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walther design GmbH & Co. KG is one of the leading providers of photo albums and picture frames in Germany as well as the rest of Europe. Founded 80 years ago as a photo album factory, the company has grown to become a supplier for large-scale providers of photo albums and frames, manufacturing with reliable partners in South-East Asia and the EU. Some 60 employees and ten sales representatives support the more than 3,000 customers in more than 50 countries from the company's base. More than 4,000 different items are stored at the more than 8,000 square meter office and storage facility of walther design.
walther has opted for the pick-by-voice solution Lydia® by topVOX to ensure that ordered goods are delivered correctly and on time. Recently, Apple's iPod touch has been employed as voice client.
More than eight years ago, the management board at walther design became aware of the voice-based picking solution. For the company's decision makers it was important that the new picking solution could run on standard hardware solutions to ensure quick and trouble-free procurement of further voice clients. The company also wanted a mobile voice client with a display. A decision was ultimately made for Pocket PCs by HP. "We therefore required a pick-by-voice system that runs on this platform. Lydia® by topsystem was the only system back then that met our requirements", says Oliver Jordans, Head of IT and HR at walther design.
More efficiency, fewer errors
When it came to procuring the pick-by-voice solutions, the objectives were clear: Picking performance had to increase and the error rate when combing orders had to be decreased considerably. These objectives have been achieved. After eight successful years with this system, the company was faced with the task of replacing the old hardware. "And once again, we decided against proprietary hardware. The iPod touch is a lightweight device with a large display. Plus we were able to easily configure the devices with the Apple configurator and protect them against misuse.
The operating environment at walther does not have any special demands in terms of hardware devices. The hardware therefore does not need to provide any particular resistance to temperatures, moisture or other loads. walther design GmbH is the first topsystem customer to implement the iPod touch solution. This change was therefore also a premiere for the voice experts in Würselen near Aachen.
New commands, more service
The challenge for topsystem was to fully port the existing Lydia® application to the new iOS platform. In just one week, the iOS app along with the existing WindowsMobile solution was implemented. "The conversion was extremely fast and the results of the very first trial closely resembled the status of the old solution. Our employees hardly even noticed the change," explains Oliver Jordans. Only service commands such as "Lydia® increase/decrease volume" or "Lydia® faster/slower", to increase and decrease volume as well as the speed of the audio output are new. Both options were very well received by the staff at the storage facility.
"The new hardware is very popular among colleagues. Particularly its low weight and large display." says Oliver Jordans. Applications that make constant use of the display however will soon reach the iPod's limits in terms of battery power. walther therefore only makes use of the display at the start of the picking process, after which it is deactivated. This way, the battery is available all day long.
Within the framework of customer support, walther design has introduced customer-specific weigh-price labeling. After the item is removed, a label is printed for the number of actual removed item, if so required. This is done directly at the removal station via WLAN.
With the new iOs app, users can now trigger repeat printout via voice command. This constitutes a significant simplification of processes in dispatch, as corrections had been quite extensive before.