Use It...And The Savings Will Follow
"We were using 1970s technology up until four or five years ago," says Warren Engard, national senior director of supply chain systems for Dunkin' Donuts, Mid-Atlantic Distribution Center, Westampton, NJ.
Up until that time, Dunkin' Donuts was using paper-based systems to keep track of everything from inventory to expiration dates.
"We had a basic AS400 that took orders and printed tickets. Inventory was all adjusted off of invoicing sometimes two-to-three days later. We never had an accurate view of inventory at any one time. It was all very manual. Voxware was our very first experience with new technology."
The company took the unusual step of implementing voice in its DC first, via one of Voxware Inc.'s voice solutions. After that proved a success, Dunkin' decided to take on the larger issue of warehouse management systems, electing to go with Retalix USA Inc. as its WMS vendor.
"Most of the ROI on the WMS comes from pick savings which were handed to us by Voxware. We paid for the system in nine months and the savings were directed toward the purchase of the WMS." Engard explains. "So we started saving even before we bought the WMS."
Now that Dunkin' Donuts has a fully-integrated warehousing solution, the savings have really started to roll in. Before voice and WMS, the company had eight full-time associates manually checking every single pallet of product that went out of its warehouse before it got loaded on the truck.
"With voice recognition and WMS we don't need to do that and we don't check any pallets going out," Engard notes. "Just through the relocation of those checkers, we've paid for the whole system in 12 months."
In addition, Dunkin' Donuts has seen gains in inventory accuracy-99.9 percent consistently, with no checking required.
"It's really revolutionized our business," says Engard.
With savings like those, it's time for a well-deserved coffee break. -B.S.