Talk is good for Mamas & Papas

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Mamas & Papas, the baby products retailer, is going over to voice picking at its Huddersfield warehouse.

Voice picking will be used in two areas of the warehouse, both the ground floor which includes general merchandise and the mezzanine with the clothing. The ground floor uses a pick-and-pack operation, where products ordered are firstly picked into totes which then move on to the packing area to be prepared for despatch.

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An eight week trial showed that the voice system increased both accuracy, by the use of product check digits, and the productivity, which increased by 17 per cent.

The VoiteQ solution, built using Vocollect Voice technology, comprises a wearable Voice computer, Talkman T5, running Vocollect’s Voice Client Voice recognition software attached to a fastened belt and headset worn by the employee. VoiteQ will initially integrate their VoiceMan middleware to Mamas & Papas in-house warehouse management system.

The mezzanine where the clothing is stored, mostly as hanging garments, used a similar pick and pack operation. The voice implementation enabled Mamas & Papas to combine these processes, by directing the operative to pick the items required and place them directly into the carton or box for distribution, removing the requirement for the packing process. In addition to enabling the streamlining of the process, voice again provided a significant improvement in accuracy of the picking process, increasing the accuracy to 99.85 per cent.

Chris Greenwood, IT director at mamas & Papas said: “The implementation of VoiceMan middleware enabled us to test the benefits of voice technology during our peak Christmas period, but with minimal risk to the business. With middleware simply taking a feed from our existing systems, we did not require any alterations to be made to our core system but gained additional functionality. The ‘picksnake’ has proved to be a very useful tool, enabling us to easily manipulate the route that the operatives take around the warehouse to make the ‘tour’ more efficient.”

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