If you are evaluating a new picking solution for your warehouse, you may have heard terms like “pick by voice”, “voice directed warehousing”, or “speech based picking”. While they may sound like different solutions, these are all phrases that refer to distribution solutions that use voice technology, and are most commonly called voice picking.
Voice picking is the process of creating a direct dialogue between your mission critical systems and team members through the simplest means possible: a conversation in plain language they use every day. Voice picking eliminates the need to burden workers with RF scanners or paper by translating picking orders through a headset. This allows the pickers to move through the warehouse with their hands and eyes free, increasing productivity, accuracy and safety, and decreasing training time and damages.
How it Works
With voice picking, the picker is directed to a specific location where they must provide a set of check digits once they arrive. These digits confirm that the picker is in the correct aisle, and looking at the correct bin location. Once the check digits have been confirmed to be correct, the picker is provided with the pick quantity, which they confirm as they pick. After the quantity is confirmed, they are given the next pick location. The voice system will optimize the pick path as this process continues, ensuring that the picker is maximizing their efficiency as they work through the warehouse.
Voice directed work allows users to concentrate on the task they are performing, while keeping their hands and eyes free at all times. This simplifies the function and streamlines physical movements by eliminating the necessity of picking up and putting down a device or instruction sheet. After removing the obstacles from the picking process, pickers will often see up to a 35% increase in productivity.
Voice picking eliminates the distractions created by having tools in your hand, allowing the picker to dedicate their full focus to the task. This increases accuracy up to 85% by reducing the chance of a mispick caused by looking away from the picking area.
Safety and Damages
When dealing with a box-cutter or lifting a heavy object, it is imperative that the picker be able to easily use their hands. With voice picking, the picker keeps their hands free at all times, eliminating the potential for injuries or damages caused by lifting or cutting an item with a scanner or piece of paper in hand.
Because each task that a worker performs is driven by voice, there is no need to train workers on reading printouts, applying labels, or confirming information through a keyboard. Once a worker attends a one-time training session and creates a voice template (which takes as little as 15 minutes), the entire work process is driven step-by-step through voice commands. This reduces training time by 67% on average.
Utilizing voice simplifies the picking process and makes it much faster and easier for pickers to do their job. This becomes highly important in incentivized picking scenarios, where workers are compensated based on the results of their picking. In many cases, the switch from RF or paper to voice picking results in a 50% decrease in employee turnover.