(April 6, 2 p.m.) Robocom Systems International is offering a voice-based warehouse picking system it says can add productivity, accuracy and traceability to a company’s warehouse and distribution operation.

The R-Voice 2.0 picking module is designed to work in concert with Robocom’s existing labor management solution, R-Labor 9.0, and allows warehouse pickers and packers to more easily fill orders.

“Voice capability works extremely well in a picking environment,” said Fred Radcliffe, Robocom’s president.

Radcliffe said that under a paper-based system, an order list is printed out, a picker takes the list, goes to the location of the first item, picks the numbers of cases, and so on. When he is finished, he comes out with the order.

With R-Voice, a terminal is attached to a picker’s belt pack, tying a wireless system to the company’s software. A voice system talks to the picker, telling him the location and number of items. The picker can talk back, reading off item numbers and confirming that the order is correct.

Radcliffe said they installed the system at an ice cream warehouse for Nestle, and productivity immediately increased.

“Because it’s hands free, you get a productivity gain,” Radcliffe said. “It’s also much more accurate. When you read over a digit, you’re already bending over picking cases even before knowing the quantity.

The system allows for edits to re-route to make up inventory of an item if another is out of stock, he said.

Radcliffe said training time on voice picking is shorter than traditional methods, and the computer system lends itself to accurate traceability.

Robocom’s labor management system tracks how long it should take for each order to be picked, making for even greater productivity, because labor is held accountable.

The company is based in Farmingdale, N.Y., and has an office in Markham, Ontario, Canada.