Patterson Companies, Inc. is a distributor of dental and animal health technology products and equipment, as well as a provider of marketing, support and logistics services. Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, it serves both oral health and veterinary professionals located across North America and the United Kingdom.
Patterson fulfills roughly 92% of its orders on a same-day or next day basis to meet the needs of its veterinary and dental clinics. Since its customers don’t have their own warehouses, just-in-time shipping has become the norm to handle rising customer expectations and the demand for quick turnaround on all orders.
Before choosing voice, Patterson had been fulfilling more than 25,000 orders every day with paper documents and manual processes. They were having significant integration issues with customers and vendors, and struggling with batch management and accuracy.
The entire project delivered the anticipated results and more, with voice running seamlessly with SAP. “We had no prior experience with voice, yet it is the big win from the SAP implementation.” Claims Paul Courchene, Logistics Core Team Leader for Patterson. “It is the most productive thing we’ve put in and is giving us the quickest payback for our investment.”
Immediately after the SAP and voice implementation, Patterson began seeing a 25% increase in picking productivity. In fact, on the first use of the new devices, every single picker performed faster than they did with the paper system.
Reduced Training Time
In addition to increased productivity, Patterson also saw a massive decrease in training time. With paper, it took more than a full day of training for new workers to get a high level understanding of the picking process, and several weeks before they became proficient. With voice, pickers were trained in one pass through the warehouse, totaling a more than 200% decrease in training time.
Prior to voice, Patterson had sought to increase accuracy by adding four audit and order checking processes before orders were sent out. Since voice, two of the four steps have been removed with no change in accuracy. The validation the voice-directing picking process requires increased picking accuracy on the front end, so less workers were required to do checking processes on the back end.