Voice-Directed Warehousing, VDW, Voice Picking, Voice in the warehouse

Voice-directed warehousing (VDW) utilises Voice direction and speech recognition software in warehouses and distribution centres (DCs). Other terms related to the deployment of Voice technology in the warehouse include Voice-directed picking and Voice-directed distribution. Voice-enabled workers wear a headset connected to a small wearable computer. The computer provides instructions to the worker in terms of what where to go and what to store or pick within the warehouse or DC. Workers are then required to confirm each task has been completed by saying pre-determined stock phrases and codes found at different warehouse locations or goods. The often cited benefits of 'Voice' include its being hands-free, 'eyes-free' and a faster and more accurate methodology than using paper 'pick lists' etc

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Horseware looks to BEC for WMS Voice solution

Horseware looks to BEC for WMS Voice solution

BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd. has won a Voice-enabled Warehouse Management Solution (WMS) contract with Horseware, one of the world's best known manufacturers of riding wear, leisure wear, horse rugs, equestrian products and accessories.

Greencore gets its Food to Go with Voiteq’s VoiceMan

Greencore gets its Food to Go with Voiteq’s VoiceMan

Operating out of six main distribution centres across the UK and a further six in the USA, Greencore's 'Food to Go' convenience foods business wanted to modernise its warehouse operations with a real-time system that reduced manual paper-based processes, improved accuracy and enhanced customer service.

Creed Foodservice boosts performance with Accord Voice WMS

Creed Foodservice boosts performance with Accord Voice WMS

Foodservice distributor Creed Foodservice is realising major performance improvements following a £175,000 investment in Accord Voice Directed WMS from supply chain software and warehouse management systems specialist BCP (Business Computer Projects Ltd).

October 2015 edition: Special Technology Report- Voice Picking & WMS

October 2015 edition: Special Technology Report- Voice Picking & WMS

The October 2015 edition of Manufacturing & Logistics IT will feature a special technology report on Voice Directed Picking and Warehouse Management (WMS)

A number of prominent industry spokespeople from the research & vendor community will consider current trends

Voiteq projects its Voice with largest international Voice User Group and announces new market entry strategy

Voiteq projects its Voice with largest international Voice User Group and announces new market entry strategy

Voiteq, global provider of Voice-Directed Work, achieved another milestone as it hosted its largest international Voice User Group to-date.

BEC strikes gold with Honeywell’s Vocollect solutions

BEC strikes gold with Honeywell’s Vocollect solutions

BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd., supplier of data capture solutions for supply chain logistics and manufacturing, has achieved Honeywell's Vocollect Gold Total Solution Provider (TSP) Status.

Voxware introduces Cloud-based predictive modelling analytics platform

Voxware introduces Cloud-based predictive modelling analytics platform

Voxware has announced the introduction of Intellestra, a Cloud-based predictive modelling and supply chain analytics platform, at ProMat 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

The future of the warehouse

The future of the warehouse

By Darrel Williams, Regional Director, Northern Europe and South Africa, Vocollect by Honeywell.

As online shopping and demand for services such as 'click – and – collect' continue to increase, retailers and other warehousing and distribution businesses will need to adapt to the shifting landscape. According to figures from eMarketer, B2C worldwide e-commerce sales will reach $1.471 trillion in 2014 – an increase of 20% over the previous year.

Voxware research indicates that most online purchases are returned due to retailer error

Voxware research indicates that most online purchases are returned due to retailer error

Voxware has released research highlighting why consumers return items purchased online or by phone and how their experiences with the return process affect their future purchase intentions with retailers.

BCP signs up for IntraLogisteX

BCP signs up for IntraLogisteX

BCP has signed up to exhibit at the inaugural IntraLogisteX Exhibition, which will take place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 25th and 26th March, 2015.

Voice-directed warehousing

 

Voice Picking or Voice-directed warehousing (VDW) has emerged as the “go-to” technology to improve product selection /order picking in a warehouse. It improves picking accuracy and delivers significant savings by avoiding the various types of pick error which occur in the warehouse. Voice technology uses speech recognition and speech synthesis to allow workers to communicate with the Warehouse Management System (WMS).  Warehouse operatives use a wireless, wearable computer with a headset and microphone to receive instructions by voice, and verbally confirm their actions back to the system. The wearable computer, or voice terminal, communicates with the Warehouse Management Software via a radio frequency (RF) local area network (LAN).

 

Voice-directed warehousing is typically used instead of paper- or mobile computer-based systems that require workers to read instructions and scan barcodes or key-enter information to confirm their tasks. By freeing a worker's hands and eyes, voice directed systems typically improve efficiency, accuracy, and safety. Whilst VDW was originally used in picking orders, now all warehouse functions such as goods receiving, put-away, replenishment, shipping, and returns processing can be coordinated by voice systems.

 

Improvements in order picking accuracy are dramatic, and accuracy of 99.9% (one error per thousand picks), and often much better, is usually achieved. The improvements that you obtain will depend on your current method of order picking, but if you are moving from a paper-based system to voice directed picking, picking errors are usually reduced by between 80% and 90%. By using voice directed instructions with a headset, the warehouse pickers communicate much more naturally with the hosts system. This enables the picker to focus on identifying stock locations, travelling to next pick and on handling the materials. There is no need to juggle and RF terminal or paper pick lists. In addition there is no requirement to constantly shift focus from a handheld display/keyboard to the product and back – thereby reducing operator fatigue.

 

In terms of investment or ROI the case for implementing Voice in the warehouse is usually based on the pick accuracy and productivity improvements that voice directed technology delivers. By understanding the real cost of pick inaccuracies it becomes clear how voice picking is able to produce a strong return on investment within a relatively short period of time.

 

Voice Picking solutions can be integrated with your existing ERP , Supply Chain Software or WMS and can either be proprietary /closed source or open source. A closed source system is one where the licensing of the source code, the programming language calls and functions, is not generally available.  Modifications to the Voice system, that is a closed source system requires a contract for services with the software vendor. Open source architecture, enables the software to be used in conjunction with various different types of compatible hardware /mobile computers and fits easily with a wide range of standard and custom warehouse management systems.

 

Voice solutions are now available in the Cloud, lowering CAPEX –(Capital Expenditure) and enabling smaller to mid-size operations to have access to the same technology as larger organisations on a per-user cost basis. Implementation of a Voice solution can now take days instead of months enabling users to immediately leverage the product's key capabilities and make dramatic improvements in efficiency in the warehouse.

 

There are three different types of error which can occur in a warehouse during the picking process: short, over and mis-picks.

 

Short picks- The cost of rectifying a short pick is the administrative effort of telesales and admin staff resolving the credit claim and the margin lost on goods sale.

 

Over picks are where the customer receives more of an item than they ordered and paid for. Over picks may often go unreported for obvious reasons. If ran over pick is reported, the costs to rectify include return transport costs, admin as per short picks, labour costs in handling the return, and in the case of best before or perishable products the cost of writing off stock.

 

Mis-picks are where the wrong item is shipped to the customer. If the error is correctly reported as a mis-pick all of the same rectification costs for over picks apply. If the error is reported as a short pick, i.e. not returned or paid for, there is the additional cost of replacing the or crediting the item which was not shipped which means that mis-picks can be the most costly type of error.

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