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Vision Express founded in 1988, with currently 390 stores, is one of the UK’s major operators in the retail market for spectacles and contact lenses. Vision Express branded stores in total command over 11% of the current UK market.

Inside the newly refurbished, automated warehouse, Vision Express recognised a need to enhance accuracy and efficiency within its picking operations.

Global Barcode’s Challenge:

Vision Express’ facility features over 36,000 picking locations for individual item picking, and covers multiple levels of elevation. Due to picking volume of over 1,000,000 picks per year and growing, Vision Express recognised a need to enhance accuracy and efficiency within its warehouse operations. It was decided that a unique barcode was needed for each location, to enable an innovative picking system to be implemented, this would address these concerns most effectively.

Global Barcode’s Solution:

Utilising hardware from M3 MOBILE, the UL10 IP65 rated, 1.8m drop tested rugged mobile PDA would be the ideal device. The UL10 scans the generated 1D location barcodes and the printed labels generated for each pick. To do so the warehouse workers download the pick list from the server, and carry out the picking jobs required using the UL10 throughout. The UL10’s 4,500mA Smart Battery will save downtime due to power issues.

The software utilised in this picking solution was written ‘in house’ by our software developers here at Global Barcode. M3 UL10’s were installed with this custom software, utilising Microsoft .NET technologies and connecting to a central SQL server database.

Workflow is downloaded to each device as users initially log on to the system. Once a picking job is selected on the device the Zebra ZT230 industrial direct thermal label printer installed by global, automatically prints the required labels to enable each worker to go on and carry out the allocated jobs simultaneously.

Picking jobs started can be viewed in real time, showing information such as pick list number, allocated picker and job status. One of the software’s features is a ‘Priority Picks’, this feature enables urgent pick jobs to jump to the top of the picking queue.

Complete and incomplete jobs are colour coded to show insights at a glance. Our system interfaces with other existing software in the process chain in order to generate workflow.

Given the system’s position within Vision’s commercial operations, it was identified that ongoing technical support regarding any hardware or software installed regarding the picking solution should be provided by Global, to ensure its long term stability.

The Benefits:

The system provides Vision Express with an automated picking solution from start to finish, due to the allocated barcode system and hardware. Productivity attributable to the solution has risen by 45%

“The impact of Global Barcode and M3’s supported solution was virtually instantaneous, both the Software and Hardware combined have provided us with a seamless picking process.” - Ops Manager, vision express

The real time data provided by the implementation of the software, for the status of each job provides total transparency.

Picking accuracy has risen by 30% since the initial solution installation, downtime has also been greatly reduced.

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