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Caitlyn Mendonca

Caitlyn Mendonca

Meet Lydia Our Voice Activated Picking Solution

At Pet Food Experts, we stay focused on ways to improve our services for our vendors and customers. We do this by keeping up with the latest trends and technologies in warehousing and distribution of goods. Our goal is always to make the order and delivery process as seamless and stress-free as possible, not only for our customers but also for our internal tea s. That’s why in the summer of 2018, we invested in the Lydia voice-activated picking soluti n. This ground-breaking software helps us streamline our process and increase efficiency in our distribution centers across the count y. It took our team months of strategic planning, strong teamwork, and rigorous training to get things just right, but the rewards for both our operations teams and independent pet retail partners have been worth the wait.

With any job done by a real live person and not a robot the risk of mistakes being made increas s. Our operations team has always been dedicated to eliminating this risk, but human error can be unavoidab e. Now with the help of Lydia, our order fulfillment team gets the support needed to avoid typical mistakes and makes doing their job easier and more enjoyable.

So, Who is Lydia?

Similar to Alexa or Siri, Lydia lends a helping hand to our warehouse team through voice activati n. Making the order fulfillment process hands-free with wireless vests or headse s. Allowing our team to hyper-focus on picking orders quickly and accurately.

Using explicit voice-activated commands Lydia provides order pickers with specific item pick locations and the item quantity needed for the corresponding customer ord r. Once the picker arrives at the designated pick location they verify the product they are picking with Lydia by reading the item UPC alo d. She is then able to confirm verbally whether they have the correct product and if they can proceed to the next it m. This reduces the likelihood of errors and keeps the order picking process moving quickly.

Lydia-ChatThis is a visual example of what a conversation between Lydia and one of our order pickers might look li e. Lydia waits until the order picker is "Ready" for her commands allowing them to work at the best pace for them.

How Lydia Has Helped Us and You

When it comes to Lydia the proof is in the numbe s. In each of the 3 distribution centers we have deployed Lydia so far, we have seen a marked improvement in several metri s. This along with the positive feedback from employees makes it easy to see impact Lydia has had so far.

"I had no idea moving away from paper and picking using voice would allow me to pick as fast as I am now... this is a game changer!"

— Dave Hutchinson, Operations Floater (Northeast DC)

We all know that having an effective training program in place is beneficial to the efficiency and overall productivity of your busine .  Using Lydia has cut order picker training time in half which allows us to be working at full capacity very quickly after on-boarding a new employee.

Lydia-TrainingDuring the training process, new employees are able to practice in a test environment set up to help them master the Lydia commands and quickly maneuver through pick spots before moving to the warehouse floor.

Also, in just a short time after launching Lydia, order accuracy jumped from 98.8% to 99. %. For a busy retailer like yourself, this means saving the most precious resource of all...ti e. With more accurate orders you don't have to worry about waiting for a credit on a shorted item or going through the process of returning items you didn't order.

After Lydia had been deployed overall productivity was measured at around 50% more pieces picked per ho r. This increase in productivity helps us maintain our busy delivery schedule so we can get your delivery out the door on time week after week.

Lydia-W6-TeamTeam members from both our Northeast and Pacific Northwest distribution centers take a moment to commemorate another successful deployme t. Lydia allows our teams spread across the country to band together and stay connected by working towards a common goal.

Thanks to Lydia we have also been able to improve our impact on the environme t. As the first industry distributor to join the Pet Sustainability Coalition, we are always looking for ways that we can reduce our carbon footpri t. Lydia makes it so there is no longer a need to print out pages and pages of orders every d y. Instead, Lydia walks pickers through by voice and makes it almost completely hands-fr e. Naturally, our teams are huge fans of the new paperless method.

"This is so much faster! I picked a 2,100 lb bulk order in just under 25 mins... would have taken me at least 45 min on paper"

— Luis Pazo, Order Selector (Mid-Atlantic DC)

Lydia In Action

Since you have now heard all about how amazing Lydia is, I'm sure you are curious about how it really wor s. Well, you are in lu k! We put together this quick video to show just how Lydia helps your order get from the capable hands of our teams and into your independent pet store.

Operations Floater Paul Scott shows us how from order entry to the final sale, Lydia streamlines the order process to be faster, more accurate, frustration free and better for our environment.

Lydia has now been fully deployed in our Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Pacific Northwest distribution centers with plans to deploy in our last two distribution centers by next summer.

Let us know what you think about Lydia in the comments below!

About Caitlyn Mendonca

Caitlyn Mendonca is a Pet Food Experts Marketing team member and has been working in the pet industry for almost 7 years. She has always loved all animals scaly, feathered, and furry. She loves spending time cuddling with her kitty Edgar. Caitlyn is a true Rhode Island native who is always down for chowdah and clam cakes with a side of ice-cold coffee milk!