Kmart is the first Australian retailer to deploy an Android Voice based system that guides workers in how to fulfil product orders for its stores and online operations.
The retailer said overnight it has struck a deal with Melbourne’s Cohesio Group, which last year became part of German technology group Körber’s supply chain business.
It made a “large-scale deployment of Cohesio’s Android Voice solutions powered by Honeywell’s guided workflow solution,” following what appears to have been a trial of the technology in four distribution centres (DCs).
Honeywell's guided work solutions are described as “hands-free, eyes up”, helping workers “through a variety of warehouse tasks, from picking to receiving, replenishment and put-away.”
Benefits are said to include worker productivity gains, and error, safety incident and training time reductions.
The Android-based systems were only launched in the A/NZ market late last year, running on Honeywell mobile computers.
Kmart indicated the system would help it meet “faster and more efficient delivery and picking targets across its DCs, instore and online operations.”
“Over the past few months we have experienced unprecedented levels of growth across our instore and online fulfilment operations,” Kmart Australia’s general manager of supply chain Oliver Blombery said.
“Our goal is to ensure our customers enjoy a great shopping experience, with our stores well-stocked which is achieved through faster and more efficient picking and packing times instore as well as for our e-commerce customers.
“By partnering with Cohesio, we have been able to increase productivity, accuracy and efficiency across our fulfilment operations.”
Using the system, Kmart staff are “no longer required to spend time looking at picking slips but can instead listen to order details while they continue to pick and pack,” Cohesio said.
“The voice solution also provides the user with more information around location and order details, offering the picker an image of the product which is proven to enable them to make faster and more accurate decisions.”
Kmart’s retail footprint is undergoing a significant expansion with owner Wesfarmers unveiling plans in late May to convert between 10 and 40 large Target stores to Kmart and 52 Target Country stores to smaller format Kmart stores that will be branded as KHub.
Kmart said the voice-based picking and fulfilment was needed in part owing to this expansion.