Rawlplug implements Voice Picking at central distribution centre in Wrocław

Rawlplug implements Voice Picking at central distribution centre in Wrocław

Rawlplug is proud to announce the implementation of Voice Picking at our central distribution centre in Wrocław, Poland. The system, installed in October 2014, improves order completion time and quality, and enhances worker safety and satisfaction.

What is Voice Picking?

Voice Picking refers to the use of voice interchanges between worker and the Warehouse Management System (WMS) to facilitate navigation through the warehouse environment and the process of picking items that form part of an order. Users are equipped with headsets and a small device (similar in size to modern-day media players). As users move around the warehouse, they receive verbal commands and direction. Users acknowledge tasks by using pre-defined voice commands and read product codes to confirm that the correct items are being selected.

Voice Picking is typically associated with Voice-directed Warehousing (VDW), an approach that encompasses both technology and process and is considered to be increasingly important to the operation and effectiveness of modern warehouses and distribution centres.

How does Voice Picking work at Rawlplug?

To begin, a total of 21 employees at Rawlplug’s central distribution centre have been selected to use the Voice Picking system. As part of the installation process, using VocalPoint technology, provided by Heavey RF, their voices were recorded and fed into a system so that they could be recognised and understood by the warehouse management system. As each task is processed, orders and navigational information is provided to the user. On arrival at the site of the desired product, users are required to confirm the accuracy of the order by providing details from the codes found on each product. Once an product or item has been successfully picked, the user is directed to the next item in the order.

What are the benefits of Voice Picking at Rawlplug?

The implementation of a Voice Picking system at Rawlplug’s central distribution centre will deliver benefits for Rawlplug customers and employees alike. Among these benefits are:

  • Superior order completion accuracy thanks to users being required to confirm the accuracy of specific product numbers and orders prior to picking and completing orders. Also, because users are less dependent on reading from paper orders or electronic devices, they are more able to focus on the task or details of each individual order.
  • Improved ergonomics in the workplace and worker productivity – users are able to move freely throughout the distribution centre without having to keep their eyes fixed to maps or order sheets. This results in a more satisfying experience. What’s more, freed from keypads, keyboards and paper-based processes, users are able to do more and operate in a way that is physically more natural and liberating than if lumbered with countless devices and documents.  
  • Enhanced worker safety thanks to users not being dependent on maps or order sheets for locating products and completing orders. This means users are able to observe and be aware of any potential hazards or threats to safety in the surrounding environment.
  • Reduced training time for new workers. Everybody knows how to listen and respond, so with fewer paper-based processes and electronic tools to master, new users can be onboarded quickly and safely.
  • Environmentally friendly, thanks to lower dependence on paper picking lists and orders. Fewer physical documents are required in the process, which, when considering the thousands of orders that are fulfilled each week, means that huge volumes of paper and printer ink are saved.

What’s next for voice technology at Rawlplug?

Dawid Urdzela, who led the project and is responsible for the quality of operations at Rawlplug’s central distribution centre in Wrocław has been delighted with the impact of the implementation and is excited about the opportunities this technology presents.

“Voice-directed Warehousing is a very hot topic for supply chain operations and it has huge potential for us to improve the efficiency of operations at Rawlplug. Already we can see the benefits this technology and the accompanying process transformation are having on the accuracy of our order completion and also user safety and satisfaction. We are already looking at how voice technology can be used in other warehouse operations at Rawlplug.”

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