Following the success of its voice-directed order picking solution at Littlehampton Book Services (LBS) last year a second company within the Hachette Group (HLUK), Bookpoint, is to install voice technology from VoiteQ, which incorporates a voice-directed work solution from Vocollect. The decision to extend the use of voice picking within the HLUK group follows LBS’ success at achieving a 95% reduction in errors and realising ROI in less than six months.
The first phase of the implementation focuses on one specific contract with an educational book publisher, a very complex pick of books stored in ‘library style’ (books on shelves on their ends), picked by shelf and then by individual book.
The second phase will involve the implementation across the entire Bookpoint business, including the remainder of stock in the library format. Similar to the LBS implementation, Bookpoint will utilise VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware and Vocollect wearable computers.
This solution will replace Bookpoint’s existing paper-based picking with description based picking on conveyors. The operator is directed to the appropriate book and confirms their selection by stating the last digits of the book’s ISBN code. Once the selection is verified the system states the quantity of the specific book that is required.
Graham Money, General Manager, Bookpoint said, "With this implementation we were confident of the benefits that voice could provide, due to the similarities in the solution required for both Littlehampton Book Services and Bookpoint. The increase in accuracy was again key to the success of this project, and we are confident we will repeat the success achieved in Littlehampton Book Services where we have managed to increase our pick rate on this very complex library style pick to 80 lines per man hour, purely due to the productivity gain that voice has produced."
Voice consistently delivers on its promises. Not only does it increase the efficiency and accuracy of product picking in pressurised warehouse environments, its benefits multiply along the supply chain. With retail competition high, and product and distribution costs even higher, it is imperative that there is no error or delay in getting products to the consumer.
VoiteQ’s VoiceMan middleware interfaces between the Vocollect Talkman T5 wearable computer and Bookpoint’s existing VISTA system. Operatives can work completely hands and eyes free. They receive picking commands from the WMS (Warehouse Management System) to a plug-in headset and the computer. The system then talks the operative through their task. The voice-directed application not only typically delivers accuracy levels exceeding 99.9%, but also increases visibility across the operation.
Money concluded, "The partnership approach that VoiteQ took at Littlehampton worked really well for us, and I’m pleased to be able to work with the team again at Bookpoint. The knowledge and experience of the team ensures the implementation runs smoothly."