Advantages of RDS™ Intelligent Automation Voice Picking Solutions Suite

Jennifer Maloney
March 4, 2019

Numina Group has been at the forefront of Intelligent Automation with voice picking solutions for Material Handling and Order Fulfillment for over 30 years.

Intelligent Automation takes traditional automation and makes it smarter, able to tackle more complicated processes – software enables the automation to make decisions based on rules, for example. This greatly increases productivity, and accuracy while reducing labor costs. Numina Group’s Real-time Distribution Software, RDS™ is a modular real-time software platform that is the powerhouse behind Numina Group’s Intelligent Automation.

RDS™ is a versatile Warehouse Execution and Control System, (WES- WCS) with all the pre-developed modules necessary to execute highly efficient pick, pack, ship order fulfillment operations, including controlling conveyors, sorters, in-line scan weight, vision audit, retail and compliance labels, label locations, voice picking, AGV’s, ASRS and other material handling automation. What truly differentiates the Numina Group from our competitors in this space is the RDS™ Order Release and Voice Suite.

The RDS Order Release and Voice Suite gives our customers the ability to streamline their operations, create seamless workflows, and easily scale up and down during peak times and seasons.  RDS™ order release wave optimization logic performs more efficient order release across multiple work areas and executes multiple picking strategies in concert with RDS™ Voice and other order fulfillment automation technologies. 

RDS™ pick by voice seamlessly integrates with Order Release and Cartonization logic, taking into account labor required, in real-time, across multiple pick zones to perform the order picking. It selects the combination of cartons and totes based on the SKU dimensional weight, releases the order flow based on calculated work standards and travel time across the pick zones and can additionally include the performance activity required at upstream process areas, such as put walls for order consolidation, and pack and ship processes to increase productivity and throughput across the distribution operation.

Numina Group’s RDS™ Order Release Module

Numina Group’s order release module uses the RDS™ intelligent automation software to boost efficiencies in order fulfillment practices. This software goes far beyond traditional batch or continuous wave order release by balancing the order through modeling and measuring the zone work performance across all the pick zones required for a given order. The order release module takes into account the picking tasks in parallel work tasks to synchronize picking across the entire distribution operation.

The RDS™ Order Release Module uses a model-based reasoning algorithm that allows settable work zone standards. The software measures the real-time work performed for selecting and balancing release orders in a closed loop process. Real-time displays show expected performance to actual order throughput with alerts and displays of orders zone progress.

The IA order release algorithms use model based reasoning to account for the following operation/order picking parameters:

  1. Delivery priority assignments
  2. Carrier cutoff times & customer specific service level (same day shipments)
  3. Zone utilization (if a zone is full, release cartons that need picking to be performed in other zones)
  4. Routing Travel times
  5. Picking path and alternate routes
  6. Cartonization
  7. Palletization (largest/heaviest cases at the base, lighter/smaller on top)
  8. Customer specific business rules (carton, case, VAD, padded or polybag)
  9. Processing times (carton build, picking, consolidation, pallet build) based on configurable workmanship standards with real-time measured feed-back control

RDS™ Order Release Module continuously measures each order’s pick zones historical and actual picking performance to select and release orders from the available pool of orders based on each zones order max capacity level setting.  When combined with RDS’s pick by voice, the software measures and takes into account each operators picking performance to further optimize the order release process.

RDS Voice Picking Solutions Suite

The RDS™ Voice Suite is a robust and powerful voice directed software application for picking and managing warehouse work tasks that work seamlessly with the RDS™ order release module.  The Voice Suite includes a family of pre-developed picking methods (i.e. strategies) that interleave picking with other applications such as shorts, replenishment, cycle counting and inspection functions tailored to the customers’ requirements.

During the design phase of a project, Numina Group’s engineering team and the client’s team work together to analyze current order fulfillment practices and select the combination of picking strategies best suited to obtaining the highest picking performance rates. The picking strategy selection process accounts for the SKU velocity, cube characteristics, order profiles and shipment methods across each zone to the order release module’s engineered order completion time-window.

The RDS™ Voice Suite supports a wide mix of picking strategies matched to the application requirements including:

  1. Smart Cart Batch Order picking using mobile cart-pick to carton or totes
  2. Speed Pick single orders to totes on pick carts and conveyor systems
  3. Bulk Pick single orders
  4. Conveyor Pick module-zone routing pick to carton or totes
  5. Dynamic Zone Carts – on demand picking of a batch of 3 or more orders in walk back pick or slow mover zones
  6. High-bay order pickers using pallets or carts
  7. Fork Trucks pallets or cart picking
  8. Put Wall pick zone order consolidation
  9. Sort by Voice and stage at dock areas and definable order consolidation and pallet build locations

RDS™ Voice Suite includes a labor and order movement tracking software module. It measures order throughput and tracks and reports an individual worker’s picking productivity within their assigned work zones to the zones settable standards. The labor tracking and reporting data can be used to implement a pay for performance program that rewards employees for exceeding labor and accuracy goals. Pay for performance programs have proven to significantly improve warehouse performance across all elements of labor, including accuracy, base wages, overtime, and retention.

RDS™ Multi-Modal Speaker Independent Voice Picking Solutions

RDS™ uses a superior speaker independent multi-modal voice technology that combines natural speech voice commands with hands-free barcode scanning to scan pick locations and item pick validation by scanning the product barcode and/or lot serial number instead of reading check digits. Hands free scanning reduces a large percentage of the operator’s voice confirmation dialog especially when the scanner is the latest 2-D technology, increasing picking efficiency by 10% or higher than a voice only picking technology.

Speaker independent means zero operator voice training so new or current operators are productive in 5-10 minutes.  It is highly intuitive and remarkably easy to use compared to a traditional voice only system. A traditional voice only system relies on the operator receiving and confirming picking tasks using voice responses compared to a voice technology such as RDS™ Voice that was developed from its inception to operate as a multi-modal voice technology that enables incremental benefits in nearly every aspect of the order picking process.

Multi-modal voice commands are combined with hands-free product and lot scan validation. The technology provides a single touch pick and pack validation at near 100% accuracy rates. The higher accuracy that a voice only achieves over an RF based terminal picking technology is due to the operator’s eyes focused on the work with pick and pack instructions being voice directed as outlined below:

  • Go to location A101
  • Scan item
  • Pick “2” voice command
  • 2 “OK” voice response acknowledgement

The above 4 steps happen in near real-time (typically in under 2 seconds). Interleaving voice commands and hands-free scan validation is faster, more efficient and leaner order picking by eliminating reading instructions and data entry to minimize picking labor and the vast majority of secondary order inspection and packing work.


Distribution operations require a flexible, modular and highly reliable software platform that intelligently manage order release and balances work tasks while managing and controlling the latest automation technologies. This is the domain of RDS™ WCS-WES and its Voice Suite for more efficiently managing pick, pack, and ship order fulfillment operation.

RDS  WES-WCS’s latest Intelligent Order Release Module optimizes order release in both continuous order and batch wave release and picking applications. The software synchronizes order picking assignments and prioritizes the order flow across the entire distribution center. When matched with the right voice directed picking process and pick zones standards, RDS™ enforces a more efficient and higher in accuracy picking process. The results: reduced labor, improved order throughput for a faster ROI and higher profitability in order fulfillment operations using Numina Group voice picking solutions.

Contact Numina Group to learn more about RDS™ WES-WCS capabilities.

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