Voice is Green on Paper

Feb. 15, 2012
Pick-by-voice software helps a pharmaceutical distributor improve pick efficiency and eliminate a million pages of paper a year.

Burlington Drug Company ships pharmaceuticals and convenience store goods to more than 1,000 locations spread over eight states. Distribution services have evolved as a core competence, and the company has expanded to serve pharmacies and convenience stores through its Dowlings division.

“The way we separate ourselves from our competition is through our customer service,” says Jay Mitiguy, assistant vice president. That includes guaranteed next-day delivery, making any time consumed correcting shorts and mispicks unaffordable.

Improving Service with Voice

Burlington Drug applied pick-by-voice software (Voxware 3) as a way to improve the picking process. “It’s about getting the right products to customers at the right time, in saleable condition,” says Mitiguy. “We’re now picking at 99.95% accuracy, which means we get just five errors in every 10,000 pick lines.”

Additionally, productivity rose 20% thanks to a more efficient and paperless process, Mitiguy says. “It would take two or three hours to sort through all the paperwork and get it out to the warehouse. "

"A lot of the pickers were waiting for this. With the software they keep moving,” says Daniel Kane, who manages the picking operation.

As a result, Burlington Drug is getting fewer customer complaints about delivery problems.

The Green Connection

Eliminating its paper picking process was also a big step toward Burlington’s goal of running a greener operation. “We were able to save a million pages of documents a year using voice,” said Mitiguy.

Switching from paper to voice reduced operating cost and created labor savings. “We decided to go with voice not only for the increased order accuracy and production that we would get out of it, but for the cost savings on paper as well,” Mitiguy adds.

Adapting to Changing Conditions

Voice has helped Burlington Drug grow its productivity, efficiency, and green profile. Mitiguy also notes that the software allowed the company to remain ahead of other changes they needed to make.

“After we launched it, we had to make some changes to our process, and it was done quickly and efficiently," Mitiguy says.

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