Voice-directed picking

Jointly developed by Hardis Group and Voiteq, the Reflex Voice solution enables the entire order-picking process to be controlled by voice. The pick-by-voice system is fully integrated and configurable in the Reflex WMS warehouse management system. With this solution, Hardis Group and Voiteq are responding to the growing use of voice-recognition and speech-synthesis technology in warehouse environments.

By Marysa Vos

Hardis Group, a consulting firm, digital services company and independent software vendor, signed a deal with Voiteq, a specialist in voice-directed logistics solutions, back in 2016, and their collaborative partnership has since resulted in Reflex Voice. Hardis Group is committed to accelerating the transformation of its clients’ value chains, information systems and supply chain, and Reflex Voice supports that mission. The solution creates various improvements in warehouse environments, and can also be customized to meet the specific requirements of each company. “The voice technology is very accurate, increases operator productivity by reducing the amount of time spent on each pick, and also offers improved ergonomics by leaving employees’ hands and eyes free,” says Reflex Voice expert Aude Santangelo. The integration of Reflex Voice into Reflex WMS results in a more efficient order-picking process.

Integrated voice-directed picking system

Although voice-recognition solutions are not new for Reflex, this is its first voice picking system to be fully integrated into the Reflex WMS warehouse management system. Furthermore this voice picking system, which has been developed in-house, covers all picking procedures as standard. Hardis Group is selling licences for the use of Reflex Voice. In addition to being fully integrated in the WMS, the solution is also compatible with the latest generation of Bluetooth headsets (NFC pairing) and the Android terminals from all major manufacturers. “Because Reflex Voice is based on Android’s personal digital assistants (PDAs), it provides a real-time view of the dialogue between the system and the operator. That is helpful for new users,” continues Santangelo. By jointly developing Reflex Voice, Hardis and Voiteq have created a completely multi-modal solution, including on-device voice recognition and synthesis, touch keypad support and a scan function. Reflex Voice is currently available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Polish, and more language versions will be added in the foreseeable future.

Innovation matrix

Tools and technologies are positioned on the innovation matrix to provide insight into the extent to which they make use of the available technological possibilities while also indicating their supply chain-related impact. The lower a tool or technology scores in terms of innovation, the more likely it is that companies will adopt it and integrate it into their business. The same holds true in reverse: the development of a high-scoring technologically innovative product or service which might have a disruptive impact on the supply chain creates uncertainty. After all, highly innovative tools and technologies often still have to prove their worth in practice. A technology such as blockchain is a good example of this.

Reflex Voice on the matrix

Although it makes use of technological possibilities, Reflex Voice does not score highly in terms of technological innovation, not least because voice-recognition technology has been used for several years in order picking. Nevertheless, the solution by Hardis Group and Voiteq adds real value in the warehouse because it improves accuracy and productivity. Employees benefit from better ergonomics resulting from the integration of voice-directed technology in the order picking process. Although Reflex Voice has a positive impact on employees, however, it has little to no effect on the overall lead time for orders. Therefore, Reflex Voice is positioned in the centre of the matrix.