46 DC VELOCITY AUGUST 2019 www.dcvelocity.com
IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS, AS IN RETAIL,
stocking is something you have to get right. You can’t sell
what you don’t have, and if you disappoint customers too
many times, they won’t come back.
But getting it right isn’t always easy, as the Atlanta-based
restaurant chain Huddle House can attest. A few years
back, the company, which operates 350 locations in 23
states, was struggling to keep its outlets supplied with the
meat, produce, and dry goods they needed. The root of the
problem was picking errors at the company’s Atlanta DC,
which were leading to costly expedited-shipping fees and
increased customer complaints.
The 70,000-square-foot Atlanta DC serves as the restaurant chain’s single distribution point, housing about 650
stock-keeping units in three different temperature zones—
ambient, cooler, and freezer—and shipping roughly 60,000
pieces per week. At the time, the company was using RF
(radio frequency) scan-based technology to direct its fulfillment operations, but staffers were finding it increasingly
difficult to meet speed and accuracy standards with that system. It was clear the operation was in need of an overhaul.
“When you think of Huddle House, you think of this
restaurant chain, but distribution is the other half of our
business,” said Nathan Ballard, senior vice president of
supply chain, in an online video case study.
After considering its fulfillment options, the company
chose voice due to the hands-free nature of the technology.
“We came to the conclusion that it was just inescapable
[that] voice was the way to go for our operation,” Ballard
PICKING THE BEST PARTNER
As for what Huddle House wanted in a voice system, the
company had two key requirements: It had to integrate easily with the DC’s existing warehouse management system
(WMS)—HighJump’s Warehouse Edge software—and it
had to be quick and easy for staffers to learn.
Ultimately, the company chose Voiteq, one of HighJump’s
partners and a supplier of voice-directed and auto-ID
solutions, to help lead the implementation in 2016. The
technology Voiteq installed for its client was the Honeywell
Vocollect Talkman system with SRX2 headsets.
According to the company, the implementation and
integration of voice into its WMS was swift and seamless.
Although Huddle House initially allocated a month and a
half for the rollout, it took Voiteq’s team a matter of days to
train staff and assimilate the system into its WMS.
JUST WHAT THEY ORDERED
By all accounts, the new system has easily met the restaurant chain’s needs for ease-of-use and accuracy. To begin
with, the flexibility of voice technology has made training
a breeze, according to the company. The implementation
team started with those workers who had struggled the
most with RF scanning and was able to train them in an
hour. “The speed and accuracy of Voiteq’s voice technology
proved to be far superior to reading a screen and scanning
with the RF,” Ballard said in the video.
As for accuracy, the voice system has been a major success there as well. The company reports that picking errors
have dropped 53 percent since it shifted to the new system,
bringing its picking accuracy rates up to 99.999 percent.
Atlanta-based chain Huddle House achieves near-perfect picking accuracy with the help of
Voiteq’s voice-directed technology.
Voice tech proves just the ticket for