Friday 19th Apr 2019 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Sainsbury’s invests in voice picking

Leading UK retailer, Sainsbury’s, has implemented voice technology from VoiteQ at three of its distribution centres – Maltby, Stone and Skelton. Their current warehouse management system (WMS), DISCO, produced paper pick lists at those depots detailing the items that the pickers needed to place into the cages for dispatch to its stores. The new voice system will be used to replace paper pick lists with voice directed work, making the process more efficient and accurate.
The implementation consists of over 100 ‘Talkman’ devices that are being used 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pick up to 400,000 cases. The Talkman is a wearable voice computer attached to a securely fastened belt and headset and microphone worn by the picker which interacts with the user and the existing WMS, via VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware solution. Instructions from VoiceMan are transmitted over a wireless network to the operative who follows the location and quantity instructions. The operative responds with the verification of the product and the quantity he’s picked, the device updates VoiceMan in real time, which in turn produces an output to update the host WMS with each pick result. The voice terminal recognises the pickers voice and can understand the key words used irrespective of his nationality or accent.
Nick Symmons, Sainsbury’s Head of Supply Chain and Convenience Systems, comments, ‘Despite only recently implementing voice we have already seen significant benefits – accuracy has improved by over one per cent to 99.99 per cent and productivity is anticipated to increase by the end of 2008. We have made a significant investment in this new system, but believe with this increase in efficiency we will quickly attain our return on investment.’

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