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    Associated Grocers Inc. Rolls Out Voice-Directed Selection System

    DALLAS - Associated Grocers Inc., a retailer-owned wholesale distributor based in Baton Rouge, La., has signed on with OMI International and Vocollect to roll out a real-time voice-directed selection system within its distribution center in Baton Rouge.

    DALLAS - Associated Grocers Inc., a retailer-owned wholesale distributor based in Baton Rouge, La., has signed on with OMI International and Vocollect to roll out a real-time voice-directed selection system within its distribution center in Baton Rouge.

    Associated Grocers will use the technology to improve service levels to its 200-plus independent grocery retailers throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas by reducing mis-picks and shorts within its selection process.

    The company initially installed the system in its 530,000-square-foot main distribution center for meat, dairy, perishables, frozen and general merchandise products, and tested it in the dairy and meat sections.

    "We deliberately set our expectations high for the product--and so far, we are happy to report that we have attained an overall 63 percent reduction in mis-picks over our previous selection process. We're also pleased to be seeing productivity improvements and a high rate of user acceptance," said Randy Fletcher, VP, logistics and supply chain management.

    Upon arrival of the remaining voice equipment, Associated Grocers intends to roll out Vocollect's Talkman voice terminals to the remaining sections of the distribution center in late December with an expected installation of a total of 110 voice terminals for their entire DC selection process. It is expected that Associated Grocers will also extend the use of voice in their inventory control process and other areas where the combined efficiency of hands-free, eyes-free voice-directed selection can improve their labor effectiveness.

    Pittsburgh-based Vocollect is a provider of voice-directed distribution systems. OMI International, based in Dallas, is a provider of supply chain management solutions.

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