This case history about Dunkin' Donuts comes courtesy of Voxware. It has been selected and edited by the MHM editorial staff for clarity, content and style.
Managing Double Digit Growth
When it's time to make the donuts… or the muffins… or even the coffee, it's time to call the Dunkin’ Donuts Mid Atlantic Dis tribution Center (MADC). And, when the restaurant franchisee owners call the MADC for raw goods, including flour, yeast, glaze, muffin mix and boxes of coffee beans, they are sure to get exactly what they order - thanks to Voxware's VoiceLogistics solution now in place in the MADC warehouse.
It's one thing to achieve 99.9% picking accuracy, on-time deliveries, and a costeffective high velocity operation - but it's another thing to maintain those standards while your business is growing at a double-digit clip. That was the challenge facing Craig Setter, Executive Vice President & COO, and Warren Engard, Director of Distribution Operations, at Dunkin' Donuts MADC.
Dunkin’ Donuts MADC is a not-for-profit operation owned collectively by the franchisees it serves. The company’s mission is to ensure that every Dunkin’ Donuts location in its service area gets the products it needs - on time, without errors, and at a distribution cost that is as low a possible.
Together with Voxware, they implemented VoiceLogistics®, a voice-directed handling application that delivered significant benefits in workforce utilization, and enabled Dunkin’ Donuts MADC to manage its growth while maintaining extremely high service levels.
“We distribute food products to more than 1,700 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in 8 states; our business is growing so fast that we recently relocated to a new 300,000SF distribution center,” said Craig Setter. “We are already Ryder’s largest leasing customer in the US operating out of a single facility, and our core business grew more than 10% last year. Our growth will get even steeper when we take over distribution responsibility for Baskin Robbins and TOGO’s” - two other franchise chains owned by Dunkin’ Donuts parent company, Allied Domecq.
Multiple Picking Applications Deployed
The VoiceLogistics application in use at Dunkin’ Donuts MADC is a sophisticated solution supporting multiple modes of picking. Order selectors can pick discrete orders, or multiple orders in a single pick trip. In addition, batch picking operations are supported.
Workers are assigned to one of three zones, freezer, cooler or dry. All zones are picked independently and simultaneously in waves and are sent to a staging area where they are merged into a route and loaded onto the trucks.
Selectors can have from one to three pallets at a time, with pallets sectioned off according to separate stops on the delivery route. When a selector arrives at a pick location, he or she is directed to pick all units of the item needed for all of the stops; the VoiceLogistics software directs the selector to put the correct number of items in the appropriate pallet location corresponding to each stop.
The VoiceLogistics system can also direct workers to batch pick a total quantity that will satisfy many orders, and deliver the picked goods to a truck or loading area. This location then becomes a “dynamically created pick area.” Later, another selector will be directed to this location by VoiceLogistics, and the batchpicked items will be distributed among the orders as loading progresses.
Favorable Results Come Rapidly
“We have high standards for our workers, and were already achieving a high level of accuracy, but we had to employ checkers to ensure that orders were correctly filled, and we had to slot our products with accuracy, rather than stacking efficiency, in mind,” said Warren Engard.
“The accuracy is great,” says Setter. “Last week, on the dry side, we had 99.94 percent accuracy on about 285,000 pieces-and that’s phenomenal. We’ve gone from 21 hours of picking down to nine or 10 hours, because of VoiceLogistics and the layout of our new facility.”
“Voxware worked with us to design and implement a VoiceLogistics picking solution that gives us greater picking accuracy right out of the box, so we were able to redeploy our order checkers into other areas of the business,” says Engard. “In addition, we are getting much higher productivity than in the past - so our cost to move the same amount of goods is less than it was before, which is good because our business growth is so aggressive."
By hearing prompts via the Voxware headset, and responding in a natural voice, workers get their jobs done while their hands and eyes are free. Very high accuracy is assured by the VoiceLogistics system, and workers can move more product when using voice. One result at Dunkin’ Donuts MADC has been workers asking for additional assignments when they have completed work faster than before.
The Future of Voice at Dunkin’
With VoiceLogistics, Dunkin’ Donuts MADC has a technology solution that maximizes the contribution of each individual worker in the warehouse labor force. Management has access to real time information about productivity, order fills, and operational status that supports decision-making at moments when time is critical. Labor dollars are conserved, customers are well-supplied, and the entire operation is positioned for accelerated growth.
Dunkin’ Donuts MADC is in the process of implementing an ERP system and plans on interfcing with the system via voice instead of using RF scanners, which is the preferred method of the ERP company. “In fact, we’re so thrilled with the results of using voice technology we initiated some program change requests because we intend to do receiving, putaway, replenishment, cycle counting and system directed loading with voice,” says Engard.
MHMonline.com welcomes relevant, exclusive case histories that explain in specific detail the business benefits that new software and material-handling equipment has provided to specific users. Send submissions to Clyde Witt([email protected]), MHM Editor-in-Chief. All submissions will be edited for clarity, content and style.