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Hitachi Transport System has selected the 3iV Crystal multimodal voice solution from Zetes to optimise the picking and receiving operations in its warehouse in Waardenburg, the Netherlands.

Hitachi Transport System is a logistics service provider, offering customers a wide range of logistics services and freight management through its global network.

From the warehouse in Waardenburg it manages, among other things, the logistics services for Mitsubishi Hartmetall (focused on hard metals, carbides and spare parts).

To guarantee a first-class service, based on flawless receiving of goods and preparation of orders, both along a conveyor line, they turned to Zetes.

Zetes has implemented its multimodal voice application, combining voice directed work with scanning, for the goods receiving and order picking processes.

The integration between Hitachi Transport System’s WMS and the voice solution is through Zetes’ Logistics Execution System Medea.

Via mobile voice terminals (Talkman T5 from Vocollect) and mobile scanners (SF 51 from Intermec), the operators on the workfloor communicate directly with the host system.

When a new item is received it is transported by the conveyor to an assigned zone.

The operator who is active in that zone receives the crate and scans the bar code, after which the voice system communicates the location where the product needs to be put away.

This location is not only verified by means of random check digits on the location, but also by scanning of the product’s bar code.

The same procedure applies when a product is being picked up from the shelf to be put into the preparation crates on the conveyor.

Thanks to this procedure, completed by another check point at the end of the conveyor in the picking area, mistakes have been virtually eliminated.

All operators are equipped with the same system, which allows them to change zones whenever required.

This flexibility has had a significant impact on the efficiency of the workforce, allowing them to treat more orders in the same period of time.

‘Being part of a Japanese group, the choice for implementing voice has not been straightforward, as this technology is not yet well known in Japan,’ said Stef Wildschut, manager of the logistics engineering department, Hitachi Transport System.

‘That is also why, following the demand of one of our customers, we still combine voice with scanning.

‘We are also now considering using voice for other activities such as cycle counting,’ he added.

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