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Optiscan in Postal Technology International Magazine

Optiscan Abakus Voice-Directed Postal Applications

Optiscan Abakus postal applications enable postal employees to perform their sorting tasks accurately and efficiently. These industry-changing solutions allow postal operators to transform manual workflows into streamlined and digitalized parts of the delivery process. The core of the solution, voice technology, has been proved best practice in warehousing solutions around the globe and has already been adopted by some postal industry innovators including Post Denmark and ltella in Finland.

ltella implemented world pioneering voice-directed solution for parcel sorting in 2011. The system - developed in collaboration between Optiscan and ltella - is deployed at Vantaa parcel sorting center. The user end of the system consists of a wireless headset and a portable lntermec CK3 device attached to the chute worker's belt. The devices communicate with the ltella host system via a wireless network.

The voice system is practically error free. This is achieved by the chute worker picking a parcel when prompted by the system, and speaking its check digit to verify that the correct parcel is picked, and then putting it as instructed by the system into a roller cage or other transportation unit. The hands-free headset ensures good ergonomics and enables the chute worker to concentrate on an accurate and efficient sorting process.

Voice creates real-time visibility in the manual workflows, which enables benefits like better overall process tracking and individual performance analysis, as well as capacity and throughput forecasting. With voice-directed sorting, supervisors can make their decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.

According to ltella development director Jari Paasikivi, improved work supervision is one of the most important benefits of the system. The voice-directed parcel sorting system automatically instructs chute workers to the right chutes before the chutes are overloaded with parcels.

Enabling new employees to perform as well as seasoned veterans on their first day is an important benefit of these solutions. It takes roughly two hours to train a newcomer to an expert level on any sorting process. Because of this rapid training, the introduction of new employees during holidays and peak seasons is simple and efficient. The sorting staff does not need to be fluent in the local language as the system understands different languages and accents.

"Voice training for new employees is fast and easy-the multilingual system isn't restricted to Finnish speakers. The system helps monitor the efficiency of the processes and improve the traceability of parcels", says Paasikivi.

Volume changes can often be difficult to accommodate with existing solutions. Voice-directed sorting solutions provide a very efficient way of supplementing sorting automation when there is a lack of production capacity, or even replacing automation when maintaining fully automated systems is no longer viable.

Voice-directed mail sorting also enables new services such as easy track and trace, identifying priority or other special service shipments. With information provided by the system, shift managers are able to control the load of chutes at peak hours by monitoring the placement of workers at chutes or by turning on automatic work placement functionality as required. The system also offers functionality for monitoring workers' efficiency.

4.9.2012

 

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