There are many areas of the warehouse that can work more efficiently, safely, and accurately with voice technology. Overall, any process that would benefit from increased productivity, accuracy, safety and/or reduced training time while being hands free and eyes free is a candidate for voice technology. Vitech has solutions for recieving, put-away, replenishment, picking, put-to-store, auditing, loading, pallet building and cycle counting.
Yes, Vitech has successfully implemented voice at a number of sites with very loud environments; including operators at the end of a production line beside pallet-lifters and operators standing directly underneath freezer fans. Vocollect’s SR series headsets use a double microphone to cancel background noise and can use cupped earpieces specifically designed to allow operators to hear in noisy environments.
Voice technology increases productivity by making workers more focused and efficient. With voice technology the work flow is never interrupted to put down the RF device, or look to the screen or paper instructions. The user stays in a continuous state of movement because they immediately hear the next task as they are completing the one at hand.
Voice technology increases accuracy through the use of check digits ensuring that eye contact is never broken with the task at hand. Check digits are numbers placed at each location or part of a product identifier that the user would not be able to guess without physically being at that location or handling that product. The system will not let them finish the pick or task without stating the correct check digit. Also, voice technology is not dependent on a device display or paper list that can be misread. This frees the user’s eyes to stay focused on the steps of their process.
With “Speaker Dependent” solutions, each user trains the system to recognize their individual language, dialect and speech patterns. This allows the “Speaker Dependent” solution to filter out environment noise increasing accurate and robust responses from the user’s voice. With “Speaker Independent” solutions the user does not train the system to recognize their individual language, dialect or speech patterns, but instead tries to match the user’s voice to generic, previously created voice patterns. This causes “Speaker Independent” solutions to have increased misreads of the users voice and a lesser ability to filter out environmental noise. It also performs poorly for users with accents and different languages. Vocollect is a speaker dependent solution.
Pre-recorded Speech involves a human recording the voice prompts ahead of time and those prompts are played back to the user during the process. Text to Speech involves the computer taking a text string and translating it into spoken instructions. Although pre-recorded speech can sound more human, it does not allow a user to speed up or slow down the device and instructions and introduces significant overhead if you want to add additional prompts or speak descriptions and comments while maintaining a consistent user experience. Vocollect utilizes text to speech.
Unless the operator is 100% hearing impaired, they can most likely use Vocollect Voice successfully. The Vocollect Text To Speech engine allows users to choose their preferred voice, pitch, and volume to dial it into a frequency and volume that almost any operator is comfortable with. Vocollect also has a number of different headset styles, including a cupped style of headset which eliminates background noise.
Voice technology removes the need for the user to have read device screens or paper lists while performing their process tasks or traveling. Freeing the user’s eyes and hands enables the user to concentrate on their surroundings while performing their process or traveling, thus increasing safety.
Results vary based on the processes you voice enable and the current technology you are replacing (paper, scanning, lights, etc.). However, Vitech’s customers that implement voice technology achieve quantified results in increased accuracy greater than 99.9%, 15-50% increases in prodictivity, and increased safety leading to an ROI of 6 to 24 months.
A “purpose built” voice device, like Vocollect Talkman series, is intended to be used by a full time voice user. The screen and keyboard are not present to eliminate distractions and improve the robustness of the device. A “multimodal device”, like the Teklogix WorkAbout Pro, is a mobile device with a screen, keyboard and scanner that has also been certified as Vocollect Voice compatible. Such a device is a common solution for users who are only part time voice users or in environments where the customer requires to have a single device in the warehouse.
The return time frame for a voice project varies based on number of operators and the process that is being replaced, but most customers see an ROI of 14 months or less. Vitech can work with you to calculate an accurate ROI as part of your discovery process. Our ROI models use a combination of engineered standards, process observation, and the experience of successfully implementing voice at hundreds of DC’s.
What are the differences between speech based picking solutions, pick by voice solutions, speech based logistics, voice directed warehousing, and voice solutions?
There is no difference, these are all phrases that refer to distribution solutions that are using voice technology to increase productivity, accuracy and safety.
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