by Rina Redelinghuys, CQuential WMS Customer Services Executive
Warehousing and supply chain management is a dynamic and ever changing environment. Companies operating in these sectors constantly strive to become more competitive and use technology as a key enabler to meet operational objectives.
There are many technologies out there that have the potential to drive these benefits, but voice picking has been proven to be an attractive option. Voice directed warehouse – also commonly known as voice picking, which is integrated with warehouse floor operations and warehouse management system (WMS), translates into a direct dialogue between your WMS and warehouse teams using plain language.
By voice-enabling your warehouse you move from a Radio Frequency (RF) centric operation to a voice-centric warehouse which frees up your pickers hands and eyes. Voice picking can be applied in all warehouse processes such as receiving; picking; put-away; replenishment; checking, and despatch. The fine picking area specifically has proven to benefit most when it comes to the voice picking capability.
The following are just some of the potential benefits of shifting to voice-centric systems:
Productivity gains can be as high as 50%.
Warehouse staff become more efficient. By freeing up their hands and eyes workers can concentrate on the task in hand. Distractions from side conversations are also eliminated.
Accuracy can be improved by as much as 80%.
The opportunity to make mistakes is greatly reduced because the operators hands and eyes are freed because they are not using scanners, and distractions from side conversations are eliminated by use of the voice headset and ongoing task dialogue. The use of location check digits increases in the voice process and augments greater accuracy.
Significant safety Gains.
To safely perform the task at hand warehouse operators must concentrate on what they are doing. By using voice picking operators are not distracted and can handle equipment, stock, and packaging in the safest possible way.
Training time can be reduced by over 60%.
The training process is significantly simplified because each task is voice driven. It removes the need to train the operators on reading picking slips, using the scanner and the application on the scanner, confirming information, etc. The training process is simplified by having the operator create a once off voice template and the remainder of the process is driven using step-by-step voice instructions.
Operators are motivated through improved performance.
By simplifying the warehouse process – for example, picking – makes it possible for operators to perform at much higher levels with reduced effort. Operator performance is improved, and they begin to see real benefits from incentives and take pride in their work.
Moresport partnered with CQuential, Honeywell and Datasmith to successfully deploy Honeywell Voice on CK3 devices and SRX2 headsets to address challenges and improve business processes.
Moresport Limited is South Africa’s leading sports and outdoor retailer. Moresport required a solution that increased fine picking productivity and maintained a high pick accuracy, especially during peak season. The company implemented CQuential’s cloud-based warehouse and supply chain management solutions.
39% increase in productivity in the first year alone!
Moresport experienced impressive results from the hands-free voice-picking solution. Its pick productivity increased by 39% in the first year. The company was able to significantly reduce the number of overtime hours required during peak seasons. There was also a significant improvement in worker health and safety with the voice-picking technology. Additionally, the voice-picking system payback period (ROI) was estimated to be between one and two years.
Moresport was able to address its distribution requirements much more efficiently, especially during peak retail trading months. The business experienced less human error due to fewer touch points, as well as quicker processing of orders and improved productivity. Additionally, Moresport implemented a successful semi-automated replenishment model, which further improved productivity and the flow of goods.