Voice Picking System
Voice picking systems are automated picking systems that can be much more efficient than picking via paper or RF transmitters. With voice picking, the operator does not have to ‘look down’ to reference their next steps. This results in higher accuracy as well as seconds saved with each step the operator must make (which quickly adds up!).
How It Works
Voice picking systems utilize headsets and wireless scanners to enable hands-free, single-touch pick and pack operation.
With voice picking, the operator is directed by the voice command via the headset for each step in the process. The voice command can be customized to each company’s specific operation.
Here’s an example of the steps taken in a voice pick:
- The voice command will tell the operator that they are to ‘cart pick’ (as opposed to fork truck pick).
- The operator lets the voice command know once they’re at the cart pick location.
- The voice command will direct them to put box size A in position 1, box size C in position 2, and box size D in position 3 on the cart. The operator will confirm once completed.
- The voice command will then direct them to go to the pick locations for each box, providing the optimized pick path.
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Is It Right for Your Operation?
Ideal applications for voice picking systems include:
DCs that distribute items which are regulated and require a scan verification: This is often found with pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and food distributors.
Large DCs that distribute high volumes of SKUs: If you have a distribution center that is spread out, voice picking will be more ideal than pick-to-light, which is better suited for denser operations.
Also, because voice picking does not require hardware installation on the racking system, it is often considered better suited and overall more cost effective for larger DC’s than, for example, pick-to-light.
DCs that fluctuate the number of workers needed based on seasons: this is due to the advantage mentioned previously, that employee training time is reduced. Therefore, having to add a larger number of workers for an ‘on’ season is an easier, less time and resource consuming process.
DCs that regularly reconfigure pick locations: this is because voice picking does not require hardware reconfiguration to go along with reconfiguring pick locations.
Voice Picking Advantages
Integrating voice technology into your operation can be very beneficial versus paper picking or picking via RF transmitters. Advantages include:
Increased pick accuracy: up to 99.9%: this reduction in errors is largely due to pickers not misreading instructions.
Another feature to note that increases accuracy is that voice picking can actually do subtraction as the picker picks. This works particularly well when pickers have to pick more than 10 items in a single pick location. For example, if the picker has to pick 10 of an item, they can break it up to lessen the likelihood that they’ll over or under pick. They can pick 4 of the item, place it in the box and tell the command ‘picked 4’. The command will then tell them ‘pick 6’.
Increased pick volume per worker: pickers are able to pick higher volumes due to reduction in time it takes to pick. This is largely due to pickers not having to look down to read instructions. Not having to look down to read instructions, and often reread instructions, can save valuable seconds per pick, which quickly adds up.
New employee training time reduced by up to 50%: voice picking systems require less employee training time, since they are told what to do via the voice transmitter.
Safety incidents reduced by 5% to 20%: there are a number of reasons for this. One, this allows operators to be handsfree. Second, they don’t have to be constantly looking down to reference paper or transmitter, so they’re always able to see where they’re going.
Your Next Step for a Voice Picking System
There are a number of voice picking system providers out there. Whether your next step is to gather more information or request a quote, consider REB Storage Systems. REB is a highly experienced systems integrator, in business since 1962. REB has 17 in-house project managers and engineers, all highly experienced in the material handling industry. These people know this industry inside and out.
REB is highly knowledgeable and experienced in designing, engineering, and installing voice picking and other automation and racking solutions. We will make sure your system is the best fit for your SKU profiles and space. We work with you to provide a turnkey system. From engineering, design, products procurement, subcontractor management, install, and permitting support, REB handles it all for you.
We’d appreciate the opportunity to help you further, whether that be more information or a quote. Fill in the contact form or call 800-252-5955 to get in touch with a REB representative.