RFBS are experts in the implementation of voice-directed work. Our customers experience faster, more accurate picking due to Vocollect's hands-free, eyes-free voice recognition technology.

Improved Performance

In place of paper pickslips or barcode readers, workers listen to verbal instructions received via their headset. There is no need to stop to read a scanner or piece of paper - instead - workers just pick and go. Each time an item is picked, the worker speaks the quantity shipped - so there is no need to write down the quantity picked either.

Even in small warehouses, voice picking saves precious seconds from each pick transaction. Over the course of a year (50 weeks, 5 days, 10,000 lines picked per day) a saving of a mere 5 seconds per pick line saves the business in excess of $85,000!

Batch Picking

In warehouses where the order size is small, voice makes it easy to pick multiple orders simultaneously - without making mistakes. By intelligently combining multiple orders together which are in the same area of the warehouse, pickers walk or drive a shorter distance and can achieve more each day. Time savings using batch picking are generally around 35% - or over $250,000!

Accuracy

Picking via voice also provides your staff with a tool to verify that they are always picking the correct stock. By verifying the product electronically, human error can be avoided. The cost of re-stocking, re-picking, re-delivering and damage to customer relations can be cut dramatically - without hiring staff to check orders.

In the same warehouse working 50 weeks per year, making 5 mistakes per week (1 per day), the annual cost is over $12,000. Voice allows you to to reduce your error rate down to less than 1 error in 1000 items shipped - without a second audit step.

Voice in your Warehouse

Voice picking systems offer a return on investment of less than 1 year. Contact us today to discuss how Navigator and Vocollect can revolutionise your warehouse.

  • Improve picker performance by up to 35%
  • Increase picking accuracy to 99.95%
  • Benefit from real-time information.

Voice Picking vs RF Scanning

RF Scanning is the first technology considered by most warehouse managers - simply because RF technology has been around for so long. In the past, voice directed picking systems were seen as only applicable to 'very large companies'. But voice picking technology has really come of age in the last 10 years and is no longer a new technology. Today, voice directed picking systems are used in warehouses of all sizes from the large 400+ user deployments at Woolworths down to SME warehouses with as few as 3 pickers.

Other terms used to described RF scanning include: portable barcode reader, rf barcode scanners, rf directed picking, rf guns, rf scan gun, rf scanner, warehouse barcode scanner.

What is a Voice Picking System & How Does Voice Picking Work?

A voice picking system is a method of picking orders in which workers don't carry a piece of paper or barcode scanner. Instead, they are equipped with a small wearable computer which is belt mounted. Attached to this is headset, containing an ear-piece and a microphone (either via Bluetooth or a cable).

The voice picking system takes instructions from the warehouse management system (WMS) and converts pick tasks into audible commands. Pickers listen for these instructions and then speak back to the system to confirm they are completing the correct task. The system automatically converts the picker's speech to text and checks that the information heard is correct.  If the user makes a mistake, the system simply repeats the instruction and the user can re-confirm. In a picking environment, the picker might be asked to visit a bin location, then read the last 3 numbers of the product barcode. The voice system will wait until the correct product is verified before telling the picker to "take 4".

Voice Picking is Efficient

Pickers no longer need to look down at screens or clipboards, nor do they need to stop to write down pick confirmations (or key these into a scanner). The ability to hear and speak while moving means pickers can be more productive than they would otherwise have been if carrying (and picking up and putting down, then picking up again!) a hand-held barcode reader. Voice picking solutions make picking more efficient, and simple changes to the process which shave seconds off the processing time of each item picked add up to 6 digit annual savings. Not only this, but voice order picking is particularly useful when processing multiple orders in parallel (batch picking). The picker can be told which bin to visit, how many items to pick, and then which carton requires the goods. Each step the user takes is verified - and the picker does all of the checks while still moving. Warehouses implementing multiple order report picking accuracy levels of less than 1 error in 1000 items picked and productivity gains of 35% over a paper system. So when considering a warehouse picking solution, our advice is to think outside the box and consider how a process might look if the user wasn't constantly looking at a screen.

Other terms used to describe voice picking include: pick to voice, voice picking, pick by voice, pick-to-voice

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Components are used in a Voice Picking System?

Voice picking systems use hardware from Vocollect, including small wearable computers (for instance the Vocollect A730) and headsets (e.g. Vocollect SRX2 Bluetooth headset). The workflow engine running on each device is called VoiceCatalyst, while the 'business logic' software will be either Voice-Link, VoiceDirect, VoiceExpress or Navigator.

What is Voice-Link?

Voice-Link (Voice-Link) allows you to integrate Vocollect wearable mobile devices with your WMS. VoiceLink is typically used when your ERP or WMS system does not support voice natively.

What is a voice enabled WMS?

A voice-enabled WMS is one which supports voice natively, without third party connectors - for example Navigator WMS.

What else is Voice Picking called?

In 90% of cases , voice applications run in the warehouse are picking - therefore they are typically called 'voice picking systems'. However, it is more correct to call them 'voice logistics systems' since voice applications can be written for any task including receiving, put away, replenishment, cycle counting and despatch. You can also research terms including 'pick to voice', 'pick by voice' or 'voice picking'.
For most warehouses where goods are shipped at 'carton' and 'each' level (rather than full pallet loads), efficiency can often be maximised by picking more than one order at a time. Vocollect supports a batch picking process in which multiple customer orders are filled in a single walk through the warehouse. The system removes the need for a second consolidation step by ensuring that goods are placed into the correct shipping carton at the time of picking. Completed cartons can then be weighed and despatched without the need for repacking.

Batch picking can deliver time savings of 30-35% and substantial ongoing annual savings.
For retail fulfilment warehouses in which there are a fixed number of stores, Vocollect supports put to store. In this model, the picker breaks down a bulk pallet of product to each store pallet based on a distribution plan. This approach allows bulk pallets to be retrieved from storage in order of weight (heaviest first) by one picker, and a second picker to perform the distribution. This approach is extremely fast and accurate and is typically used in retail replenishment environments.

Business Benefits

  • Reduce picking mistakes and improve customer satisfaction by replacing paperwork with mobile computers.
  • Optimise throughput by implementing standardised process and remove the need for double-checking.
  • Integrates with other warehouse functions, including replenishment and putaway to reduce double-handling.
  • Talk to RFBS about the most appropriate picking strategy for your warehouse.
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