Medifon Oy

Medifon Oy increased power of warehouse by more than 30%

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Medifon Oy is a pharmaceutical company operating in the pharmaceutical industry. Growth in recent years has been strong and preparations were underway for a big leap under the new principle. 

Compared to large competitors, development resources are more limited, but hiring  additional labor was not intended to lead to growth. The right technology was found at Devoca and the solution paid for itself in less than six months.

The challenge is the development investment costs

For some time now, Medifon Oy had been looking for a solution suitable for the investment capacity of an SME in its Espoo warehouse (4,500 m2, about 5,000 pallet places and 10,000 product lines). The strong growth required solutions, and even if new staff had to be hired in addition to the six permanent Pickers, it was not desired that everything be taken care of with an increase in the workforce. 

The company, which serves pharmacies, hospitals, and health food stores, had to think carefully about development. The transition from paper-based picking to voice picking was one of the more serious options from the beginning, but the prices of the solutions were a challenge for development. Eventually, Medifon ended up with Devoca’s new solution which combined speech recognition, a touch screen, and even barcode readers in the same package, if needed.

The industry’s own special features, such as batch and date tracking, brought its own challenge to the final solution. Without customization, the implementation would not survive.


Fast into production

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According to Jyrki Ristinen, who is responsible for Medifon’s logistics, 70-80% of all product lines are handled by voice picking. “Already, a 25-30% increase in power has been achieved, and when everything possible is put under voice picking collection, the power will increase from here as well. So, it is estimated that a hiring costs of couple of employees will be saved, and of course the risk in terms of growth will be much better managed. We are very pleased with the results already achieved, although the development is still in its infancy. ”

Speech recognition has worked quite well with Medifon, although we have become accustomed to a more precise speech style when talking to a “machine”.

The smartphone responds well to development needs

The smartphone responds well to development needs
The smartphone, which acts as a terminal and is attached to the user’s forearm with an armband, frees the Picker’s hands to do work and brings with it the necessary cost efficiency. Medifon’s solution eventually resulted in support for a normal 4G network, but it is also possible to use your own wireless network. The performance on the mobile network has been good, and there have been no interruptions or downtime. Costs also remain very moderate in this respect, as there was no need to embark on larger network investments.

“Efforts have been made to find a cost-effective solution in all parts,” says Leo Hämäläinen, CEO of Devoca. “The mobile device as a terminal enables a lot, but the high-quality components available as shelf goods and our agile development model are also behind the competitive price. The solution itself is quite unique on a global scale.”

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Staff involved from the beginning

Kalevi Palmu, a warehouse worker who has worked in the logistics industry for forty years, would no longer switch back to paper. “Working on paper is easier and faster than collecting. Frustrating data entry to the terminal after a round is also gone. Now that my hands are completely free during the round, I can focus on the right things,” says Kalevi during his work.

Old employees have been an important part of the success of investment. From the very beginning, the project was considered by a large group and a practical feel was sought after, even before the actual decision was made through testing in our own warehouse. The result of the project, which took place in a positive spirit, has been a welcome one.

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Benefits are seen quickly

So, the benefits of the system are still in their infancy, but we are already sure, that the investment will be a success. With the system, the picking accuracy and speed have clearly improved, and unnecessary work steps have also been eliminated.

The use of the solution is easy to adopt, and the users move directly to on-the-job learning after a few guided picking rounds. The ease of use of the solution is an important factor, for example, when using temporary labour. The system has also brought with it a new approach to making sure the entire warehouse team, and the company’s management, receive real-time information about the warehouse’s operations.

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Warehouse development investments under control

The development resources of an SME are often limited. Investment capacity doesn’t always include the introduction of new technology, and thus development remains half-finished. Devoca Talk’nPick is a tool for the needs of both large and small businesses. The key premises of the solution are being economic and enabling new efficiencies for all companies.

At the heart of the solution is an application tailored to the needs of the warehouse and a smartphone that is used with a suitable combination of different interfaces. Speech recognition, touch screen, and barcode readers are the most common uses. If necessary, you can also use smart glasses or even a belt-mounted printer.