Blogue février 26, 2024

Is Voice Picking a Good Fit for Your Warehouse?

By Simon Dubuc
February 26th | 2 min read

Warehouse Technology: A Look at Voice Picking

As warehouses look at improving picker efficiency, the spotlight often falls on voice picking. But how do you know if it is a fit for your warehouse operations? 

What is Voice Picking: 

So what exactly is voice picking? Think of it as a hands-free solution that guides order fulfillment workers through the warehouse using simple voice prompts. Instead of juggling paper or handheld devices, pickers can keep their hands free to focus on the task at hand – selecting the correct items for customer orders. Picture a fleet of workers guided by precise vocal cues. It’s a sensory experience that gives ASMR a run for its money.  

Benefits of Voice Picking in Warehouse Technology: 

Let’s start with the advantages. One major perk is improved productivity. By removing the distractions of reading, pressing buttons, or even waiting for a scan to register, voice picking allows workers to concentrate solely on selecting the right products. It allows workers to move quicker and gives them more time with their hands free for lifting or performing other tasks while simultaneously confirming them. 

Another advantage is the ease of use and quick learning curve. Voice-directed solutions are user-friendly and can get pickers up and running much faster than with a traditional handheld. With voice prompts available in multiple languages, workers can operate comfortably in their preferred language all day long. This streamlines onboarding and ensures seamless communication across diverse teams. 

Lastly, voice picking contributes to a safer work environment. Not having to stare and scroll on a handheld device while performing potentially dangerous tasks can significantly reduce the risk of accidents in warehouses. 

Critical Questions and Considerations: 

Now, let’s address some critical questions and potential drawbacks. For instance, an environment where you need to track related attributes like lot numbers or serial numbers may not be a great fit for it. Without visual cues readily available, workers must rely on precise voice prompts to ensure accurate recording and traceability. Careful consideration and fine-tuning of the voice system are crucial to overcome these specific challenges. 

Where voice picking excels in large warehouse environments with high volumes of different items, handheld devices excel in scenarios with low SKU volumes or smaller warehouses, where visual information and manual input play a crucial role.  

Where voice picking excels in large warehouse environments with full case/pallet picks, handheld devices often need to be prioritized when dealing with unit picking or tracking attributes. If your warehouse is slotted in such a way that you can have multiple items in the same location, not enforcing a validation through a scan might induce errors in picking that counterbalance the productivity gains. 

Warehouse Technology – Different Needs, Different Solutions: 

It’s important to acknowledge that voice picking might not be suitable for every business. Factors such as the cost of ownership, the tolerance for errors or even a desire for common technologies can play a significant role in determining whether this technology is a good fit.  

The optimal approach may lie in finding a balance between visual information and voice prompts. When combined, these elements provide real-time guidance while keeping workers’ hands free. Striking this balance can be the answer to enhanced productivity for your operation. 

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to picking methods in warehouses. It’s crucial to evaluate your specific business requirements and consider the benefits and limitations of voice picking. By doing so, you can make an informed decision and unlock enhanced productivity and accuracy in your warehouse operations. 

Reach out to the LIDD team to learn more about warehouse technology and maximizing supply chain performance.

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