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Posted July 3 2019
Written by Nicolas Yale

Voice Picking: Hands free order picking!

Voice Picking has evolved greatly on markets other than food distribution, it is also true for markets such as retail, third-party logistics providers, health care, and mass market consumer goods. Several organizations from each of those sectors use voice technology to reach higher precision and productivity levels while reducing operations costs and maintaining a competitive advantage.

This technology replaces paper listings or mobile devices that kept the order-picker’s hands busy, with personalized voice directives. 

Let’s look at it more closely.

 

The benefits of Voice Picking

  • Operators can concentrate on the task at hand instead of focusing on a screen or piece of paper
  • The operator no longer needs to juggle with the products and his tool
  • Operators are prompted every step of the way, ensuring a seamless process

 

Voice Technology

Voice technology has become increasingly popular and affordable over the last few years. The cost of devices and software have greatly declined. If you conducted a feasibility analysis a few years ago and were not convinced about the return on investment, there are some good chances that things have changed since then.

Voice technology can be integrated to your warehouse management software depending on the one you use.

Supplies:

  • Headphones and a microphone
  • Mobile device (Motorola, Honeywell, etc.)

Voice materials

Industries Using Voice Technology

The food distribution and pharmaceutical industries were the first to develop an interest into it, but today, its use is widely spread:

  • Order-pickers can use both their hands to improve the distributor’s productivity;
  • Places that employ seasonal workers can benefit from reduced training cycle;
  • Sectors where the order’s precision is crucial cut the numbers of errors;
  • Distributors where both motorized equipment and pedestrians work in the same area increased the safety of those workers;
  • Really, it applies to any distributor who wishes to increase the productivity, precision or safety of its employees.

 

Reduce Myths to Pieces

Having developed an extensive implementation experience with HighJump Voice, we had to face several myths, concerns and objections linked to voice technology. Here are the top 3 myths that we were faced with and how HighJump Voice can help overcome them.

Background noise

Over one million HighJump Voice users working in environments such as freezers, outdoors, manufacturing, etc. use voice technology. HighJump Voice’s noise reduction microphones filter common noises such as pallets falling, trucks beeping, conveying belt and freezers’ ventilation systems.

HighJump Voice can reduce unwanted sound insertions up to 50%.

Spoken languages and accents

With HighJump Voice, workers can hear prompts in 35 languages.

The voice recognition engine is language-independent, meaning that each of the workers’ answers are specifically modulated before they start using the system. During the training, users can speak in their mother tongue/favourite language, including dialects and regional variations.

The system will learn the user’s language and adapt to any languages, dialects or accents for voice input.

Easy Implementation

HighJump Voice provides a quick way to improve productivity without having to modify the system already in place, making it easier to implement the voice solution without requiring a large pool of IT resources. The solution offers a real-time interface which uses existing Telnet and database reading interfaces (such as RF scanners) allowing HighJump Voice to create a new work process using the voice without making any changes to the WMS.

 

Return on Investment

The lower the distributor’s profit margins are, the more pressure there is on theperformance of the warehouse personnel. Voice activated technology improves key elements of warehouse performance indicators.

Increase in Precision

Normally, when adding voice activated order-picking, the error rate lowers by 60 to 80%.

For a company that is already 99% accurate, this represents a gain of 0.6% thus reaching 99.6%. Every little improvement to the order picking precision level, even if only one tenth of 1%, significantly impact profitability. 

Each order-picking error incurs costs in the following departments:

  • Customer Service
  • Shipping costs to bring back the merchandise
  • Receiving of returned merchandise
  • Re-packing of open boxes
  • Processing credit notes
  • Picking replacement order
  • Shipping costs of replacement order
  • Invoicing replacement order
  • Emergency processing (internal calls, emails, meetings, confirmation)

Let’s say a distributor processes 200 10-line orders per day (2,000 order lines/day at an average cost of $50 per error, we gain 0.6% * 2,000 l/d * $50 * 260 days = $156,000 yearly) for the percentage of improvement of precision level mentioned above.

Increase in Productivity

With both hands free and eyes always on the task at hand rather than on a screen or a piece of paper, order pickers become more effective.

We note a typical increase of 10 to 20% in speed.

Reduction of Training Cycle

Voice technology’s only aim is to create more efficient work force. This requires quality training which is usually costly not only in normal times, but also in seasonal and peak periods.

Companies using voice technology considerably reduced their training costs. Most of them noticed a 66% reduction in training costs. Training tools supplied with the voice system allow workers to self-train through a web-based tool.

Trainers are able to track and train several workers in the same amount of time or less than what they are used to.

 

Conclusion

All the benefits described above are possible for clients who implemented a voice-operated work system designed, developed and implemented specifically for their needs to improve their operational processes. It is HighJump Voice’s specialty.

We are not satisfied with simply modifying your processes to adapt to voice software, we work with you to implement the best solution through best practises and creative designs.

The end result is a refined and coherent work process that allows reaching fantastic business results. Our commitment to your success warrants that you get the best return on investment in the industry.

 VIDEO: Learn more about voice technology through our HighJump Voice presentation.

Conférence HighJump Voice Picking Warehouse Edge Createch

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