Our Business is to Optimize Your Business

Voice Recognition Expands Beyond Order Picking

Bartlett Distribution Services LLC uses the Lydia’s voice solution from topVOX

When asked what warehouse technology brings the most immediate improvement in efficiency, voice picking often comes to mind for warehouse operations professionals. The ability to guide the picker through an order, provide item location and quantity required, then have the action confirmed by voice makes a distribution warehouse more efficient. And given that order picking can account for 40 to 60 percent of the labor in a food or beverage warehouse, this benefit remains a driving force for voice automation.

By using a voice verification system, information from the warehouse management software (WMS) is transformed to speech, instructing the order picker to the item location and quantity required. The picker then verbally confirms the location via a number, or check digit, located where the product is stored and the quantity picked.

When asked what warehouse technology brings the most immediate improvement in efficiency, voice picking often comes to mind for warehouse operations professionals. The ability to guide the picker through an order, provide item location and quantity required, then have the action confirmed by voice makes a distribution warehouse more efficient. And given that order picking can account for 40 to 60 percent of the labor in a food or beverage warehouse, this benefit remains a driving force for voice automation.

By using a voice verification system, information from the warehouse management software (WMS) is transformed to speech, instructing the order picker to the item location and quantity required. The picker then verbally confirms the location via a number, or check digit, located where the product is stored and the quantity picked.

While this article focuses on voice technology’s growing capabilities, it is important to note that order picking remains the key benefit that voice technology provides, given the importance of this function in a distribution warehouse.

Voice technology has expanded to improve warehouse operating efficiencies in areas other than product picking.  Voice recognition software can manage the following functions: selection (case, piece batch and cluster picking), put-to-store (building location specific pallets, both single and multi-SKU pallets), replenishment, transfers (point-to-point item moving), put-away, line loading (order assembly from belts for pallet building), cycle-counting, loading, back stocking, receiving and inventory control.

Meanwhile, voice technology providers are making their software more “hardware agnostic.”  As hardware and software both advance, warehouse managers have to consider hardware/software compatibility. Providers of voice verification software increasingly note the importance of “hardware agnosticism.”

“We can use any hardware that’s voice-capable, including industrial PDAs and smart phones,” says Marceline Absil, vice president of sales and marketing at TopVOX Corp., a Barrington, Ill.-based maker of voice hardware and software.

The TopVOX “speaker independent” speech recognition engine allows the system to recognize people’s voices without the need for lengthy voice template training. This greatly reduces training time and ensures that voice users are up and running in a timely manner, Absil says.

Combining bar code scanning and voice

When asked what warehouse technology brings the most immediate improvement in efficiency, voice picking often comes to mind for warehouse operations professionals. The ability to guide the picker through an order, provide item location and quantity required, then have the action confirmed by voice makes a distribution warehouse more efficient. And given that order picking can account for 40 to 60 percent of the labor in a food or beverage warehouse, this benefit remains a driving force for voice automation.

For Nature’s Way Products Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of dietary supplements based in Green Bay, Wis., the “speaker independent” feature was an important consideration in choosing a voice technology for the company’s new West Coast distribution center in McCarran, Nev., according to Tom Krajewski, Nature Way’s director of distribution.

Nature’s Way Products has used voice verification for functions other than order picking; packing and shipping are also using topVox’s voice-directed solution. Woodridge, Ill.-based Numina Group’s warehouse control system (WCS) manages the order fulfillment automation module. The WCS simultaneously processes the entire mix of order types including split-case orders, Internet and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments.

Order picking, meanwhile, remains the key benefit that voice technology provides, given this function’s importance in a distribution warehouse.

by Elliot Maras, Food Logistics On Jun 25, 2015

Go back

© 2014 topVox Corporation Sitemap | Contact | Last Change October 20, 2016