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
Hydrogen, the Future of Materials Handling
Large, successful organizations are integrating hydrogen fuel cell technology into their lift truck fleets and benefiting from lower operational costs, reduced emissions and improved reliability.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order fulfillment process and increased throughput with near 100% accuracy.
System Report: Brownells new DC is flexible and responsive
Pallet Usage Report: Pallets Remain Critical in the Modern-Day Warehouse
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Pallets: Supporting Product, Processes and the Enterprise
The smallest leak in performance or cost can bring a lean, nimble and speedy supply chain to a halt. During this 30-minute webcast we'll examine how Modern's readers use pallets to keep the wheels turning as they maneuver a road filled with sharp edges and potholes.
Register Today!
Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...

American Eagle Outfitters’ omni-channel journey
The fashion retailer has used warehouse execution software and automation to create a true...
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...