Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) is one of the largest bottlers for The Coca-Cola Company in terms of volume, with sales of more than two billion units every year. The warehouse procedures mainly consist of mixed pallet picking, so crates, shrink-wrapped bottle packs, and cans that are being packed onto pallets for the delivery trucks. In their daily work, the operators in Coca-Cola HBC’s warehouses used paper lists or tablets mounted on pallet jacks and radio frequency (RF) scanners.
Set out to find new, more efficient warehousing solutions Coca-Cola started investigating industrial augmented reality (AR) technology starting with a pilot at a Coca-Cola HBC distribution centre in Thessaloniki, Greece. There, a team of 16 pickers that collects multi-product orders was equipped with smart glasses and TeamViewer Frontline’s vision picking solution xPick.
This starting point was deemed a success with convincing results that led to an immediate ramp up of Coca-Cola HBC’s AR journey. A large-scale implementation in another six warehouses took place in 2019, the same year the first pilot started, to a total of 29 warehouses in 2022 with at least another 5 planned go-lives in 2023, making vision picking Coca-Cola HBC’s new standard warehousing technology.
To stay ahead of the curve and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, Coca-Cola HBC is constantly exploring new technologies that help optimize their processes. One of the key factors that the bottler is pursuing is delivery of the highest quality. For their warehouse operations this means a focus on the accuracy of customer orders being delivered.
The inconsistent, outdated methodologies, pick by paper or handheld RF guns combined with tablets mounted onto pallet jacks, initially built to support the pickers were identified as inefficient and as one possible error source. Wrong deliveries are not just a critical element when it comes to customer satisfaction, but also represent a major cost factor. Rejected orders have to be brought back to the warehouse and a new order has to be shipped, resulting in a spike in logistics handling costs, all due to wrong picking.
To reach highest accuracy, Coca-Cola HBC identified the opportunity to switch to smart glasses, improving the accuracy of mixed pallet picking in their warehouses. On top of increasing the output quality of warehouse operations, Coca-Cola HBC aimed at higher productivity as labor shortage leads to an increased demand