Voice Picking Technology

Jennifer Maloney
October 2, 2018

Innovations in Warehouse Design for Today’s Distribution Center

Investing in a voice picking suite that includes a complete family of pre-developed picking and warehouse automation application modules results in more united and efficient distribution practices. The application software, called a voice suite, goes beyond voice only applications and blends voice directed picking and automation components into the warehouse automation solution. For example, pick by voice used for batch cart picking 12 or more orders at the same time increases picking efficiency 30 to 40% compared to discrete order picking.

Combining voice directed batch cart picking with autonomous vehicles/cooperative robots, (Co-bots) can increase the picking process an additional 15 to 20% by coordinating the operator’s pick and pack work with the Co-bot’s cart movement throughout the operation. Adding Co-bots to the batch cart pick process eliminates the non-valued work of the operator manually pushing carts between zones and moving the pick completed carts to the pack area, accelerating the ROI in warehouse automation.

The voice suite also enforces better warehouse slotting practices through its velocity based SKU slotting measurement software module. It assists in keeping the highest moving SKUs located along the shortest order picking travel path. The module measures SKU velocity during the picking process to identify poorly slotted and changing velocity SKUs to alert management that an item requires re-slotting.

Combining a voice suite with additional warehouse automation technologies, including conveyors, robots, ASRS, pack automation, and print and apply labeling into a complete warehouse automation solution, increases pick, pack, and ship productivity providing gains of 35% – 70% or more!

Real-time Distribution Software, RDS™ Voice Suite, developed by The Numina Group, includes a full family of pre-developed application modules that can be tailored to the customers’ requirements – enforcing 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 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 proven 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!

RDS’s voice technology is a superior multi-modal voice technology that integrates the voice commands with barcode work task and product picking barcode scan validation. It is speaker independent which means zero operator voice training time so new operators are productive in 5-10 minutes.  It is highly intuitive and remarkably easy to use.  Multi-modal voice that combines voice commands and hands-free product and lot scan validation, provides single touch pick and pack validation at near 100% accuracy rates.  Integrating voice and scanning with warehouse work tasks eliminates the vast majority of labor costs required to perform secondary order inspection at packing and shipping. The RDS™ Voice Suite is provided as a stand-alone voice automation application or as a module within RDS™ Warehouse Execution and Control Software, WES-WCS. It provides a solution that goes beyond traditional Pick by Voice suppliers.

Voice Picking Technology Advantages

Here’s a list of the top features and benefits of RDS™ Voice Suite:

  1. 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.
  2. Scalability – Easily expands as your business grows to add additional application modules and add additional voice pickers without voice trainingso new workers are productive in minutes.
  3. Accuracy – Voice automatically prompts the picker in a step by step manner with Voice commands combined with hands free barcode scanning validation. Multi-modal voice is a three step verification process that is fast and provides higher accuracy than wireless mobile computers or tablets. Voice enforced pick and pack processes consistently achieve single touch 99.98 to 99.99% accuracy rates.
  4. Profitability – mistakes are expensive. Multi-modal voice and barcode scan validation of SKU, lot, serial number or sell by date equates to higher order accuracy – directly increasing profitability.
  5. Speed – Voice increases the speed of picking and other work tasks 20-30% faster than a wireless mobile computer. Voice eliminates reading instructions, checking SKU locations, keying in quantities, and data entry requirements.
  6. 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 and work standards. RDS™ is the best tool to implement a pay for performance program.
  7. Flexible– RDS™ Voice application suite is highly flexible with easy to change voice commands and pick rule instructions based on a customer’s specific business rules.
  8. 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.
  9. Efficient – Voice picking accuracy and performance boost allows the current workforce to do more work in a shorter time period, reduces overtime and secondary inspections.
  10. 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 voice engine is now approaching a 100% recognition rate across multiple languages, 
  11. 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 very advanced Cartonization and Order Release Modules supporting picking directly to the right size cartons and/or padded bags, eliminating secondary touches in packing, resulting in lower costs.
  12. 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.

DC’s require a voice solution that manage order release, work balancing and the full automation complexities across the pick, pack, and ship order fulfillment operation. This is the domain of RDS™ Voice Suite and WCS-WES. Numina Group has all the required application expertise, software and technologies to automate the entire distribution operation.  Contact us today to learn more about the many benefits of RDS™ Voice.

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