Three Unique Approaches to Voice Picking

Our warehouse/DC engineer takes a look at three distribution operations employing three unique approaches to voice picking. But no matter how different each solution may be, these operations illustrate how the benefits of picking with voice remain largely the same.

By ·

Order picking with voice is undergoing yet another transformation. Since its pioneering days in the 1990s, voice picking consisted of predominantly proprietary hardware and software solutions, such as those by Vocollect, using mobile computers embedded with speaker-dependent speech engines.

Then in the early 2000s, vendors such as Voxware started moving away from proprietary hardware and shifted to more open architecture solutions that they embedded in commercial, off-the-shelf mobile computing devices such as those marketed by Motorola and LXE. This open hardware era saw an increase in speaker independent technologies and the rise in multimodal functionality allowing devices to capture data multiple ways, whether via voice, scanning, or RFID.

Both “proprietary solutions” and “open hardware” approaches physically require a mobile computer when picking.

But over the past three years, the proliferation of high-performance wireless networks and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems has ushered in what could be a new era in voice. Coca-Cola Enterprises, partnering with Cisco (a leading provider of wireless networks) and Datria (a Lockheed Martin spin-off specializing in packaged voice-enabled enterprise mobility applications) helped to innovate this network-based approach.

“It’s the era of intelligent networks,” says Daniel Hong, lead analyst of customer interaction practice with research firm Ovum and author of the The Guide to Voice Solutions in Warehouse Environments (February 2009). “Voice goes through a physical router that is also connected to a back-end server where all the speech recognition and intelligence resides,” he explains…..continued (click here to download PDF).


About the Author

Maida Napolitano
Maida Napolitano has worked as a Senior Engineer for various consulting companies specializing in supply chain, logistics, and physical distribution since 1990. She’s is the principal author for the following publications: Using Modeling to Solve Warehousing Problems (WERC); Making the Move to Cross Docking (WERC); The Time, Space & Cost Guide to Better Warehouse Design (Distribution Group); and Pick This! A Compendium of Piece-Pick Process Alternatives (WERC). She has worked for clients in the food, health care, retail, chemical, manufacturing and cosmetics industries, primarily in the field of facility layout and planning, simulation, ergonomics, and statistic analysis. She holds BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected]

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Overlooked Competitive Advantage: Connected Teams
57% of surveyed manufacturers believe they could reduce downtime by 10-30% by unifying their workgroup communications. What does a minute of downtime cost you?
Download Today!
From the January 2018 Modern Materials Handling Issue
PFS built one of the largest and most automated AS/RS freezers in the world in Washington state. Next up is a new design for automation. Automated Storage/ Automated Retrieval System, Cold Storage.
Lift Truck Series Part 1: Lift truck technology connects pickers to productivity
Breaking Through On Yard Visibility
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Emerging Technologies for Your Distribution Center
Come get an insider's view of the latest technologies for inside your Distribution Center. You'll learn which technologies are being piloted, which are having success and moving from concept to implementation and into production on the maturity scale, and what's coming on the horizon.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Trinchero Family Estates: Pallet handling in the vineyard
The second-largest family-owned wine company in the world turns to automated pallet handling and...
System Report: Rocky Brands Sees the Light
Confronting an aging materials handling system and new channels of business with new customer...

Top 20 industrial lift truck suppliers, 2017
The top lift truck suppliers list is changing with industry acquisitions causing a dramatic...
Lodge Manufacturing: Distribution Cast in Iron
In a new facility, iPhones and a new WMS allowed cookware manufacturer Lodge to double its business...