Sainsbury’s, has put VoiteQ voice systems into three of its distribution centres – Maltby, Stone and Skelton. It is being used to replace paper pick lists with voice directed work, with the aim of making the process more efficient and accurate.
Previously, Sainsbury’s warehouse management system DISCO, produced paper pick lists at those depots detailing the items that the pickers needed to place into the cages for dispatch to its stores.
Nick Symmons, Sainsbury’s head of supply chain and convenience systems, said: “Despite only recently implementing voice we have already seen significant benefits – accuracy has improved by over one per cent to 99.99 per cent and productivity is anticipated to increase by the end of 2008. We have made a significant investment in this new system, but believe with this increase in efficiency we will quickly attain our return on investment.”
The implementation consists of more than 100 Talkman devices that are being used 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pick up to c400,000 cases. The Talkman is a wearable voice computer attached to a belt and headset and microphone worn by the picker which interacts with the user and the existing WMS, via VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware solution.
Instructions from VoiceMan are transmitted over a wireless network to the operative who follows the location and quantity instructions. The operative responds with the verification of the product and the quantity he’s picked, the device updates VoiceMan in real time, which in turn produces an output to update the host WMS with each pick result. The voice terminal recognises the pickers voice and can understand the key words used irrespective of his nationality or accent.
Symmons said: “Voice has had a dramatic effect on our picking operation and we are already assessing the business to see which other areas we could use voice, to reap additional benefits.”