introduce pioneering Voice Technology in Saudi Arabia

Nahdi’s Abha Distribution Center sees 10 to 15% increase in operational efficiency within three months from launching the technology

04 Oct 2021

Nahdi Medical Company (NMC), Saudi Arabia’s largest pharmacy retail chain and leading healthcare provider, is the first company in the Kingdom to implement Honeywell’s pioneering Voice Picking technology in its Abha Distribution Center (ADC).

Spanning across an area of over 11,000 sqft, the center supplies over 200 pharmacies and serves the growing demands of the local communities – predominantly young families – in the Southern Region.

How does the Voice Technology work?

Honeywell’s Voice Technology allows warehouse employees to work both ‘hands-free’ and ‘eyes-free’ by using a wearable mobile device that utilizes “text-to-speech” and “speech-to-text” technology. This provides audible instructions to the operators — guiding mobile workers through warehouse facilities, directing them to the next location and supporting them through the required tasks or steps to complete each process.

NMC’s CEO Mr. Yasser Joharji, commented: “Amidst the unprecedented national lockdown, due to COVID-19, we at Nahdi introduced pioneering technology that allowed for seamless delivery of essential health and medical supplies to our local communities across the Southern Region under the challenging circumstances. We are proud to be the first in the Kingdom to introduce Honeywell’s Voice Technology in our Distribution Center in Abha, as we continue to foster the sector’s digital transformation in line with Vision 2030 and strive to exceed our guests expectations, everyday.”

The easy to use technology is quick to boost productivity, accuracy and operational efficiency.  Sayed Al-Sayed, Nahdi Supply Chain Applications Manager explained: “Within 45 minutes, our employees are comprehensively trained and ready to use their wearable devices. This is a significant operational benefit, compared to the eight-hour training session required for a standard induction. This allows us to accelerate delivery of products with precision making a greater difference to the life of every guest we serve.”

Honeywell’s Voice Technology is supplemented by Oracle’s Cloud WMS software, the leading cloud-based inventory and warehouse management system, which plays a crucial role in the supply chain process; connecting and managing warehouse operations, from processing orders and storage management to picking and shipping.

Following a remote tech-implementation model due to the pandemic, Nahdi Medical Company, with the support of Inspirage: the integrated supply chain specialist firm in Saudi and the SNS group: a software implementation company specializing in supply chain innovation and digitization, were able to deliver the complex execution of this new technology successfully.

The results

With a focus on continuous innovation to drive better health and wellbeing for the Kingdom, within less than three months from introducing the Honeywell Voice and Oracle Cloud WMS technologies, Nahdi has achieved incredible operational results:

  1. Increased sustainability, by reducing the consumption of paper in the facility
  2. Increased accuracy, by ensuring products are delivered to the customers without any errors
  3. Increased efficiency, by reducing processing time and delivering products faster
  4. Increased control, by monitoring the expiry dates on products leading to less wastage and loss of revenue.

The decision to invest in the technology strategically prepares the organization for the upcoming merger of its three warehouses. The future state-of-the-art warehouse facility in Jeddah will control and oversee the overall distribution to the company’s 760 stores within the IMDAD DC territory. The opening is expected in early 2021.