Voice warehouse and voice picking
Vocal recognition is the process by which human oral language is recognized and then processed through a computer or more specifically through a special recognition system.
This technology allows an informatic instruction translation on vocal controls and vice versa, making a direct communication between the store operator and software.
The “voice” seems very useful for picking operation, where the operator talk with WMS using some headphones and a microphone connected with a terminal wear on the waste, leaving your hands free to use them only for the picking operations. So, the barcode reading using radio equipment’s became unnecessary, with a time reduction of goods withdrawal. It is possible also to maintain some operations to execute with radio terminal for more checks or precision for work flows.
The Voice advantages
Voice technology enables multi-tasking which, in turn, results in a significant increase in the productivity of these applications compared to paper-based or otherwise hands-on solutions. With this type of solutions, users alternatively work or communicate, and this process delays the work of warehouse operators and causes high waste of time.
Voice technology, on the other hand, allows you to communicate while handling products, so the same amount of work can be completed in less time.
The application of the item involves significant improvements in both productivity and data accuracy for operations such as picking products in the warehouse (which accounts for more than 40% of labor costs and more than 45% of errors in operations).
A&D S.r.l. has chosen to integrate voice recognition technology into its Automa logistics software, relying on the vo-CE systemCE developed by the Italian company Itworks S.r.l. and now tested worldwide with the integration of more than 10 different languages.
This software allows the application of voice technology to common radio frequency terminals currently on the market, thus releasing the use of voice from dedicated or specific hardware equipment.
For further information on hardware, let’s see the productor’s website.
The interaction between WMS Automa and vo-CE on the warehouse
The functionality is based on voice communication through well-defined and customizable commands between the warehouse operator and the vo-CE voice recognition software, which is then able to transmit information via the interface with Automa WMS. vo-CE then performs the function of "interpreter" of information on the road from Automa to the operator and vice versa.
Guided by the Automa WMS, the vo-CE system presents the warehouse operator with the location to go to perform the picking mission, indicating the lane, the position and the plan where to pick up the goods. At this point, the operator must answer with the check digit (a 2-digit number affixed on the location label) of the corresponding cell and then receive the information on the amount to be taken.
This operation serves as a confirmation that the operator has reached the correct warehouse location. Automa can handle the following voice picking cases:
- Whole packages, or where the unit of packaging sold is equal to the unit packaging of the supplier;
- Loose, when the sales packaging unit is different from that of the supplier and a "break" of the package is required.
Once the goods have been picked up and the quantity has been confirmed at the WMS, we move on to the next mission (if there is a lane change it will be communicated by the WMS). After the picking of the missions will be communicated the end of the operation, communication to which the operator can respond in two different ways, in order to:
- Pass to a new tranche of withdrawal missions;
- Pass to the check operation and printing of two bills.
Other possible operations with voice technology on WMS are:
- The partial picking, so the low quantity instead of that one asked:
- The picking with prices rectification, with whom the operator informs WMS that the withdrawal asked unit load has an anomaly on the goods quantity;
- Lowing merchandise operation to make the cell refilling of picking;
- Elimination of a picking mission, toward an asking of an administrator password
It is possible to generate the printing of the packing list by voice commands: the WMS will ask to read the code of the UL (Load Unit) to be printed (the code is read by scanning the barcode with the radio frequency terminal or by providing the UL check digit to the system).
Once the UL has been verified, the WMS will print the packing list, confirming the success of the operation by voice message. At this point it will be possible to print the packing list for another UL or simply resume the withdrawal from where it was interrupted.
Voice Picking on foods warehouses Coop
On the various voice WMS installation, there is the one realised for food warehouse Coop, managed by Aster Coop of Udine.
In the plant there are two types of products: fresh, managed through gravity racks that facilitate picking operations to operators; fruit and vegetables, with daily rotation, which is stored in areas on the ground pending the preparation of shipping orders.
These types are managed by Automa using radio frequency terminals.
There are frozen goods, stocked in a compactable warehouse with a temperature of -25 °.
In this situation, voice picking proves to be successful, allowing operators to always work hands free and wear gloves that would not be compatible with the use of the terminal on radio frequency.
Voice for vertical warehouse management
An installation certainly not ordinary is the one made for Electrolux Professional Sweden, where A&D S.r.l. has realized the management of the loading/unloading operations of vertical shifting warehouses with the use of voice technology.
Also in this situation, the store operator can do the requested operations with hands free, vocally interfacing with the system and without being subject to downtime, thanks to the work on several vertical warehouses in the battery and the timeliness of Automa in sending the missions of lowering the trays to the machines.
In this way the operator, just finished the picking operation on a vertical warehouse, will find already available the tray of the next mission on the other machine.