Innovations in Warehouse Design for Today’s Distribution Center
A critical component of an improved DC design for today’s warehouse is voice picking technology that incorporates better processes such as optimizing product slotting, and the picking travel path. This will provide a profound impact on order fulfillment productivity. Combining voice picking technology with leaner and more efficient operational practices and the right mix of warehouse automation technologies accelerates productivity to go beyond the performances obtained from traditional material handling improvements. For example, autonomous vehicles, which are essentially cooperative robots, (co-bots) can further eliminate the non-value services of pushing carts to reduce non-valued work, accelerating the technology investment’s ROI.
Today’s DC requires innovations that focus on processes and technologies that dramatically reduce labor and shift the behavior of warehouse employees, so more of the daily work tasks is controlled by productive practices. Pick by voice does exactly that, enforcing leaner, lower labor processes in an existing warehouse or a newly designed operation. Combining voice picking technology with the right blend of warehouse automation technologies including robots working in cooperation with conveyor systems has the ability to increase pick, pack, and ship productivity 30% – 50%.
RDS™ Voice, the solution provided by the Numina Group, includes pre-developed application modules that can be tailored to the customers’ requirements to enforce picking rules in an optimized travel path. It is a proven, modern, stand-alone software application or it can be deployed as a component of our Real-time Distribution System, RDS™ Warehouse Execution and Control System, WES-WCS.
RDS™ voice includes integrated labor management software that tracks individual work task productivity and can be combined with a labor standards strategy such as a pay for performance program, that rewards employees for meeting labor and accuracy goals. Pay for performance programs have pro
ven to significantly improve warehouse performance across all elements of labor, including accuracy, base wages, overtime, and retention. Just imagine the impact and benefits of being more productive and more profitable with fewer, happier, more highly motivated employees in your operations!
Using a modern voice engine combined with our Real-time Distribution Software, RDS™ warehouse execution and control software, WES-WCS provides a solution beyond traditional Pick by Voice platforms. The voice engine is also superior providing speaker independent, zero operator voice training. it is highly intuitive, remarkably easy to use, learn, and highly accurate, allowing single touch pick and pack validation at nearly 100% accuracy rates that eliminate the need for secondary order inspection. Voice picking technology significantly outperforms paper picking, pick to light, and RF picking in warehouses and distribution operations.
Voice Picking Technology Advantages
Below is a list of the top features and benefits that differentiate RDS™ Voice directed order fulfillment automation:
- Productivity – Reduces the walk or fork-truck travel path required to complete a picking or product movement task. Voice keeps operators focused on the task at hand. Removes the need for secondary inspection. Interleaves work tasks. Voice directs and enforces the work rules and moves workers to the “hot” high volume work zones.
- Scalability – Voice easily expands as your business grows. It is flexible, adaptable, and modular – easy to add additional pickers with zero voice training. New or temporary workers are productive in minutes.
- Accuracy – Voice combined with hands free product barcode scan validation, is a three step verification that is accomplished simultaneously and much faster than a wireless terminal or table. Voice enforces standardized picks, consistently achieving single touch 99.98 to 99.99% accuracy rates.
- Profitability – mistakes are expensive. Multi-modal voice combines voice with barcode scan validation of the item SKU, lot, serial number, or sell by date and achieves higher order accuracy – directly increasing profitability.
- Speed – Voice increases the speed of picking and other work tasks 20-30% faster than a mobile screen based terminal and 35% or more faster than a paper based application. Voice eliminates reading instructions, checking SKU locations, keying in quantities, and data entry requirements.
- Labor Management and Pay for Performance – Integrated labor tracking and reporting tracks individual worker productivity across zones and work tasks. It provides both worker and team performances in real time and historical reporting to allow managers to set improvement goals, work standards. RDS™ is the best tool to implement a pay for performance program.
- Flexible – Voice is highly flexible and makes it easy to change voice commands and provide SKU pick rule instructions based on a customer’s or retailer/E-com’s specific shipment. Voice automatically prompts the picker in a step by step manner with the work rules and integrates a paperless voice instruction.
- Safety –Working in a hands free and eyes focused operation allows the operators to hear, see, and verify the work performed without taking their eyes off the task.
- Efficient – Voice picking accuracy and performance boost allows the current workforce to do more work in a shorter time period to reduce overtime, and secondary inspections.
- Lower Training Costs – Voice with a Speaker Independent voice engine requires no voice training so even temporary labor and seasonal employees can be productive in minutes. The latest improvements are now approaching 100% recognition rates across multiple languages, and are clear and easy to understand while operating in a noisy work environment. RDS™ Voice Picking Technology boasts easy to recognize voice responses regardless of an individual’s accent.
- Order Release with Cartonization – RDS’s™ ability to combine order release, cartonization, and voice pick & pack, streamlines the entire order fulfillment operation. RDS™ Voice includes a very advanced cartonization module used at order release which manages picking directly to the right size cartons and/or padded bags eliminating secondary touches in packing to lower shipping costs.
- WCS and ERP Connectivity – RDS™ has a family of communication connectors to easily integrate to existing warehouse management systems, WMS and enterprise resource planning, ERP systems.
Today’s Omni-channel distribution operations that include E-com order processing are complex and require a voice solution that has the ability to manage order release, work balancing and also include pick, pack, and ship automation. This is the domain of Numina Group’s RDS™, a top tier WCS-WES that includes all the required software and technologies to automate a distribution center. Contact a Numina Group sales engineer today to learn more about the many benefits of voice picking technology.