Brady implements new Vocollect voice picking system

Workplace safety solutions supplier Brady implements Australia's 1st Vocollect voice picking system which integrates directly with SAP

Brady implements new Vocollect voice picking system
Brady implements new Vocollect voice picking system

September 3, 2013

Workplace safety solutions supplier Brady is the first in Australia to implement
a new voice picking system from Vocollect which integrates directly with SAP Warehouse Management (WM).

With tens of thousands of customers throughout Australia and a product range totalling more than 40,000 SKUs, Brady decided to relocate to a new larger national distribution centre (DC) in 2012, following years of local business expansion.

The company, part of US-based Brady Corporation, saw its new DC in Greystanes, Sydney as a perfect opportunity to implement a more advanced voice enabled technology framework.

An innovative feature of the new
framework is
voice picking system manufacturer Vocollect's recently developed Voice Direct ERP for SAP (VDERP).

"We have been using voice picking technology for over seven years, however, it has required the use of middleware to enable SAP WM to communicate with the Vocollect system," says Brady Operations Manager Simon Harris.

"While there was nothing wrong with this set-up from a functional perspective, the middleware had not been upgraded for several years and was beginning to impact the reliability of our integrated IT systems.

"When it came time to relocate to our new DC we faced the dilemma of significantly upgrading the middleware, or finding an alternative way of making our voice picking system communicate directly with SAP WM."

Materials handling solutions provider Dematic and Brady’s SAP partner Icon researched the options available and recommended Vocollect’s VDERP interface, which facilitates the direct integration of voice picking to SAP WM.

"The seamless integration of our SAP WM and Vocollect enabled voice picking systems has greatly streamlined and simplified a critical interface," harris says.

"It has significantly improved the robustness and reliability of our paperless picking operations."

Working together closely, Dematic and Icon configured Vocollect’s VDERP to optimise operational layouts, systems and order fulfilment processes at the new DC.

"As soon as the layout of the DC was confirmed and all of the storage systems installed, we began mapping all of the new locations and started work immediately on configuring SAP WM, defining the voice work flows, and deploying the VDERP solution," explains Project Manager and Icon Director of SAP Logistics Solutions Jason Nalewabau.

In addition to helping Brady find the optimum systems integration solution for voice picking, Dematic and Icon designed and implemented the new DC’s wireless network, which includes a CISCO backbone providing sub-second response for the facility’s RF and voice terminals.

"This specific SAP solution provided a seamless process, which helped make sure every single item could be traced at every stage of the relocation, and ensured our inventory data was as close to 100 percent as possible when we commenced distribution," Brady’s Simon Harris adds.

Brady’s new DC supports the operation of multiple business units including Seton, Accidental First Aid, Trafalgar, Carroll and ID Warehouse.

Despite this, Harris says there are some products that are common to all.

"A feature of our new order fulfilment system is we are able to service all of the different businesses’ needs for a common SKU from a single location, optimising space efficiency and stockholdings," he says.

As part of the new DC technology framework, Vocollect voice-directed picking trolleys enable up to 15 orders to be picked concurrently across various zones within the warehouse.

They optimise the picking route for order assembly, reduce travel distance and the time taken to pick orders and maximise productivity and throughput.

Orders requiring goods from different parts of the DC are consolidated prior to packing and despatch – all of which drives key operational efficiencies for Brady now and into the future.

"The DC not only gives us the ability to improve distribution performance today, it is designed to provide sufficient capacity to accommodate growth over the next decade," Harris says.

"We have a future-proof IT systems solution that will continue to drive our distribution performance for many years to come."

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook