Once organizations understand where gaps exist, voice picking technology can help improve the process. These solutions are paperless, hands-free systems that incorporate varied technologies. They rely on voice prompts to direct warehouse workers to specific locations and then indicate which products to pick to fulfill customer orders. Panasonic, Honeywell and Voxware are among the leading providers in the space.
How Voice Picking Combats Modern Challenges
As order fulfillment has gotten faster and more complex, consumers can receive goods as quickly as the next business day. Picking is the most expensive component of warehouse operations and where the most errors occur. With a paper-based system, this process is slow and even more prone to error.
Voice picking combines headsets and microphones with speech recognition and warehouse management system or enterprise resource planning solutions, Dempsey explains in the webinar. The software and hardware work in tandem to send directions to workers, and workers then send voice confirmations back to the system. This reduces time spent manually scanning barcodes and entering information and frees workers’ hands and eyes, helping increase efficiency, accuracy and safety.
For voice picking to reduce errors and increase productivity, accuracy is key. “There’s a lot of rework that has to happen, and the most costly part is the warehouse environment, when you start having to rework picks and then deal with returns,” says Dempsey in the webinar. One way to improve accuracy is through choosing the right technology. Mobile devices that rest on the hip or wrist and are connected to Bluetooth headsets can provide the most flexibility for workers.
Customizing Voice Picking Solutions
With voice picking, “Warehouses are going to improve their efficiencies,” Dempsey notes in the webinar. However, he also points out that “there might be different technologies that are better suited for different tasks.” In some cases, radio-frequency identification (RFID) or barcode scanning might make more sense over voice picking and related technology. The key is finding the right solutions for each organization to increase optimization.
Panasonic approaches voice picking technology by combining handheld computers, Bluetooth headsets and a customizable software template to create a cost-effective voice picking system.
With the right technology and customization, organizations can transform their warehouse processes, increase visibility into their supply chains and support workers.