Belgian Sky Shops voice the appeal of first class process management
Supplies of airport shops rely on a wide-ranging system capable of handling a large number of processes
Founded in 1958, Belgian Sky Shops operates a chain of stores in the Zaventem and Charleroi airports. Its centre of operations, from which goods are despatched to the shops, is located near Zaventem airport. In January 2009, the company adopted a voice stock picking system developed by Zetes to facilitate and speed up the preparation and distribution of orders.
From PDAs to voice
Belgian Sky Shops’ logistics team manages all supply chain processes, from the point of delivery until goods are stacked on airport shop shelves. Before switching to a voice-operated system, the order pickers at Belgian Sky Shops used PDAs, which worked with an interface based on the old system. Pickers could upload an order, and then remove the relevant quantity of articles displayed on screen. Data was then synchronised and a dispatch statement was printed out. However, the PDA system was in urgent need of replacement. The monochrome and worn screens were not easy to read, pickers couldn’t work with both hands free and in the end it became impossible to find spare parts. At that time the company decided to introduce voice technology to their processes.
Highly varied processes
One of the biggest challenges facing Belgian Sky Shops’ logistics is the sheer diversity of their processes. Goods such as clothes or perfumes are processed in a very different way as books or fresh foods. After a detailed analysis, Zetes developed two applications for Belgian Sky Shops: one which scanned goods before delivery and another without scanning for order picking. In order to solve the problem of frequently changing good locations due to high turnover, the order pickers can ask the system exactly what title he has to select. For clothes and books, a barcode scanner further aids picking. The scanner and the headset communicate with the hardware via Bluetooth.
Another specific feature of Belgian Sky Shops’ logistics processes is Pick-and-Pack. This makes it possible to pick goods, which are then directly placed in plastic bins. In order to be transported, these bins are placed in rolling containers, one for each shop. Containers and bins are each given a unique number by a voice command. When the containers are full, they are almost immediately placed on trucks that are constantly shuttling between the Belgian Sky Shops warehouse and Zaventem airport. The unique identification number of the bins makes it much easier to trace the articles in the shops.
The solution at a glance
The corner stones of the system
- Voice solution for order picking
- Voice solution combined with barcode scanning for special items
- Barcode scanning for put-away
- Bin-to-bin application to move around stock in the warehouse
- Stock inventory application
- Pick & pack application for order picking
Integration with SAP
- Enhanced traceability
- Better user ergonomics
- Easy handling of special items (books, clothes, etc.) during order picking
- Quicker and easier order preparation
- Streamlined operations
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