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Coca-Cola found that voice, a hands-free technology, reduces costs while making the work environment safer.
Coca-Cola’s innovative approach to VoIP gives the company nearly perfect pick accuracy at 100 warehouses
Coca-Cola is known in North America for refreshing consumers with its wide variety of beverages, including brands such as Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Dasani Water, and Minute Maid Juices. What Coca-Cola may not be as widely known for is its innovative approach to operations. The company was among the first to implement VoIP (Voice-over-IP) technology in an industrial warehouse environment for Voice Picking operations, landing it a spot in the PM100 this year.
The company planned to automate manual case picking with voice technology in 100 of its largest warehouses using open standards, network speech, VoIP technology, and off-the-shelf products. The goal was to increase productivity, safety, and accuracy while reducing total cost of ownership for warehouse voice-directed picking.
Coca-Cola has found that voice, a hands-free technology, brings incremental advantages by reducing costs through increased employee productivity and accurate data capture, while making the work environment safer. Coca-Cola’s approach was highly innovative when introduced to the industry in 2007. The company leveraged unified communications, off-the-shelf hardware, VoIP, and network-based speech technologies to achieve new levels of a ordability, choice, flexibility, and broad use throughout the enterprise.
The project entailed fitting warehouse employees with a phone and headset so that work instructions for mixed-pallet building were given to the order picker using voice technology. The system was deployed to more than 2,400 workers at the warehouses. Using VoIP technology helped Coca-Cola achieve 99.8% targeted pick accuracy and a reduction of approximately 80% in pallet checkers, and offered improved understanding through multilingual features. The project accelerated the picking process, enabling a 10% targeted productivity improvement.
The hands-free operation also improved safety in the warehouse. Order fulfillment now exceeds 99.9% with fewer than two errors per 1,000 picks. The entire project was implemented at 100 of Coca-Cola’s warehouses in North America within nine months.
“Coca-Cola is honored to be recognized with a PM100 award for the development and deployment of Voice Picking in our supply chain operations,” said Rick Gross, group director of product supply systems process and solutions. “Voice Picking is just one example of Coca-Cola’s commitment to investing in innovation and technology to be our customers’ most valued supplier.”