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Now is the Time to Replace RF with Voice Picking Technology

Will Tritle | 23 May 2017

Warehouse picking technologies have developed immensely over the past 15 years.  Offerings range from paper pick lists and light directed picking, all the way to goods-to-man technologies.  Depending on throughput, budgets, and space requirements, each of these have their place in the warehouse logistics world. 

When looking at a simplified batch picking solution, the RF industry rules.  It is robust, cross-functional with multiple applications (cycle count, put away, etc.), and a staple for most distribution centers this day and age. But shouldn’t a warehouse picker be focused on one goal and one goal only: Picking?  Getting orders out the door keeps the lights on, and warehouse pickers are essential to hitting daily throughput. Here are three reasons to drop the RF gun and put on the pick to voice (PTV) headset to improve your operations:

1. Hands Free Picking

Pick to voice allows operators full use of both hands for picking.  Whether it be full case picks or simply picking eaches into a carton, the use of two hands without a 2 lb. brick (RF gun) in your hand will improve throughput and overall operator morale.  RF accessories such as forearm mounts and finger scanners are offered, but these can still be an obstruction for the operator.  Additionally, the latest pick to voice units are now equipped with hip scanners to ensure accuracy and validation for each pick.

2. Focus Driven

Voice picking also offers a focused and distraction free solution for warehouse operators. The step-by-step audible instructions ensure the operator is alert and pushing themselves to hit operational goals.  Vocollect’s Talkman A730 offers noise-cancelling technology to tune out warehouse distractions and ensures the voice instructions are heard loud and clear.  Additionally, PTV technology eliminates the risk of operators wasting time with the unnecessary back and forth of RF scanners.  The results of last night’s Bachelorette can wait ‘til break time.  This focus driven technology eliminates distractions to improve throughput and ensure nearly 100% accuracy rates.

3. Throughput

RF batch picking rates are widely debated across the warehousing industry. Depending on zone setup, batch size, and product profile, these rates can range from 60-150 lines per hour.  With the advantages listed above, these rates can be improved up to 50%.  That’s right; pick to voice applications in certain fields have shown up to 225 lines per hour.  When comparing technologies like pick to light, RF scanners, and voice, the ROI speaks for itself. In conclusion, the market is evolving and becoming saturated with advanced automation.  It is now time to make the most of your human labor. Voice picking offers a low-cost, easy to implement, and highly effective solution to growing distribution and warehousing demands.

Author: Will Tritle

Will is a New Business Development Consultant at Bastian Solutions. He earned his bachelor’s and Master of Industrial Engineering at the University of Louisville.  Will has over eight years of experience designing state of the art Warehouse Execution Systems for his customers. Most notably, Will has a background in ecommerce and retail distribution projects.


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