Enhance Your Frozen Foods Warehouse Operations with Voice

Posted by Speech Interface Design

Jun 28, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Frozen Foods and voice picking

The harsh environment of frozen foods’ warehouses presents workers with challenges when picking products. These challenges make voice-directed work’s “hands-free, eyes-free” value proposition of optimal accuracy and productivity even more compelling.   

First and foremost, however, is the fact that Vocollect Voice solutions reliably work in the coldest and noisiest freezers. Vocollect built-for-purpose mobile voice computers, batteries, and wireless headsets were all designed and engineered to provide full-shift performance in the coldest of freezers. Additionally, Vocollect’s speaker dependent recognition and industry-leading background noise cancellation assure reliable operation even directly under the loudest of fans.

Hands-Free Capability

One of the challenges of picking in a freezer, where it is sometimes 20°F below zero, is the reality that the picker is wearing thick gloves. This makes it more difficult for them to use paper and pencil or RF scanning devices. 

As one long-time Vocollect voice user explained:

“With our paper-based system, picking was an awkward and slow process. We had so many environmental challenges in a freezer operation, and the gloves people had to wear made it hard to perform simple tasks.”

With Voice-directed picking solutions, workers speak confirmations so that their hands are free to execute their picking tasks with optimal speed.   

Catching Errors in Catch Weights

To make matters even more challenging, frozen food items often have varied catch-weights that need to be recorded during the picking process for accurate customer billing purposes.  Voice-directed picking solutions make this process much faster, more accurate and more cost effective.

With voice, workers don’t have to stop to write down the catch weights which later need to be read and keyed into the host system by an administrator. The picker can simply read and speak the catch weight when prompted as the product is being picked. The catch weight is recorded by the voice system which automatically updates the host system. This process eliminates opportunities for errors and is much more efficient.

Voice picking solutions can be implemented with an “acceptable catch weight range” for each product should mistake when speaking a catch weight, the voice system will let them know that the spoken catch weight is “out of range” and that they should “try again.”       

Short Learning Curve

Beyond making your existing pickers optimally productive and accurate, voice picking solutions have an additional important benefit which helps with the inevitable employee turnover that occurs with freezer pickers: dramatically reduced training times for new employees. 

As an example, Perry's Ice Cream reduced the time it takes new employees to hit required efficiency targets from 90 days (long because they had also had to memorize product locations prior to implementing voice) to just 5 days. Other companies report learning curve times being reduced from days to just hours with voice.  

Lastly, know that Vocollect voice has been used for many years by almost every major grocer worldwide. Many of these early adopters used it first in their freezer, for the reasons describe above. (They then deployed it to all their picking areas after seeing the results in their freezer.)   

So, take the first step toward bringing all the benefits of a Vocollect Voice picking solution to your freezer distribution center operation. Contact Speech Interface Design to schedule our complementary on-site “Industrial Engineering-strength” Value & ROI analysis.

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Topics: voice picking, frozen warehouse operations