Say Ready . . . Ready . . . Voice Picking Do’s and Don’t

One of the Senior Vice Presidents’ of the Blue Horseshoe TransTech division recently gave a webinar on supporting the development of an e-commerce transformation with voice picking. Having recently completed a project utilized a voice driven case pick operation, the webinar really struck a chord. Thinking about what our company has done with voice, I came up with a few dos and don’ts for companies that are considering voice picking at their company.

Do

Have a facility numbering scheme that facilitates voice picking. In the facility numbering scheme that we use at our client, the pickers are given a numeric aisle, bay, and level. This allows them to easily know where they are going.

Don’t

Use a lot of letters in your locations. A strict numeric naming scheme can reduce the time spent looking for location signs. Which works better, “Go to AB123C pick 20 CS,” or, “Go to 113 pick 20 CS?” Alphabetic naming can also be confusing to workers from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Do

Layout your facility and store your products in a manner that facilitates voice picking. Successful voice picking facilities have one item of one lot in each pick location. This allows you to minimize the number of prompts the employees have to be given to make a successful pick.

Don’t

Try to do voice picking before you have optimized the storage and processes in your warehouse. Some companies will try to implement voice before improving their layout, storage configurations, and picking processes. This can lead to an overcomplicated voice implementation that will not deliver the expected results.

Do

Train employees in the actual working environment. When creating the voice templates and teaching employees how to use the system, make sure that you are doing it in the actual environment were the work will be done.

Don’t

Train your employees in a quite conference room in the back of the facility. When the voice software is trained in a quite conference room, employees will often not speak the same way they would when they are working in the warehouse. I have seen many people trained in quite spaces be unable to get accurate results from voice picking, because after picking 110 cases of product, their voices sound different than when in the training environment.

Voice picking can be a key component of a successful facility improvement project. For more information on Voice Picking and the technologies that enable successful voice picking, you can sign up for a recording of our Sr. VP Jim Butler’s webinar from the Modern Materials Handling website.
For more information on how Blue Horseshoe helps integrate best of breed ERP and WMS solutions with automation and voice, you have to read our post about the coverage we are getting about the work done at Wirtz.