TaylorMade manufactures and sells golf equipment, footwear, apparel, and accessories under the TaylorMade, Adams, and Ashworth brands. Thirty years ago, the company disrupted the golf industry with a revolutionary new driver made of stainless steel. Today, TaylorMade still makes the #1 driver and is a favourite of golfers.
Looking for new ways to drive profitability
The golf industry has faced strong headwinds in recent years. Order picking is a time-consuming and costly activity in any warehouse, and being able to pick orders efficiently has a big impact on customer satisfaction. “We were looking for ways to increase picking productivity,” says Jeff Peterson, project manager for operations at TaylorMade. The company had considered using voice recognition for picking in the past, but high cost and implementation difficulties were insurmountable hurdles.
Benefits to TaylorMade
Voice automation made easy
“Speakeasy is a newer, fresher, and better way to do voice picking without having to change your backend systems,” says Jeff Peterson. “One of the main reasons we chose it was implementation time. With Speakeasy, we didn’t have to overhaul our warehouse management system.”
Voice added quickly to picking process
TaylorMade added voice to its order picking process in about two weeks. As a client-side solution, Speakeasy didn’t require changes to applications or adding middleware. Pickers began using Speakeasy a few months before the busy season started. The difference was immediate.
Faster, more productive picking
Before Speakeasy, a team of 20 to 25 pickers averaged 41 transactions per hour. Says Brett Trotter, shipping operations supervisor, “Eight months later, we have 14 to 16 pickers, and they average 184 transactions per hour.”
Increased picking accuracy
“With Speakeasy, our error rate when picking orders is now about 1%, compared to 40% to 50% before,” says Brett Trotter. Workers have wearable mobile computers from Zebra. Speakeasy tells the pickers what products to pick, where they’re located, and what to scan using verbal prompts. The workers confirm their tasks by speaking commands and reading codes on locations or products throughout the warehouse. They keep their eyes and hands on the orders they are picking.
Reduced repetitive-strain injuries
“Voice picking has taken the pressure off the potential for repetitive strain injuries to employees,” says Trotter. Voice automation reduces data entry, and the more ergonomic form factor of a wearable computer contributes to a lower injury rate.
No training required
Speakeasy’s voice recognition technology doesn’t require any training, even with unique accents or dialects. “We have a lot of bilingual employees, and Speakeasy is able to pick up on their accents,” says Trotter. “That’s very powerful.”
Workers are productive right away
Speakeasy is so intuitive that workers were able to get right to work. Even temporary workers are productive quickly, which is especially critical during the peak season. “Newcomers who don’t know the layout of our pick line or the warehouse know what to do within five to 10 minutes,” says Brett Trotter.