Talking picker boosts worker productivity

Belgium's leading meat wholesaler has invested in a system for order pickers that speaks to workers through headphones and has boosted productivity by 100%, according to FLSystems, which supplied the equipment.

Franky Vleeswaren paid E1.3m for the pick-to-voice system, a hands-free alternative to the traditional paper and clipboard.

The system comprises a lightweight headset, leaving the pickers free to use both hands to handle the bins and the products. The system issues orders via the headset to the picker, telling him or her which product to pick and its exact location. The picker simply responds to the order by speaking into the microphone telling the system that he or she has understood. The required number of products are then picked and placed in the bin. The picker then tells the system that the pick is complete and it issues the next order and the picking routine begins again.

The system simplifies the picking operation, enabling

the pickers to follow and

respond to spoken instructions instead of reading paper

picking lists.

Furthermore, the system aggregates multiples of each product enabling the pickers to pick the total number of each item at one time, whereas, with the defunct paper picking lists, they needed to work through the list order by order, often going to and from the same zones as they worked through the list.