Dec 2010 – Voice Picking Webinar Recap
Questions & Answers
1. How much of the improved productivity comes from voice alone versus changing the picking methodology i.e. going from picking by order to batch picking?
We’ve seen 20-30% additional increase in productivity from switching to a bucket bridgade picking methodology, where the sequencing is from slow to fast and the slower workers begin an order while the faster ones are pulling the work through. That said, the increase in productivity mentioned in the slides above (30% from RF and double from paper) is from implementing voice alone. Also, it is important to note that if “picking to multiple cartons” is not coupled with the right verification technology (voice, RF or lights), errors rates tend to go up and can be significant.
2. What are the key factors in deciding between voice and lights?
Before determining any order fulfillment solution, it is important to analyze your SKU makeup, volumes and workload data and compare them against the Productivity to ROI ratio from the different solutions available.
Voice has been designed for applications with a large numbers of SKUs spread throughput the facility, that have few reaches per unit of travel or low pick density. To give you an example, one of our clients who is a supplier to big box retailers came to us for a voice solution. They were adding another customer with 1000 SKU locations in a dense pick area with about 80-90% of the volume from these SKUs. They had to be at 8500 reaches per hour to fulfill their daily workload. When we did our analysis,
- using voice we came up with approx 225 RPH, so they needed 38 operators to complete the workload
- with lights on the other hand, we were able to show over 500 RPH and make do with only 17 operators
You can learn more on this topic at our next webinar: Pick to Light vs Voice Picking on January 14, 2011.
3. Why did you decide to use the Voxware Voice Recognizer in your picking software?
Before we did voice, we already had a comprehensive picking software which we used to drive Pick to Light and RF Picking. When our clients came to us for a Voice Picking solution, we did not want to reinvent the wheel and develop a voice recognizer. We were looking for something we could easily embed in our picking software without a lot of modifications. We selected Voxware after looking at several voice recognizers on the market, mainly because of the accuracy and flexibility of their recognizer. Also, handling multiple dialects was a key requirement for our clients.
4. How does Voxware’s Voice Recognizer work in a noisy warehouse environment?
Many voice recognizers try to handle background noise by blocking it out with “noise-reducing” microphones. If using a noise-cancelling microphone is the only approach to handling background noise then recognition accuracy will never be adequate for most warehouse environments. Why? DCs simply have too much noise with wild fluctuations for a noise-reducing microphone to handle.
Voxware developed sophisticated software technology that cancels out background noise. Voxware’s Voice Recognizer actually “listens” for background noise and eliminates it – thus allowing the recognizer to process only what the worker said. Voxware’s Voice Recognizer has been deployed in some of the loudest places you’ll ever find – sawmills, airport runways, and very loud DCs – places where workers must wear protective ear coverings – and it still recognizes what users say with near 100% accuracy.
5. What industries are best served by a voice solution?
Any industry that picks product by eaches, cases or mix cases and/or where an operator must use their hands to pick the item because of how heavy or cumbersome the product is. Some of the key industries are listed below:
- Specialty retail (including apparel) and general merchandising
- Foodservice, grocery and cold storage
- Auto parts
- Restaurant chains and convenience stores
- Healthcare and pharmaceutical
"We were doing about 50-60 lines per hour. And with DynaPick - Voice Picking we found out quickly that changes to 120 lines per hour almost overnight. So the speed and efficiencies gained with Voice were second to none."
— Director of Operations, Simon & Schuster
Phone: 1-800-548-3745 x1