RF Scanning - Voice Picking
RF Scanning — Voice
RF Scanning Systems Compared with Voice Solutions
Voice solutions have an inherent advantage over pick to light (PTL) and RF scanning system technologies. Voice is a completely natural way to interact with a device, which results in fewer errors communicating with the device. Operators can key in the wrong numbers – but they don’t speak wrong information. Video analysis shows that operators using pick to voice interact while they are working, whereas other systems such as RF scanning, require the operator to stop working and interact with the device. Forklift operators can be moving while they are interacting with the voice directed device, something which is strongly discouraged when using an RF scanning system, and impossible with a pick to light system.
Voice is inherently faster than RF scanning: speaking a check digit to confirm a location is faster than scanning a bar code. Further, voice improves pick accuracy because every time an operator looks away from a pick location to view an RF scanner or any other screen, they can pick the wrong item. Voice solutions support all warehouse operations, and RF scanning systems can be incorporated if required, for tasks such as scanning of long value strings like serial number collection.
Pick to light systems are very fast, but to achieve efficiency they require densely-packed pick faces with one picker per work zone. Adding locations with PTL requires additional hardware, unlike voice solutions and RF scanning systems which are mobile. Pick to light systems have no means to handle exceptions, so manual intervention is necessary and they have no means to verify that the correct product is in the slot.
RF scanning systems often add verification steps to a process which may actually slow it down compared to paper-based systems, trading speed for accuracy. Since pick to voice systems are faster and more accurate than RF, most operations in a warehouse will see productivity and accuracy boosts over RF scanning. Voice systems combine the productivity of pick to light and the accuracy of RF scanning solutions.
Cost of Voice Picking vs. RF Scanning Systems
Cost of ownership is much lower with voice directed workflow systems, since there are fewer components to break. Because voice technologies do not require a screen they are more rugged than RF scanning systems. Battery life is also longer with voice solutions since they do not require a screen or backlight, allowing operators to easily work a full shift without a battery change, even when the voice system incorporates tasks that require RF scanning steps.