Khushi: Power your Warehouse by Voice based picking

You are sitting in your office and discussing an important project. You suddenly get a birthday reminder for someone important in your life. Since you didn’t remember the birthday, you haven’t sent any gifts. What do you do?………. You open a shopping app, pick same-day delivery, and voila! The app helps you order a gift that will delight your loved ones. But, what took you a few clicks to finish is, in fact, the result of heaps of teams working in tandem around the year. The most important part of this entire chain is the “Warehouse” which stores these “gifts”. Warehouses are the hidden fulcrum of supply chain management, without their smooth functioning, the entire supply chain would collapse. There’s a lot to proper warehouse management than what meets the eye. From taking care of time-critical packages and dealing with inaccurate inventory to employing strategies to minimize labor costs – the world of warehousing is as tricky as a “dusra” cricket delivery indeed!

Out of all the activities in a warehouse namely in-warding of goods, storage, order picking, and dispatch, order picking forms the backbone of the entire operations. Picking up the correct order is critical as it directly affects supply chain productivity. Collecting articles for every order placed by the customer, as per the right quantity, while making sure it’s the exact product as was ordered- for millions of customers, every single time – is a Herculean task indeed!

To make this task easier and increase efficiency, it is recommended to use Voice-directed warehousing, or Pick-by-Voice as many call it. It comes to warehousing operations as an improvement upon the older version of HHT based scanning system for picking and is a new opportunity to win the upper hand in the aggressive supply-chain market.
Voice Picking Software- What’s In the Voice and How Does It Function?

Pick-By-Voice is a speech recognition and voice direction software installed in a small, wearable device. Here’s how it works:

1. Warehouse employees carry the voice unit with them
2. They receive verbal prompts from the mobile unit
3. They are directed to predetermined locations in the warehouse as per the algorithm
4. They read confirmation codes (check digits) of the products and speak predefined commands into the mic of the headset
5. The speech recognition module verifies the worker’s response and reverts with the picking quantity
6. After confirming the quantity picked, the worker collects the product and moves on to the next location

The entire system is designed to optimize the pick path of the operator thus improving the overall efficiency of the system

Pick-by-Voice Versus Traditional Warehouse Management Methods- What Makes the Former Special?

For one, a system that is entirely centered around speaking and listening gives your employees freedom from holding anything other than the product that they’re supposed to be handling. There are no instruction sheets, code scanners, devices, or checklists that they may need to put down and pick up before and after dealing with a product.

This subsequently simplifies employee functionality. In fact, this causes a 35% to 85% increase in productivity and accuracy respectively.

Then, there is a matter of labor safety. With fewer obstacles in the way to divert the attention of your operator, the potential of any harm to the product or injury to the personnel reduces as well. Even if they are picking an exceptionally heavy object or handling a fragile item, the chances of hurting themselves or vandalizing the product go down significantly.
Ultimately, this system eliminates any paperwork requirement. And, voice picking training is not only quick but also hassle-free. Plus, since it makes the operator’s job a tad bit smoother and easier, it gradually leads to a more satisfied and hence dedicated operator.
But, Why Would You Jump on this Bandwagon at All?
Here are the problems voice picking solves for you:
1. Improves inventory accuracy, picking accuracy, and employee productivity
2. Increases operator-safety
3. Reduces training time for operators
4. Eliminates paperwork, and hence redundancy
5. Leads to a better customer experience

The system converts speech to data with advanced speech recognition software. This software learns what each word sounds like – regardless of language or dialect, so the operator of any region irrespective of their mother tongue, can adjust as easily as those whose first language is English or Hindi. Today, Voice Technology is available in Indian regional languages as well. In other words, this system can work anywhere around the world without any difficulty.
The global reach for this tech is expected to touch a staggering USD 2.5 billion by the end of 2018 from its previous value of USD 900 million in 2017. It’s not just flexible but also offers a stellar increase in productivity and efficiency for warehouses. And, the market is expected to adopt voice picking systems in the upcoming years readily. With the scale of warehousing picking in India, voice is expected to be the next technology that will hit a tipping point. We suggest you jump on this ship while the good seats are still available.

Has Pick by voice become The New Black in the space of automation?

If you are still wondering about why over half a million people are talking about Voice-based picking, then keep on reading. Speech recognition has become dramatically popular in our daily lives and subsequently finds tremendous potential in the space of warehouse automation. Due to the advance NLP platform, it’s time for pick by voice technology to flourish as a technology since it has become sound and pronunciation agnostic. Each year thousands of users are adopting this new technology for the purpose of executing the warehousing operations and distribution center task management. The voice-based technology is more intuitive and improves the configurability and flexibility required for the smooth functioning of workflow processes. It improves the operating efficiency and results in profitability for the business leading to more bang for the buck.

Voice Vs HHT? Game Over For HHT
While the handheld terminal technology burdens the worker with a device in a hand, due to which the actual picking operation can be performed by only one hand or the HHT has to be tucked in for every pick operation, leading to higher time for picking. Furthermore, scanning takes more time resulting in lesser efficiency. This also takes higher training time than voice-based picking solutions. HHT creates obstacles in hand which when free can carry out multiple tasks increasing the picking per minute and hence the productivity is multiplied many times.

Order Picking With Voice – How it works?
With Pick by voice technology, the operator is given a smartphone-enabled with the voice-based app, powered by Natural Language Processing platform linked with a headset which helps them to accept audio instructions and deliver voice confirmations. The picklist is pushed to the system and the picker is directed to a specific location in the aisle where he is to perform the picking operation. Once the picker is an incorrect aisle, he confirms that he is at the correct bin location by reading out the check digit. After this, the system will deliver the required quantity to be picked and the picker confirms this process after picking that required quantity of units. Confirming this will lead him to the next picking location for the next picking operation. The voice-based system will also optimize the pick path so as to ensure that the operator has to cover the minimum distance. Walking alone takes between 45-60% of the total time of a picker’s operation and optimization helps to bring thigs unproductive activity to 15-35%. This ensures the efficiency of the workforce as they do the picking operation throughout the day.

Benefits of Voice-based picking
This paperless and hands-free technology drives a worker towards better efficiency by minimizing errors and improving picking accuracy. It increases the accuracy of operations by 35% reducing the chance of picking the wrong item due to lack of concentration. It creates a dialogue between the final required operation and the worker through the simplest means of conversation i.e. your own voice in your own language. By leveraging the services provided by today’s Internet of things, voice-based picking leads to better inventory positioning and fulfillment operations. Along with providing free hands to carry out various operations on the go, it also includes reporting tools that improve the functioning of your already existing WMS. This provides better scope for the management to anticipate workforce situations and make an informed decision later on. Most importantly, it keeps the worker focused enough while doing the picking operation resulting in better efficiency and far better accuracy. The headphones used in this process are mostly enabled with noise cancellation so that the worker would not get distracted from the assigned task. The constant confirmation through voice ensures that the process is running in a highly accurate and productive manner. Since the eyes of the picker are also free, there is increased safety as compared to the paper-based system where the picker has to keep his eyes stuck on the paper to ensure the right item is picked in the right quantity. It requires a training time of an average 15 minutes which reduces the conventional training time by 67%.

Finally, this whole process results in better employee satisfaction resulting in decreased labor turnover. Various studies have concluded that after implementing this technology the employee turnover has decreased by 50%. There is various Pick by voice providers in the market today which enables your picking solution to result in more efficiency and productivity. For Indian conditions, Addverb’s Voice-Based Picking is 3 times more efficient then HHT based picking.