29. May 2023

Voice assistants also belong in the warehouse

Voice assistants also belong in the warehouse

Do you use voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant? Do you find it faster and more convenient than manually entering text into a browser? Make it possible for your warehouse staff to do the same when picking goods or taking inventory. Give them the benefit of listening to commands through a handset and confirming them back with just their voice. Their hands will be free, their eyes will always be on the job, and productivity and safety will increase.

I’m sure you’ve heard in the past about voice picking and the fact that each user has to speak their own dictionary first, which took dozens of minutes. And yet, there were times when the system didn’t understand the storekeepers. Today, you don’t have to rehearse or coax anything.

Foreign language, speech impediments, accents and slang are not a problem

Thanks to the voice, each user can communicate with the system in the most natural way for them, by speaking in their native language. It is even possible to use multiple languages at the same time in one warehouse. Everyone can thus communicate in the language that suits them best.

You just need to know how to follow the steps, learn the 6 basic commands and the numbers from 0 to 9. The other commands are supplementary and are only used for additional information or to solve non-standard situations.

Voice picking

Faster picking without errors

In addition, multiple steps can be performed with the voice at the same time. For example, when you physically take a quantity and place it on a transport unit, you can already confirm the completion of the task with your voice and the system will report the next address. By the time you place the goods on the transport unit, you already know whether to move one address or multiple addresses, whether to move the handling unit or not. With paper or a terminal, these are sequential steps that cannot be done except in succession. Only with voice picking can you do the steps in parallel.

Voice picking can speed up a warehouse worker’s movements, but productivity is increased by eliminating unproductive activities such as reading from paper, manually recording quantity confirmations and putting away paper or a terminal when he or she needs both hands free.

One of the great advantages of voice picking is that the stocker is not holding anything in his hand. He doesn’t have to read or mark papers, he doesn’t have to constantly look at the terminal screen, and he doesn’t have to confirm individual tasks, even if he does it with a simple touch. Papers and mobile terminals can now be easily replaced by headsets. Warehouse workers can hear picking instructions from the handset and communicate back to the system directly via the microphone.


WHISPER: Warehousemen’s voice assistant

The first implementation of Sluno voice picking was carried out by at DLC Napajedla, a Coop Jednot distribution centre, back in 2006. In the Czech Republic alone, this voice picking is used by more than 1,200 users a day, for example in the Albert retail chain or by Vietnamese-speaking warehouse workers at Tamda Foods, the owners of the Sapa shopping and cultural centre in Prague. Smaller warehouses with units of users also use the system.

WHISPER is constantly being developed and tested by Sluno’s implementation director Tibor Szekeres: “Even if I set up Czech, Slovak or English, and speak to the system in my Hungarian accent, the system will understand me and can easily evaluate which command I have used”.

WHISPER voice picking is especially popular because it can understand anyone, in any language and even with a speech impediment. It also works very well in conjunction with the Information System of our partner K2.

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