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WHSmith is a British retailer operating a chain of shops selling books, stationery, magazines, newspapers, entertainment products, and confectionery.

Location: UK

Industry: Retail & E-Commerce


Because WHSmith’s stores typically have very little space for spare stock, their deliveries need to be very accurate and on a JIT basis. WHSmith’s goals included:

  • Replacing paper picklists
  • Preventing mispicks
  • Offering a hands and eyes free solution to improve safety

Solutions Implemented:

WHSmith’s warehouse in Holford, Birmingham installed voice directed picking via:

  • VoiceMan system
  • TalkMan voice terminals


With VoiceMan, the users themselves control the speed of the flow of instructions from their systems. During the first month of operation at WHSmith, estimated daily pick levels rose per person from 561 to 701. Additional benefits include:

  • Accuracy is up to around 99.9% with voice picking.
  • The retailer has been able to completely dispense with quality control staff within the Holford warehouses.
  • Improved pick accuracy means that far less resources are spent on tracking down and verifying system and delivery errors.
  • Productivity levels have gone up.

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