Global Standards Improve Supply Chain

The GS1 Item Alignment initiative via the GDSN now includes foodservice.


Voice Is The Word

Based in Ocala, FL, Signature Brands LLC is a manufacturer of food decorating products. Its dessert decorating products are sold under the Cake Mate and Betty Crocker brand names while its seasonal items are sold under the PAAS Easter egg and Pumpkin Masters brand names.

The company employs up to 30 workers in its 80,000 square-foot distribution center, picking more than 53,000 cases of products per week.

The warehouse workers receive customer orders and assemble pallets stocked with their requests. Constructing these pallets is a delicate balancing act due to the types of products—if too many heavy products, like densely-packed seasonal shipper displays of icings and bottle decors, are placed on the top, the pallet will topple. If lighter, smaller items are placed on the bottom, like PAAS Easter Egg color kits, they could be crushed.

In the past, workers would receive a paper ticket order and then plot out their pallet picking strategy. This process took at least 10-15 minutes and slowed the process. To streamline and simplify its picking process, Signature Brands sought out a voice technology solution that could run in tandem with its new SAP enterprise resource planning system.

Signature Brands deployed Psion Teklogix’s Mobile Integration Suite (MIS) and from Vocollect Voice Inc. Psion Teklogix’s MIS enterprise-wide middleware solution integrates Signature Brands’ SAP ERP with Vocollect Voice. This system generates orders along with instructions on how to best build each pallet. Vocollect Voice not only provides workers with a guideline, it also talks the workers through their daily task.

Meanwhile, Psion Teklogix’s Speech Process Analyzer Dashboard and Reporting Tool provides warehouse managers with an overview of productivity and operational metrics in real time, including the capability to generate historical reports. This allows managers to better organize their distribution warehouse resources.

As a result, Signature Brands realized these benefits:

  • Labor hours reduced by 24 percent;
  • Training time reduced from two weeks to two days;
  • Pick and ship rates jumped from 150 cases per hour to 400-500 cases per hour;
  • Inventory write-offs reduced by 75 percent.

“Because our business is seasonal, our shipping requirements vary tremendously month to month, and a large percentage of our orders are staged or shipped within a day, so responsiveness and accuracy are critical,” says Gary Stenzel, senior vice president of operations at Signature Brands. “Even before we had finished quantifying the cost savings obtained from deploying the Psion Teklogix and Vocollect products, we found that customer complaints had been greatly reduced. In my mind, that benefit alone is priceless.”

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