WHSmith increases voice-based picking by 50% at distribution centre


WHSmith increases voice-based picking by 50% at distribution centre

Antony Savvas

WHSmith has increased the use of voice-based picking technology at a major distribution centre by 50%.

WHSmith first implemented VoiteQ's VoiceMan middleware and Vocollect Voice systems at the Holford distribution centre in March 2004.

The voice system interfaces into WHSmith's existing warehouse management systems (WMS) and operates Vocollect's belt-mounted, wearable computer.

Operatives can work completely hands- and eyes-free by receiving picking commands from the WMS to the computer and a plug-in headset.

The system talks the operative through their task. The voice-directed application typically delivers accuracy levels exceeding 99.9%, and greatly increases productivity.

Jim McCafferty, site manager for WHSmith's said, "We have witnessed significant improvements to picking accuracy and productivity by using voice technology.

"As the workload at Holford increased we knew the best solution to help us to cope was to expand our use of voice within the warehouse."

The number of voice-based picking units at Holford has now been increased by 50% to 75.

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