Voice Picking Overview
Voice 101: Voice Directed Warehouse Applications Drive Efficiency and Accuracy Across Industries and Tasks
Whether it’s called voice picking or pick by voice, voice directed warehouse applications are a proven solution for improving distribution center operations across industries. And voice is not just for picking and order selection. Many warehouses that use voice picking also use voice directed applications for receiving, put-away, replenishment, truck loading, returns and cycle counting. See a video of voice picking, below.
Compared to traditional warehouse processes using pen and paper or handheld computers and barcode scanning, a voice picking system creates a hands-free, heads-up user workflow. Rather than stopping to read, scan, write or punch keys, users listen and speak in a fluid, efficient workflow. This results in dramatic, direct pay-offs:
- Improve user productivity.
Depending on your process (picking full cases from pallet locations vs. picking individual items from flow racks) productivity gains may range from 10-90%. Lucas customers have achieved average productivity gains in picking of 36%.
- Reduce errors.
Even DCs with 99.9% picking accuracy before voice can reduce picking errors by 25% or more with voice picking.
Voice-Enablement Versus Next Generation Voice
Since the late 1990s, speech recognition technology has matured and voice directed applications have been adopted by thousands of large and small distribution centers around the globe. While early voice picking systems were used to voice-enable existing paper or RF-based workflows, today’s advanced voice picking software incorporates flexible, configurable process flows that may combine voice recognition with barcode scanning and other input or display tools, including smart glasses. These so-called multi-modal systems optimize efficiency and accuracy, and also help companies meet product traceability goals by leveraging multiple technologies in a seamless workflow. For example, Lucas Move multi-modal voice solutions featuring Jennifer deliver bigger improvements in efficiency, productivity, and inventory accuracy, and larger reductions in shipping errors than are possible with simple voice-enabled systems. The next evolution of voice includes the addition of augmented reality using AR smart glasses, to further improve ease of use, efficiency and accuracy.
The video below shows a voice picking application used to pick medical products (note the use of the scanner to initiate the pick process in this example).
As shown in this video, voice can be used to capture and confirm additional product information, both to support product traceability and ensure picking accuracy. Beyond the hands-on advantages of voice, today’s advanced warehouse voice systems add sophisticated reporting and management tools that complement and extend warehouse management systems (WMS) or labor management systems (LMS). These additional management tools – such as the Engage Management Dashboard – help DC supervisory staff to better manage workflow, view and react to exceptions in real time, and track and manage productivity and performance.
Contact us to learn more about our Mobile Work Execution Solutions and Lucas Move voice picking applications featuring Jennifer.