In the course of logistics strategy METRO is updating its warehouse network in Germany considerably. The trading group centralizes the former 13 sites with storage space of up to 500,000 m² in a total of eight German logistics centers. This includes two state-of-the-art new buildings. Each of them is bigger than all former sites in sum. The central warehouse in Marl has storage space of approx. 225,000 m². Thus a considerably higher order volume is processed on site. At the same time, with thiscentralization METRO is preparing for the requirements of e-commerce business. To meet future demands on efficiency and quality of intra-logistic processes METRO LOGISTICS relies on the Lydia® Voice Suite by topsystem when it comes to picking and processing of two-phase cross docking management.
Software and hardware solution from one source
Thorsten Sega, Division Manager Central Logistics / Warehouse Network Strategy at METRO LOGISTICS says: “We were ultimately convinced by the pilot test of the system: topsystem implemented software and hardware on a trial basis in a very short time. In doing so, the solution was customized to our complex demands of multi-channel retail.” An important aspect for the group was the direct integration of the solution into the superior inventory management system. To facilitate communication the mobile voice devices and the warehouse management system are directly linked, additional middleware is not required.
Lydia® support two-phase cross docking
The voice-directed solution is used for picking some 30,000 different products from all divisions: along with non-food items the pickers move goods from the entire food segment of the company using a headset and Voxter®. In particular in temperature-controlled warehouse areas and cross docking process the skilled workers benefit form hands-free/eyes-free concept of the voice-directed solution. Without prior shelving, in the two-phase cross docking process (BBxD) of METRO the pickers move the goods on pallets by means of lift trucks and allocate them to the respective target pallets. Then the BBxD process is completed with the prompt delivery of the target pallets. Not only when heavy loads are transported, but also in warehouse areas where protective clothing such as gloves is required, voice control may be operated without interruption of work by putting on and taking off the gloves. Moreover, METRO LOGISTICS tests Lydia® Voice Wear® as an ergonomic alternative to the headset at all sites.
For METRO LOGISTICS a key benefit of Lydia® Voice Suite is the flexibility of the system: due to the speaker-independence of the software, seasonal workers and new employees are directly ready to work without time-consuming speaker training or the creation of a voice profile.
Project plan for 2018
In 2017 and 2018 further rollouts of Lydia® Voice Suite are planned at the METRO sites. Following this the integration of a new warehouse management system is pending: for smooth operation of this software with pick-by-voice in the future topsystem is already implementing the necessary adjustments.