A voice-controlled warehouse – this promises maximum operational flexibility and optimum capacity utilisation. Training times become shorter, error rates and operating costs are reduced, significant productivity increases are possible. In addition, staff turnover will also decrease, as order pickers and mobile workers generally like to work with ergonomic and simple technology. It is therefore not surprising that voice control is becoming increasingly popular in distribution centres.
But it's not that simple! Value added is preceded by an analysis of the current operating and work processes as well as the evaluation and planning of the introduction of a voice-controlled solution. This is where the Circlon | group comes in: as an authorised Honeywell partner, with the "Vocollect" system, it offers the leading voice solution in its portfolio. As a Vocollect Voice solution provider, Circlon | group is able to integrate the 'pick by voice' technology into a wide variety of environments, to implement adaptations according to individual customer requirements and to offer sustainable support for voice applications.
First analyse, then benefit
A Vocollect solution is particularly useful when mobile employees pick orders in distribution centres, for example. But at the beginning of every implementation it is necessary to check existing structures and processes for suitability and realisation ('value engagement process'). The Circlon | group team gains a detailed insight into the existing specific operational workflows. It is explored to what extent Vocollect can be integrated into the existing infrastructure and whether the combination with existing scanners, pick-to-light processes or automated systems is possible at all.
The discussions with the project managers are about finding out the objectives and priorities and correctly assessing the (positive) effects of Vocollect in the workflow. Factory inspections are carried out to analyse and document the current processes on site and to see how the employees perform their tasks. The Circlon | group team can then provide recommendations and decision-making aids for the implementation of voice technology. Only in this way can the vast potential of voice-controlled picking processes be fully exploited.
Order picking by voice input
With Vocollect, the order picker works with a wired or wireless headset, such as the Vocollect SRX2 Wireless Headset, which greatly enhances working comfort in distribution centres. The orders are sent from the warehouse management system (WMS) via WLAN to the order picker's mobile computer. The voice output via the headset states the rack from which the goods are to be picked. This makes printed picking lists a thing of the past.
Once the order picker has arrived at the rack, they quote the check digit displayed there so that the system can carry out a check. If the check digit is correct, the order picker receives information on how many units are to be picked from the rack. After picking, they confirm the process by voice entry.
The mobile computer for the headsets is the Vocollect Talkman series A700. The Talkman A710 is purely wireless, the A720 supports both wireless and wired headsets. The Talkman A730 also features an integrated close-range scanner, optimising workflows that occasionally require scanning. The ergonomic device can simply remain attached to the user's belt when scanning barcode labels on containers or boxes.
Fewer errors, higher picking performance
In the world of logistics, optimisations are measured in seconds, which is why the aim here is to avoid or reduce delays in processes as far as possible. In many cases, speech recognition via headset can save time, improve comfort and ergonomics, and increase productivity.
With Vocollect, employees have their hands and eyes free when picking. This not only improves ergonomics, but also reduces the risk of accidents, as order pickers can focus their attention fully on what is happening around them, for example on moving forklifts, and are no longer looking solely at their screens.
Heiko Krause, Marketing Manager for Vocollect Solutions at Honeywell, confirms these advantages and adds: "Error rates can also fall by 25 to 50 %, depending on the application. Users confirm that error rates of 0.3 to 0 % can be achieved. Vocollect is therefore also suitable for critical applications in medical technology and the pharmaceutical industry, where errors are not tolerable in most cases."
Everything from a single source – including WLAN expertise
Vocollect has been available on the market for 30 years, making it a very highly developed solution. It is constantly being further developed by Honeywell. SoundSense technology delivers excellent speech recognition and the Advanced Speech Recognition Protocol ensures that no voice data is lost. The system becomes more accurate over time as it adapts to users' speaking habits, even different dialects, thanks to Adaptive Speech Recognition.
Since Vocollect transmits the data via radio to the ERP/WMS system, a stable WLAN infrastructure is required. The Circlon | group can also help here, as it has acquired a wealth of experience in many WLAN projects over the years.
To ensure the fast and smooth implementation of the Vocollect solution, it is advisable to get a competent and experienced partner on board, as the solution provider plays a particularly important role throughout the entire project – from the preliminary discussion through to sustainable support. The software specialists of the Circlon | group also draw on many years of experience and can therefore provide advice and support for all requirements.
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