Saturday 22nd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Talk is a hit for south coast book distributor

Book distributor Littlehampton Book Services is implementing voice technology from VoiteQ following a four week trial.

The trial was deemed a success after meeting Littlehampton’s criteria of achieving near 100 per cent first time picking accuracy; during the trial LBS actually achieved a 95 per cent reduction in picking errors.

The implementation of VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware and Vocollect wearable voice computers will replace the company’s existing paper-based picking.

The system will be used to pick individual books from a zone based conveyor system. The operator selects the zone to work in, waits for a box to arrive, tells the voice device the invoice number and is then directed to pick all the items for that box, within that zone.

Graham Money, operations director at Littlehampton, says: “We had a healthy wariness of installing new technology, as did our operatives, which is why we were happy that VoiteQ were able to conduct a trial with us.

“We were extremely pleased with the results, not only the dramatic increase in accuracy achieved during the trial but also the feedback from our team. The team appreciate how natural it is to use a voice system and how it has actually made their tasks easier.”

VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware will interface between the Vocollect Talkman T5 wearable computer, and LBS’ existing VISTA system. Operatives can work completely hands and eyes free by receiving picking commands from the WMS to a plug-in headset and the computer, the system literally talks the operative through their task. The voice-directed application typically delivers accuracy levels exceeding 99.9 per cent and greatly increases productivity, which in turn delivers a very fast ROI.

Littlehampton is now planning where else in the business it could benefit from using voice. It believes that the flexibility of voice means that it will be the ideal tool for bulk picking, replenishment and stock control.