Dematic voice-directed picking provides answers for the growing omnichannel distributor
Known as The Varieties of Quebec, Variétés Pierre Prud’homme is a family-owned distributor serving more than 4,000 retailers across Quebec. The operation manages an inventory of over 12,000 products ranging from household goods to health and beauty to electronics. Founded in 1972, the business has experienced exponential growth over the past 20 years along with a reputation that matches the company mission: to distribute the best products in a timely manner, always at competitive prices, while providing exceptional service to customers.
Variétés Pierre Prud’homme’s success has led to a growing product portfolio and customer base, requiring them to increase operations from a modest footprint to a 100,000 square-foot facility.
As a result of their expansion, it became clear that inventory accuracy and throughput speed would be a challenge to maintain using manual processes, and they would not be able to scale business operations. Variétés Pierre Prud’homme needed a partner to help identify an easily implemented and accepted solution, meet service-level goals, and scale operations — all while meeting ROI targets.
To maximize order fulfillment rates with minimal disruption or downtime, Variétés Pierre Prud’homme implemented Dematic Voice-Directed Piece Picking workflows. These workflows include pick-to-cart and case pick-to-pallet systems combined with voice and RF-scanning verification. They offer increased productivity rates and lower picking-error rates with minimal training time for the team and no additional facility space requirements.
Voice-directed picking offers many advantages over conventional order picking methods, such as paper lists or wireless terminals.
Operators are equipped with headsets and microphones that provide verbal instruction including pick location, pick quantity, and confirmation request. As directed by Dematic Software, real-time communication through the headsets provides a “coach on the shoulder,” allowing for hands-free picking with either voice response or RF scanning. The warehouse is arranged into picking zones, so a single pass through the warehouse can fulfill multiple orders, typically 10–30, with efficiency and accuracy.
For palletized inventory, software in the case pick-to-pallet systems navigates operators to each case storage location where they select the appropriate case for trailer loading and transport. Scanners connected to wearable computers ensure order accuracy while paperless picking allows the operator to focus on the task and navigating their pallet truck safely.
The Dematic Voice-Directed Picking workflows have allowed Variétés Pierre Prud’homme to streamline warehouse operations. The ergonomic operating procedures have increased the number of orders picked while decreasing picking times and picking errors, resulting in hundreds of orders fulfilled each day.
In less than one year, Variétés Pierre Prud’homme has been able to increase worker productivity by 40%. Scan validation has tripled order accuracy rates while operators are able to pick 20% more orders per day.
With productivity rates high and error rates low, the Dematic Voice-Directed Picking workflows empower Variétés Pierre Prud’homme’s mission to distribute products in a timely manner, with attentive service, and at the level of quality and integrity that their customers expect.