The First Voice-Directed Solution Designed for Foodservice and Grocery Distribution Centers

Food distributors face continuous pressure to improve service and delivery, expand product offerings, and drive down costs. Lucas FoodSelect includes Lucas Move mobile applications featuring Jennifer. It is the first voice solution designed to meet the unique challenges of the foodservice and grocery DC. It is a comprehensive voice-directed solution incorporating best practices from hundreds of food DCs and supporting end-to-end warehouse tasks, including order selection and truck loading, QC, receiving, putaway and replenishment. This industry-first solution supports industry data standards (GS1 Foodservice, etc.) and track and trace requirements such as the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). The solution reduces implementation time and costs without sacrificing flexibility or eliminating key tools needed to efficiently manage the food DC.

Voice-Directed Order Selection

Lucas FoodSelect creates a hands- and eyes-free order selection process combining voice direction with speech recognition and additional data capture technologies. The solution supports traditional case picking with or without pre-printed case labels for ambient, cooler and freezer areas, and two-stage picking in planned inventory reserve (PIR) areas. View a video of voice-directed order selection, below.

  • Reduce Errors. Hands- and eyes-free order selection, flexible unit of measure prompting (case, pack, each), and on-demand product help reduce errors by 50 percent and more.
  • Improve Selector Productivity. The solution supports single and dual-pallet selection, flexible order batching rules, and two-stage picking to improve the efficiency of slow-moving items. This leads to a 10-20 percent increase in selector productivity.
  • GS1 Ready.  Users capture item numbers (GTIN), lot, catchweight, date and other product data in real-time by voice or scan.
  • Flexible Printing Options. On-demand case label printing minimizes selector idle time, eliminates “cherry picking”, and reduces clerical time. The system can generate pallet tags at assignment completion to improve delivery and check-in at customer sites.

Voice-Directed Truck Loading

Similar to voice-directed order selection, truck loading with Lucas Move and Jennifer eliminates loading errors and improves delivery and check-in processes for drivers and for customers. In addition to ensuring all pallets get on every truck, voice-directed loading eases congestion, especially for growing DCs with limited dock space.

  • Track and Confirm Every Pallet as they are loaded.
  • Voice-directed HACCP inspection improves product safety.
  • Accurate Load Maps improve check in and reduce claims.

QC/Audit

The QC/Audit Module helps managers prioritize audits to make better use of QC time and improves the efficiency of the hands-on QC process. Compared to random or ad hoc audits, with Lucas FoodSelect you can spend less time on QC, but catch more errors before they ship.

  • Configurable audit parameters (by selector, customer, product) allow supervisors to better target and manage scarce QC resources.
  • Mobile QC Application for tablet, RF terminal or other mobile device streamlines the QC step and eliminates post-process key entry and manual adjustments.
  • Real-time reporting and error tracking helps managers identify and correct issues before they impact customers.

Receiving, Putaway, and Replenishment

For DCs that are ready to get the advantages of voice beyond voice-directed selection, FoodSelect supports voice-directed receiving, put-away and replenishment. Like other components of the solution, these processes typically combine voice with other data capture technologies.

  • In receiving, Lucas Move voice users use a combination of scan, screen and voice to compare physical receipts against purchase orders or ASNs. Discrepancies are identified immediately, and data capture is immediate, eliminating clerical time and costs.
  • With Lucas Move, put-away can be a system-directed process in which workers are directed by Jennifer to the storage location, or the users can put items in open slots and tell Jennifer the location (i.e., user-directed put-away). Pallet, item and location confirmation can be accomplished using voice and/or barcode scanning. Using voice rather than paper or computer screens is both safer and more accurate.
  • Voice-directed replenishment with Lucas Move is more efficient and accurate than paper or purely RF-based processes. Supervisors can manage replenishment tasks, and users are directed through the process using voice and scanning. Replenishment can be integrated with voice-directed selection, so that let-down requests are processed immediately to avoid short shipments.

This video shows a voice-directed selection application in a foodservice DC, including equipment inspection and on-demand case label printing.

In this example, the selector is applying a pre-printed label to every case. The system also supports voice or scan-entry of GTINs (product IDs) and variable data like catchweights, lot numbers or dates. Beyond the hands-on advantages of voice, today’s advanced warehouse voice systems add sophisticated reporting and management tools that complement and extend warehouse management systems (WMS) or labor management systems (LMS) . These reporting tools help manage work in process, view selector productivity, and track and trace items.