KFI BRINGS VOCOLLECT VOICE TO THE ARCESE TRASPORTI WAREHOUSE
The automotive market in Europe has suffered a difficult few years due to the economic situation. In Italy in particular the high price of day-to-day automobile upkeep and running costs have negatively impacted sales, even though automobile manufacturers continue to roll out new models. For this reason, car manufacturers have been focusing on lean manufacture and better management of their warehouses and distribution centres.
Arcese acts as an outsourced logistics partner (warehousing, storage, etc…) for companies in every sector. KFI’s’s successful implementation of a Vocollect Voice system for this leading automotive logistics provider is an excellent example of the possibilities for reducing warehouse management costs and optimising the supply chain.
Founded in 1966, Arcese Trasporti is a leading logistics provider that has developed from a simple transportation company to an advanced logistics operator, able to provide integrated logistics solutions for the entire supply chain. Today, the Arcese Group consists of 56 companies that operate in the transport, logistics and real estate sectors, and offer a wide range of services with high added value: road and rail transport, shipments by air and sea and logistics. Arcese has invested in and developed extensive expertise in a variety of markets, including automotive, paper industry, fashion, chemical and the technological sector. Arcese is one of the biggest private logistics operators in Europe and is among the top ten in Italy.
Arcese in numbers:
One major strength of the Arcese Group is the tight integration of the three divisions. In order to guarantee the best customer service levels, integrated solutions that cover the entire logistic chain are offered: import/export by sea or by air, management of distribution centres or inbound warehouses, distribution to the end client and international transport (FTL, Groupage and Intermodal).
The site in Castel San Pietro Terme, near Bologna, is one of the principal logistics hubs of the Arcese Group in Italy. The site is dedicated to multiclient Integrated Logistics and Road Freight (national/international). The site’s multi-client and customs warehouses offer services such as packaging, inbound and outbound, documental logistics and e-commerce, all on a total area of 128,000 m2 with 50,000 m2 of warehouse space, 20,000 m2 of shelving area, 37 loading bays and 30,000 picking locations. The 35 pickers on site work in three shifts, with 4 workers in charge of shipping and one supervisor. There are 1,800,000 lines picked per year.
Improved accuracy of packing lists
Transforming the process of associating picked lines from a manual process into an automatic process for every package shipped eliminated errors in the packing lists. This improved the level of perceived service among Arcese’s clients.
Automation of replenishments
The requirement for replenishment, which previously was a manual process, has been replaced by the voice system asking the operators to confirm stock levels at pick locations.
Better management of the workload
With real-time data on the progress of the picking workflow, the area managers can now intervene to assist or relocate faster or slower pickers.
Reduction of returns and the error rates
As the number of operators picking by voice has increased, complaints by Arcese’s customers about order non-conformities and errors have diminished.
General performance improvements and combined and individual increases in productivity
In the first few months after introduction of the new system, the positive impact of Vocollect Voice on productivity could already be seen. Given Arcese’s growth plans, in future months Arcese foresees further improvements in terms of overall productivity and accuracy, and reduced waiting time for replenishment.
Improve the quality of logistics services for Ford Italy Among the challenges Arcese faced was the need to improve the quality and productivity of their logistics service for their customer Ford, a global leader in the automotive sector. Arcese’s partnership with Ford started in the 1980s and was strengthened in 2000 with the launch of the PDC (Parts Distribution Centre) for Ford Italy at the site in Castel San Pietro. The activities carried out for the spare parts business include: receiving and putaway, put to store and sorting, picking, packaging and shipment. The issues Arcese faced in the management of warehouse activities before the introduction of Vocollect Voice technology were numerous. The use of paper-based picking and application of labels requested by the customer was slowing down the operation and the warehouse management system did not provide real-time visibility on the goods in stock. It was critical to reduce the returns and error rates and their associated costs.
Wth the aim to reduce or eliminate management issues in the Ford warehouse, and in order to improve the productivity and quality of logistics services, the Vocollect Voice system was evaluated at the end of 2012. The hands-free voice system was quickly seen as the ideal solution to guarantee major operational benefits and reduce errors. In addition, the ability to customise each operator’s movements throughout the warehouse offered another strong area for business improvement.
After analysing the solutions available, Arcese chose KFI, Italian leader in the implementation of Vocollect Voice solutions with over 130 installations and 5000 users. KFI worked in close partnership with Arcese’s logistics managers and IT group to install a scalable and flexible solution that would guarantee the promised operational results, whilst providing a comfortable wearable system for the operators.
KFI’s implementation of Vocollect Voice started with examining the logistics processes and host system interfaces, and in early 2013 the initial phase was released. Within a few months the voice application had been tested by a team of pickers, and other opportunities for improvement were identified. After this first test group, the area managers and the rest of the employees were trained, all within a month. It took only 2 accompanied picking trips before the operators were completely autonomous. After carrying out a second release and completing the modifications to the management of the warehouse, in May of 2013 all operators began to use the voice system.
“KFI has provided us with the maximum assistance and consultancy services in the planning and implementation of the Vocollect solution. We are happy to have chosen a reliable partner with great experience in voice technology, and who were able to integrate the voice process with the operational systems already in place”, said Fabio Pinardi, Project Engineering Coordinator Logistics Division of Arcese. “The Vocollect system has satisfied our expectations completely: in a few months we were able to reduce errors and time loss, improve productivity and boost performance. Our warehouse is now definitely optimised and our operational excellence has improved significantly.”
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