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The Lüning group, based in Rietberg, is a medium-sized enterprise in the food wholesale and retail sector with approximately 1,500 employees. The main business division is the nationwide supply of goods to the related retail stores with more than 10,000 products from dry foods, fruit and vegetables, frozen food, dairy products to tobacco. The area of distribution ranges from Aachen to Berlin in the West-East direction and from Bremen to Marburg in North-South direction.
Every year around 17 million units are picked in the warehouses of Max Lüning, and that until not so long ago by means of paper lists and adhesive labels: slow, inconvenient for the pickers and also error-prone. The voice system Lydia® by topsystem has been implemented in the warehouse areas dry foods, fruit and vegetables and frozen food. The result is that error rates and picking times have been considerably reduced.
The logistics center in Langenberg-Benteler has a total area of approximately 20,000 square meters. Roundabout 450 self-employed retailers, 400 gas stations and 30 own markets are supplied from here. Approximately 200 employees compile every year some 71,000 deliveries, which is more than 1,300 deliveries per week. Therefore keeping track is not easy. A defined goal when implementing Lydia® was to keep the stock live in the warehouse management system x-trade by Bison Deutschland GmbH. The updated stock is now available at any time by the immediate feedback of the pickers to the warehouse management system via the Pick-by-Voice system Lydia®.
Another particularity when programming the interface to the warehouse management system: if an employee does not find any stock at a picking location and acknowledges the shortage at the position, this position is returned to the warehouse management system and a supply transport request is generated for the forklift driver. When the location has been replenished, this position is transferred to Lydia® and the picker is re-directed to the location during order processing.
Further goals during the implementation of the system were higher speed picking, minimization of error picking and improvement of the packing quality. Picking speed and quality are increased by the fact that the employees have both hands free. Moreover the feedback via check digits and quantity confirmation minimizes the mistakes the pickers make.
During a live presentation of the system in the run-up to the project the project managers at Max Lüning were able to work with the system after only a few minutes training. The same happened with the employees who pick with the system and the situation is similar with temporary workers who are able to work productively with Lydia® after a short period. “After initial scepticism our employees’ concerns disappeared after a few minutes with Lydia®,” says warehouse manager Dennis Darming. “In the meantime nobody wants to work with paper lists anymore.” The employees particularly appreciate the short training period and the reliable voice recognition of the topsystem mobile voice computers of the Voxter® product series without training. Working with both hands not only makes for more reliable and quicker picking, but also makes the packing easier for the employees.
According to the warehouse manager all requirements and special requests have been taken into account. “topsystem has convinced us in all aspects,” informs Dennis Darming, who particularly emphasizes the good cooperation with topsystem and the fast project realization.
Lüning’s expansion plans for the warehouse management system include a loading control and the permanent inventory via forklift control. Again here topsystem is called for, since without Lydia® many effects of these improvements would come to nothing.