Vocollect Makes Pep Boys' Warehouses Talk

Voice-directed distribution boosts performance, accuracy for warehouse functions

Voice-directed distribution boosts performance, accuracy for warehouse functions

Pittsbugh — March 1, 2005 — The Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack, the nation's leading automotive aftermarket retail and service chain, said it has implemented the Vocollect Voice-Directed Distribution offering in two of its five national distribution centers and plans to roll it out shortly to the remaining three.

Pep Boys is applying Vocollect Voice-Directed Distribution to increase productivity, accuracy and team safety in their distribution centers.

"Vocollect is making it possible for our warehouse management system to literally talk our team members through their daily order selection assignments," said Stuart Rosenfeld, VP Distribution at Pep Boys. "We expected productivity improvements and we achieved them. We expected an average 12 percent increase, but when we saw our accuracy rates increase over those we were attaining with RF scanning, we were very surprised. Our accuracy fill rate is averaging 99.63 percent considering we move more than 75 million items a year; a .5+ percent increase in accuracy is significantly better."

Vocollect Voice-Directed Distribution takes the warehouse management system (WMS) assignment output, such as a pick list or replenishment request, and applies text-to-speech and speech synthesis technology to use speech to guide workers step-by-step through their daily tasks.

As a task is completed, the worker communicates with the WMS through a belt-worn computer and a speech recognition headset. Vocollect's speech recognition engine, designed specifically for demanding industrial environments, translates what the worker says into text and sends this information via a wireless network back to the WMS, creating a real-time and dynamic working dialog.

"What impressed me most about our Voice-Directed Distribution effort was how quickly our team accepted this new technology," explained Mike Elmore, vice president, chief information officer, at Pep Boys. "Since speaking is such a natural form of communication, Vocollect is making it possible for Pep Boys to drive more value from our warehouse management system investment."

Elmore went on to say that the results from the initial implementation made the decision to roll the solution out to all five of our national distribution centers easy. Two are already complete, the third will go-live in March, and the remaining DCs will follow suit as quickly as possible. "Based on our success with this natural form of communications, we are investigating the possibility of applying voice technology to other areas both inside and outside the distribution centers," Elmore said.