Achieving excellence in shipping verification

Schneider Electric, a global energy management specialist, uses an image-based solution to make shipping verification faster and more accurate. Marc Casanovas, Engineering Manager, and Vicent Lamarche, Distribution Manager at their Barcelona Logistics Centre discuss.

Why do you need automated shipping verification?

Marc Casanovas : Our logistics centre is very busy. We export products to more than 100 countries and inspecting all our dispatches manually is a very time-consuming process. After preparing the orders, operatives would assemble the pallets in accordance with the shipping list and would then use RF readers to check every single bar code on every single box to make sure everything was correct. However, as customer satisfaction is paramount at Schneider Electric, we wanted to enhance our efficiency and reduce the time spent on this process as well as eliminate as many errors as possible.

Why did you select an image-based solution?

Marc Casanovas : We had been working with Zetes for a couple of years to improve product identification and we mentioned the need to optimise shipping verification. After installing a semi-automatic baling line for pallets, Zetes proposed the Visidot solution, which is a system of industrial cameras to carry out automated checking. The advantage of Visidot is that you can capture all the barcodes in a matter of seconds.

How does the solution work at Schneider Electric?

Marc CasanovasOnce the pallet has been assembled after picking, a conveyor belt takes it to a turntable which has been integrated with the Visidot system. This detects that there is a pallet to decode, takes a picture and simultaneously captures all the barcodes on the boxes constituting the pallet. The turntable then rotates 180 degrees and images are captured on the other two sides of the pallet. Visidot is combined with a weigher to give the exact weight of each pallet as an additional means of verification.

All the decoded data is pooled to eliminate duplicates and validated with user-specified filters before delivery to the main ERP system. Once the pallet has been confirmed as correct, it is baled and dispatched. In the event of an incident, operators receive a real time alert and visual guide to solving the problem, which may be, for example, an incomplete pallet, a code missing from a box, or the detection of boxes which do not correspond to the pallet being dispatched. Data for each pallet is stored for information and statistical purposes. The images are stored for visual proof confirming the delivery of the order and its condition.

What are the most important benefits realised with this solution?

Vicent Lamarche : It is very important for us to have a reliable system which minimises the possibility of incidents and, if any do arise, to be able to take action immediately. We are very satisfied with the Zetes Visidot system because it meets the high standards of excellence we strive for in all our processes. First of all, it automates the checking of orders to be sent out, which saves us time and increases the reliability of our product dispatching. It also provides us with data in real time, thanks to the integration of the solution with our ERP system. And, last but not least, we have visual evidence of the packages dispatched and their condition. Thanks to the combined work of Zetes' experts and our technical team, we now have a robust, reliable, easy-to-use solution to verify all our shipments.

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