing or crowded assemblies”.

During the 1870s, the famous Schweppes Tonic Water and Ginger Ale were added to the range and the company continued to expand geographically with factories opening around the world.

Today, Schweppes continues to be well-known in international markets, and in Australia it is a leading company in the Australian non-alcoholic beverage market.

Schweppes Australia’s Archerfield Distribution Centre (DC) in Queensland operates five days a week, 24 hours a day and can pick up to 16,000 cases every day. Schweppes Australia delivers to roughly 5,000 customers out of Archerfield and on a national basis the company delivers to roughly 30,000 customers. 

In order to improve its warehouse operations, and specifically improve picking accuracy and efficiency, Schweppes Australia’s Archerfield DC recently deployed a fully-automated voice solution across their facility. The solution, comprising Dexion’s Real-time Distribution System (RDS) in combination with Talkman A500 mobile computing devices from Vocollect by Honeywell, quickly resulted in significant improvements.

Prior to utilising the automated voice-directed picking solution, Schweppes Archerfield site used manual paper processes. This system would rely on workers planning their picking routes based on paper picking sheets, which led to inefficiencies and also allowed for human error.

“Due to a lot of the Schweppes product descriptions being similar, if a picker in our warehouse didn’t take the time to read a pick sheet correctly, a product would be loaded and directed to the wrong location, which could result in customer service issues,” said Nathan Lucinsky, Archerfield DC manager, Schweppes Australia.

“In our first week using the voice system, picking errors were reduced by 90%,” said Mike Heide, Queensland Distribution manager, Schweppes Australia. “Our employees now have greater freedom, mobility and safety with a wireless headset and the Vocollect Talkman mobile device.”

With the automated voice solution, Schweppes’ Archerfield DC workers are directed via the new Vocollect SRX2 Wireless Headset to a specific location in the warehouse to pick a specific type of product and there is no chance of manual intervention.

“The Dexion and Vocollect by Honeywell voice system helps to enhance Schweppes Archerfield facility’s customer service levels by automating the picking process. The Vocollect Voice solution directs workers to their correct location, tells them how many cartons or products they need to pick, gets them to confirm this back to the system – taking a carton count, all of which helps ensure correct products are picked and go to the right customer,” said Paul Phillips, Regional manager – Australia/New Zealand for Vocollect by Honeywell.

“The fully-integrated, seamless system eliminates double handling of pallets and eliminated non-value add repetitive tasks from  day-to-day activities – all of which adds up to more efficient and accurate DC operations,” said Mike Dowd, Systems Solutions manager for Dexion.