Voice Picking - A Walkthrough

Navigator WMS includes Vocollect Voice support for a range of transactions including order picking, replenishment, and put away. When your warehouse runs voice transactions, your workers are directed from task to task by an easy-to-follow, personalised, voice dialog. Vocollect Voice provides an instruction to the picker, then waits (silently) for the picker to confirm they have completed the task as instructed.

Take the voice walk-through below to see how voice is the most efficient tool for your warehouse.

Signing On

When your picker start a shift on voice, they connect their headset to an available Vocollect A500/A700 voice computer, which is clipped to a belt. The picker's voice profile is automatically loaded, allowing the voice system to understand their unique speech pattern.

Example voice dialog:

Talkman: To sign on as user John, say ready.
Picker: ready
Talkman: Password?
Picker: 9182

Once your picker has signed in, the voice system can assign jobs to the worker, and provide detailed timings on every user action.

Requesting a Pickslip

When the user is ready to start work, the system assigns the next pick slip. You can manually assign pick slips via Navigator's interface, or allow the voice system to select the next highest priority job.

Example voice dialog:

Talkman: To get next pickslip, say ready.
Picker: ready
Talkman: Pick slip number is 91823, a total of 25 items.
Picker: ready

Finding the next item

The voice system directs the picker to the next item to be picked by speaking the precise bin location for the product to be picked next. Typically your warehouse will be broken up into:
  • aisles (a row of pallet racking)
  • bays (a racking span wide)
  • level (from the ground), and
  • position (left to right on a shelf)
As part of a voice implementation, Navigator provides tools to re-label your warehouse.

Example voice dialog:

Talkman: Aisle 23.
Picker: ready
Talkman: Bay 10
Picker: ready
Talkman: Level 1
Picker: ready
Talkman: Position 8

As users become more familiar with the system, the level of confirmation can be reduced by switching to 'Expert' mode.

Confirming the Product

Once the user has been told the product's location, the system asks the user to speak a check digit. A check digit is a number which the user can read back to the voice computer to confirm that they have performed the correct action. Check digits are usually:
  • The last three digits of the product's barcode,
  • The last three digits of the carton's barcode, or
  • A check digit assigned to the bin location, for environments where products are not barcoded.
When the user is asked for the check digit, there is only one correct answer. The user must read and speak the correct check digit in order to be told how many items can be picked.

Talkman: Check digit?
Picker: 294
Talkman: Pick 2.

If the user were to pick up the wrong product and speak the check digit, the voice system will prevent the pick error from taking place.

Talkman: Check digit?
Picker: 192
Talkman: Check digit 192 is incorrect. Check digit?

Confirming the Quantity

The voice system reads out the quantity to be picked. This means your picker does not need to take their eyes off the product they have just confirmed as correct. The picker speaks back the available quantity, allowing the voice system to ensure they have not over-picked or under-picked the item.

Talkman: Pick 2
Picker: 2, ready

The voice system sends the pick confirmation back to Navigator to provide real-time feedback to the warehouse manager. The picker does not need to stop to write down the quantity, or type the quantity into a handheld scanner and can start walking immediately.

Proceeding to the next item

The system immediately reads out important details about the next pick location. This means the system does not re-tell the picker the aisle or bay if the product is close to the last item picked. Example voice dialog:
Talkman: Level 2
Picker: ready
Talkman: Position 8


Voice systems are highly efficient because the picker does not need to stop and write down or key-in a quantity. They do not need to pick up a computer and scan the barcode then holster it again before they can move the carton. The average improvement in performance when moving from paper picking to voice picking is around 25%.


Voice systems are highly accurate because the picker does not take their eyes off the product once they have confirmed the product check digit. In a paper system, double checkers are required to ensure accuracy. In a voice system, double checking is not necessary because accuracy rates (on average) exceed 99.95%.