VELOCITY VIDEO CASE HISTORY
BUILDING MATERIALS CAN BE AMONG THE MOST DIFFIcult items to distribute due to their weight and bulkiness.
It’s difficult to hold a scanner or a piece of paper and pick up
a long piece of lumber at the same time. Technology that is
hands-free provides a huge advantage in handling these items.
And that’s where Parksite has found a competitive edge.
Parksite is a distributor of high-end building materials to lumberyards and home improvement retailers, including Lowe’s and The
Home Depot. The employee-owned firm operates nine distribution
centers, mostly in the East and Midwest, to provide customers with lumber, decking, molding,
trim, and other common construction materials.
The company had relied on radio-frequency
(RF) scanners to perform many of the functions
at its facilities, but after seeing a presentation on
voice-directed technology at the ProMat Show in
2013, Jim Coulter, Parksite’s director of supply
chain, knew a change was needed.
“I realized we had gotten as much improve-
ment out of RF as we were going to get. We were
looking for something that could provide contin-
uous improvement,” he recalls. “There are a lot of
advantages to voice. For one thing, it’s safer. It’s
also faster and more accurate because you don’t have to ever take
your eyes off the product.”
Parksite partnered with Speech Interface Design, a company that
specializes in voice system design and integration. “They are a great
partner and are very flexible to work with. They made sure the system
was configured to meet our needs,” says Coulter. “They also brought
some process improvements that we would not otherwise have
FINDING THEIR VOICE
Speech Interface Design set up a voice pilot program at Parksite’s
Baltimore facility in February 2014. The pilot centered on picking
products. “It showed significant productivity and accuracy improve-
ments, so we decided to do a full implementation using voice in our
Illinois facility,” says Coulter.
The full implementation included using Honeywell Vocollect voice
to direct picking, packing, receiving, putaway, truck loading, and cycle
counting. The system has since been rolled out to the company’s
other facilities. Later this year, Parksite also plans to begin using voice
to direct replenishment tasks.
“The biggest benefit of the voice system is that it’s eyes-up and
hands-free,” explains Coulter. He says that not
having to look at a device while driving a forklift is
much safer and saves time. Having hands free to
deal with heavy products is also a safer practice.
Additionally, operators previously had to get off
the forklifts to scan bar codes. Now the operator
saves time by merely speaking a check digit into
his microphone to verify a product’s location.
The voice system works equally well outside
the distribution building in the lumber and materials yard. Associates wear a Honeywell Vocollect
device that is purpose-built for voice along with
a wireless headset. “The Vocollect Talkman voice
devices are certainly more rugged than your typical RF device would be, so that was very important to us,” says Coulter.
The solution that Speech Interface Design provided also features
real-time internal visibility and control via dashboards. A load-plan-ning module has also improved the loading process to ensure the
right product is placed in the right location on the right truck. The
result has been improved accuracy that customers have noticed.
Since moving from RF to voice, Parksite has seen productivity
increase more than 22 percent. Accuracy is best in class at 99.98
percent-plus, and the training time for new employees has been
reduced from two–three weeks with RF down to only two days with
voice. Parksite realized a full return on its investment in a little over
To see a Velocity Video of the Honeywell Vocollect voice solution from Speech Interface Design
in action at Parksite’s Hartford distribution center, go to dcvtv.com and click on Channel 2.
A voice system now directs nearly all handling tasks at Parksite’s nine
facilities for distributing building supplies.
A DC VELOCITY SPEED CHALLENGE
Building better distribution