Italy - Primafrost Case Study


Primafrost: specializing in frozen food logistics
Primafrost is the cold storage logistics center of Gruppo Lombardini. Located in Mantua, Italy, the company’s frozen food warehouse extends over 10,000 sq. m. with a refrigerated volume of 70,000 cubic meters. This enables the storage of approximately 10,000 pallets holding 1,200 assorted references. Primafrost provides complete services and storage for the Group’s 650 points of sale with two to five weekly deliveries, in addition to working with third-party customers.

OBJECTIVES
Enhance the quality of picking operations
Increase operator productivity

RESULTS
Reduced error rate from 0.125 per cent to 0.013 per cent
Increased productivity by over 20 per cent
Information received in real time

"I am very satisfied with this system; considering its ease of use and the enthusiasm with which our operators have adopted it, I am thinking of implementing it in our warehouse replenishment operations as well."
Elisa Savoia,
Managing Director, Primafrost


THE CHALLENGE: Quality of service and efficient distribution
As the company’s cold and frozen warehouse operation, Primafrost is responsible for serving the Gruppo Lombardini’s multiple sales channels (supermarkets, hard discounts, hypermarkets, cash and carry, e-commerce and wholesalers). Great emphasis is placed on the quality of transported goods and the importance of timely and accurate order fulfillment. For these reasons, the products are stored in warehouses with refrigerating temperatures of up to -31°C. This hostile environment forces picking operators to work with very thick gloves, making it difficult to pick up packages having an average weight of 5 kg. Activity within the refrigerated room is limited to 45 minutes per worker, during which time operators must be appropriately protected from the cold and supported by innovative approaches that reduce the potential for errors. For quite some time, the entire structure has been equipped with radio frequency for stock supply. Although adopting radio frequency for picking activities was a natural, if not mandatory choice, Elisa Savoia, the Managing Director of Primafrost, never changed the traditional paper-based picking system because she wasn’t aware of any viable way to solve the issues related to working at such frigid temperatures.

THE SOLUTION: Voice-Directed Work™ for the cold logistics centre
Primafrost has always used paper-based lists and forms for picking – a procedure with high error rates and potential product mispicks. In September 2005, the company implemented Vocollect’s Voice-Directed
Distribution within the warehouse with KFI, the Italian partner of Vocollect. "I followed my instinct, because I understood that this would allow the operator to work hands-free without burdens and improve productivity. It would also enable the non-Italian workers to communicate with the system in their native languages," says Ms. Savoia. In fact, KFI’s Vocollect Voice™ deployment enables operators to communicate directly with the warehouse management system through their own voices and in their native languages, thus eliminating any language barrier issues.

THE RESULTS: A 20 per cent increase in productivity, with improved accuracy in the refrigerating room
Thanks to Voice-Directed Distribution, Primafrost has achieved highly significant results. In just 20 days, all operators were fully trained and ready to go, with productivity increased by more than 20 per cent. The quality of work also has increased noticeably, enabling the company to keep its non-compliant operations under control, which requires the ability to manage a range of costs that are not easily quantifiable. The employees have expressed their appreciation and satisfaction in using the Vocollect’s wearable computers which, with their hands-free operating mode, allows them to work more rapidly, reduce their error rate, and optimize the order selection operation’s overall effectiveness, even at arctic temperatures.

"The productivity and accuracy results we achieved are significant. But what has really pleased me is the increased quality of work. Voice-Directed Distribution also helps a company to keep track of non-compliant activities and costs that are not easily quantifiable for their management."
Elisa Savoia,
Managing Director, Primafrost

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