Shipping and logistics for ecommerce brands & 3PLs

Voice Picking: What It Is and How It Works [Complete Guide]

a warehouse employee that's voice picking

Imagine if you could work at a warehouse where every shelf talks and guides pickers through the aisles with precision, speed, and more.

That’s what voice picking is all about.

It’s a game-changer in warehouse operations that turns your warehouse into a combination of both technology and human efficiency.

As we explore in this article, you’ll get to know more of what voice picking is, how it works, and whether or not you should apply this method.

What is Voice Picking?

Voice picking is a technology used in warehouses and distribution centers to optimize the process of picking items for orders.

It employs voice commands to direct workers to specific locations and instructs them on what items to pick, all without the need for paper lists or handheld devices.

This hands-free, eyes-free approach allows workers to concentrate on the task at hand, enhancing efficiency and accuracy.

How Does Voice Picking Work?

a warehouse worker that's doing voice picking and is doing his work

Let’s go through this process in more depth to understand how this method works:

Integration with Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

Voice picking systems are integrated with a warehouse’s management software, which translates orders into voice commands.

Receiving Instructions

Workers equipped with headsets receive these voice commands, guiding them to the correct warehouse locations.

Picking and Confirmation

Workers pick the items as instructed and verbally confirm their actions through the headset, allowing the system to update in real-time.

Verification and Completion

The system verifies the picked items against the order, instructs on any corrections if needed, and guides the worker to the next task.

Why Use Voice Picking?

Here are the key advantages of applying voice picking in your warehouse:

Increased Productivity

Workers move more efficiently through tasks without the need to handle paper or devices.

Enhanced Accuracy

Verbal confirmations and system verifications reduce the likelihood of errors.

Reduced Training Time

The intuitive nature of voice commands shortens the learning curve for new employees.

Improved Safety

Hands-free and eyes-free operation means workers are less likely to have accidents.

Higher Worker Satisfaction

The ease of use and efficiency can lead to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover.

How Do You Apply Voice Picking Into Your Warehouse?

a voice picker doing his usual work

Evaluate Warehouse Needs

Determine if voice picking suits your operation’s size, variety of items, and order volume.

Choose the Right System

Select a voice picking system that integrates well with your existing WMS or ERP system.

Implement the System

Install the necessary hardware, such as headsets and mobile devices, and integrate the software with your WMS.

Train Your Workforce

Conduct training sessions to familiarize your staff with the voice commands and the workflow.

Go Live and Optimize

Start using the system in live operations, monitor its performance, and make adjustments as needed to maximize efficiency and accuracy.

Should You Use Voice Picking in Your Warehouse?

Deciding whether to implement voice picking in your warehouse operations involves evaluating various factors that could impact its effectiveness and efficiency.

Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision.

Consider Using It If:

High Volume of Orders

Your warehouse processes a large number of orders. Voice picking can significantly streamline the picking process, reducing the time it takes to fulfill each order.

Complex Warehouse Layout

Navigating the warehouse takes up a considerable amount of your pickers’ time. Voice picking can provide direct, efficient routing, saving time.

High Error Rates

Your current picking process is prone to errors. Voice picking can improve accuracy through verbal confirmations and immediate system updates.

Seasonal Fluctuations

You experience peaks in demand that require quickly scaling your workforce. Voice picking systems are relatively easy to learn, reducing training time for new or temporary staff.

Workplace Safety Concerns

You aim to reduce workplace incidents. By keeping workers’ hands and eyes free, voice picking minimizes the risk of accidents.

Don’t Consider Using It If:

Limited Budget

The initial setup for voice picking, including equipment and integration with your WMS, can be costly. If budget constraints are tight, it may not be the right time.

Low Volume of Orders

If your operation doesn’t handle a high volume of orders, the efficiency gains from voice picking may not justify the investment.

Simple Operations

Warehouses with straightforward layouts and minimal picking complexity might not see significant benefits from switching to voice technology.

Stable Workforce

If your workforce is stable and trained, with low turnover, the urgency for easy-to-learn systems like voice picking diminishes.

Noise Concerns

Extremely noisy environments can interfere with the effectiveness of voice recognition technology, leading to frustration and errors.

FAQs

What are the disadvantages of voice picking?

The main disadvantages include the initial setup cost, potential challenges in noisy environments, the need for integration with existing warehouse management systems, and the requirement for worker training. Additionally, voice picking might not be as effective in operations with low order volumes or simple, straightforward processes.

How accurate is voice picking?

Voice picking significantly improves accuracy, often achieving rates of 99.99% with proper implementation and usage. The technology minimizes human error by providing clear, direct instructions and requiring verbal confirmations for each action.

Who needs voice picking in their warehouse?

Warehouses that handle a high volume of orders, have complex layouts, experience high error rates in picking, or see seasonal fluctuations in demand can benefit greatly from voice picking. It’s also beneficial for operations looking to improve safety and reduce training time for new or temporary staff.

What are the common applications of voice picking?

Voice picking is commonly used for order fulfillment, inventory management, and receiving and put-away processes. It’s especially useful in environments requiring hands-free operation, like cold storage warehouses, or where workers need to wear protective gear that hinders the use of handheld devices.

How much does a voice pick packer earn?

As reported by Ziprecruiter on March 22, 2024, the typical hourly wage for a Voice Picker in the United States is $16.93.

But please do keep in mind that the earnings of a voice pick packer can vary based on geographic location, experience, and the specific industry.

For precise salary information, it’s recommended to consult current job listings or salary surveys in your area.

Conclusion

If you’re considering using voice picking for your warehouse, then Packiyo could help you elevate your operations to new heights.

Voice picking can significantly reduce errors and speed up order fulfillment, and when paired with our mobile smart pick feature, your team could find the perfect rhythm, ensuring orders are picked accurately and efficiently.

Plus, Packiyo’s emphasis on “Co-pilot automation” means repetitive tasks are handled smoothly, leaving you to manage the big picture.

Feel free to contact us if you’re curious about how you can integrate your voice picking efforts using Packiyo.

Also, check out our blog for related content that talks about 3PL, eCommerce, and more.

So to conclude, choosing to implement voice picking in your warehouse is a strategic decision that should align with your operational needs, budget, and long-term goals.

We hope we’ve helped you understand what this topic is all about, and we’re looking forward to seeing you in our next article.

Take care!

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