For more than 45 years, Anacapri Foods has served up a complete line of brand name products and quality private label offerings. This family-owned business got its start out of a two-car garage relying on a single truck for order delivery. Today, the company operates out of its 130,000-square-foot distribution center in Cranford, N.J., delivering products to more than 1,800 customers in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania). With outbound shipments averaging between 12,000-15,000 boxes, Jerry Gasparro, the second-generation owner of Anacapri Foods, wanted to ensure his employees were optimized for productivity and efficiency while maintaining accuracy when fulfilling orders.
“Our IT partner works with another distributor and they deployed voice software in their warehouse to improve productivity levels and reduce errors,” says Gasparro. “We looked at a handful of vendors in the space and selected Voxware to automate our distribution operations.”
Voxware’s work with a variety of foodservice providers and their nimble approach earned the business.
“Voxware’s experience with large food distributors similar to us played a big factor in our decision,” says Gasparro. “Also, Voxware was more flexible than its competitors when it came to making changes needed within the system.”
Automating the distribution center
The integration between Voxware and the existing Anacapri Foods infrastructure was seamless, and if anything was needed, the Voxware professional services team was quick to adjust.
“I dealt with a Voxware competitor for another client,” says John Hennessey, president and owner of Alpha Data Solutions and IT partner of Anacapri Foods. “The process in that case took much longer on every front. In fact, a lot of the software we implemented from that competitor had to be taken out and replaced. I’m happy with the Voxware implementation and I know my client Jerry is as well.”
While Gasparro was confident that he made the right decision, his workforce needed to put the system through its paces to fully appreciate the power of voice automation.
“Nobody here likes change,” states Gasparro. “Like many others in the industry, our pickers get compensated by pieces picked per hour and they are rewarded for that. Some were worried that the system would slow them down and impact their paychecks. We were deliberate in how we rolled out the system to our workers. We opted to deploy it during our slow season because it would only take one hiccup for the team to lose faith.”
During the month-long roll out, the pickers and warehouse management staff all realized the potential of voice automation to help them better perform and complete their job functions.
“Our pick rates improved and our errors were reduced,” says Gasparro. “We increased our volume roughly 20% without the need to hire any new employees. With Voxware, the assignments keep coming into the ear of our pickers, so that helps them remain productive.”
Benefits beyond voice
Anacapri Foods utilizes some of the capabilities of VoxPilot, Voxware’s enterprise supply chain analytics solution to help ensure workers execute at peak performance.
“I’m most interested in pieces per hour and the daily productivity of our workers,” says Gasparro. “VoxPilot gives me that information in real-time, so I can understand what’s happening in the warehouse, and if there are errors or things of that nature that need to be addressed immediately.”
Another area where Anacapri Foods has noticed a difference while using Voxware is how it has improved the training of new employees.
“We don’t have a complex training program here, so we’ve found within a couple of days the new employees are self-trained. Voxware has definitely helped bring pickers up to speed faster,” says Gasparro.
As Anacapri Foods continues to see their productivity and efficiency numbers increase and errors decrease, Gasparro expects to add Voxware replenishment and put-away workflows to further automate his distribution operations.
“A lot of people have the mentality ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’” he adds. “But, you know, we’re always trying to make ourselves a little bit better and a little bit more efficient, and Voxware helps us make that happen.”