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The Container Store deploys Lucas Systems’ voice-picking solution in Dallas-area DC

BY Marianne Wilson

Pittsburgh — Lucas Systems, a provider of voice directed warehouse applications, announced that The Container Store has installed Jennifer VoicePlus for voice picking in the retailer’s Dallas- area, 1.1 million-sq.-ft. distribution center.

Distribution Center employees who work with Jennifer every day had a big part in selecting our voice system. As a company, it is very important that any new technology we install be something that is going to make life better for our employees, in addition to the company, our stores, and customers,” said Christy Parra, logistics systems director, The Container Store.

According to Parra, employees at the distribution facility preferred Jennifer’s human voice, the easy, five-minute voice training process, and the rich voice-enabled help functions.

“We also liked the ability to tailor what the user hears, not just for ease of use and efficiency, but also to keep things fun and interesting,” Parra said. “Since installing Jennifer in September, we’ve seen steady increases in picking productivity, in addition to a sharp reduction in training time for new employees.”

The Jennifer VoicePlus application integrates with The Container Store’s Catalyst warehouse management system and supports order picking for both direct-to-consumer fulfillment, as well as for store replenishment. It includes the flexibility to use speech recognition and barcode scanning interchangeably using a standard multi-modal mobile computer (the lightweight Motorola MC3190).

In addition to voice picking, Jennifer’s Engage Management Services Console gives DC supervisors increased visibility into real-time operational information and the tools they need to effectively plan and manage their work making their work easier and more efficient.

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Apple tops Fortune’s most admired list

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORKFortune has released its 2012 list of the most admired companies, and it should come as no surprise that Apple topped the list. Even with the passing of Steve Jobs, the company didn’t miss a beat delivering products that are still in high demand, increasing sales and delivering soaring profits for its investors.

Also on the list were a number of retailers including third-ranked Amazon.com, 20th-ranked Costco Wholesale, 24th-ranked Wal-Mart Stores, 25th-ranked Target, 28th-ranked Whole Foods Market and 41st ranked eBay.

Fortune conducted the survey in 2011 among top executives, directors and securities analysts in 58 industries. Companies were selected based on such criteria as financial soundness, long-term investment value, people management, social responsibility, use of assets, quality of management, quality of products and services, and innovation and competitiveness.

The full list of 358 companies, and their rankings, can be viewed here.

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Macy’s names new board member

BY CSA STAFF

CINCINNATI — Paul Varga, chairman and CEO of Brown-Forman Corp., has been elected to the Macys Inc. board of directors.

Varga is a dynamic business leader and strategic thinker with an impressive track record in building and marketing global brands, said Terry Lundgren, Macys Inc. chairman, president and CEO. He will be an important addition to our board as we continue to develop Macy’s and Bloomingdales as distinct brands and destinations for shoppers domestically and internationally. Given that Paul began with Brown-Forman as a summer intern and worked his way up the organization’s ranks, he also is an advocate for strong management development environments, which is a hallmark of Macys Inc.

The addition of Varga brings the size of Macys Inc.s board of directors to 11 members. It will return to 10 members after the annual meeting of shareholders on May 18, when Joseph Pichler, former chairman of The Kroger Company, retires from the board after more than 14 years of service.

Varga was named president and chief executive officer of Brown-Forman, one of the world’s 10 largest wine and spirits producers, in August 2005 and became chairman of the company in August 2007. He has been a member of Brown-Formans board of directors since 2003.

Varga joined Brown-Forman in 1986 as a summer intern. He was promoted to a variety of positions within the corporation, ranging from on-premise marketing to managing the Jack Daniel’s brand. He was promoted to senior vice president and chief marketing officer in 2000. Prior to becoming chief executive officer of the corporation, Varga served as president and chief executive officer of the company’s Brown-Forman Beverages subsidiary.

Varga earned his bachelor’s of business administration degree in finance from the University of Kentucky in 1985, and his MBA from Purdue University in 1987.

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