The challenges for food logistics are immense: Delivered goods must be of perfect quality, the cooling chain must be kept to at all times and all batches must be traceable. This requires a highly efficient supply chain with optimized processes. For this reason, the food supplier Prima-Food digitalized the picking of around 7,000 articles at the Espelkamp and Mulmshorn sites and introduced the Lydia® voice solution from topsystem. Prima-Food thus benefits from significant time savings, more transparency in the warehouse and a reduction in errors - without losing process flexibility.
The two logistics centres in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony cover a total area of around 4,275 m2 for frozen, fresh and dry goods. Approximately 4,000 products are stored in both Espelkamp and Mulmshorn, including fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, pastries and desserts. The customer base primarily includes restaurateurs and caterers who are supplied by Prima-Food. Previously, only paper lists were used for order picking. However, this made the entire picking process very time-consuming due to the large number of manual steps. After completion of the picking process, the goods were handed over to the truck driver: An employee had to go through the entire picking list item by item with the driver so that he knew exactly which orders had shortfalls or had to be replaced.
Flexible picking processes with Lydia® Voice
Now Prima-Food uses the mobile voice computer Voxter® Elite and the ergonomic picking vest Lydia® VoiceWear® from topsystem. In addition, every employee is equipped with the Voxter® Scan Elite back-of-hand scanner to scan barcodes quickly and reliably with information such as article and batch numbers as well as weight and best before dates. One of the main requirements of Prima-Food was that the employees able to take decisions independently even in voice-guided picking. For example, the system allows order pickers to pick a quantity other than the specified one. If a storage location is empty, Lydia® offers employees the opportunity to ask the warehouse management system about an alternative location with the same item or even a substitute item. Lydia® also converts pick quantities into pieces or cartons as required, eliminating the need for employees to make conversions.
In addition to picking for a single customer, a collective picking can also be carried out. In the case of weighted goods such as meat or cheese in particular, it is important which customer receives the goods. During picking, the employee therefore receives the corresponding information via the voice dialog and marks the goods according to their customer affiliation. At the end of the picking process, the driver receives a printout with the goods to be transported. The time-consuming handover from the order picker to the driver is therefore no longer necessary. Lydia® also reveals optimisation potential: Based on the data provided by the system, Prima-Food can offer specific training courses to warehouse employees and thus further improve process quality. "With Lydia® Voice we have improved the entire picking process. Voice picking not only saves us time, it also reduces errors. The solution from topsystem supports us in supplying our customers with flawless and high-quality food on time", says Björn Gräber, managing director at Prima-Food.