Sainsbury's claims that accuracy of its stock picking has improved to 99.99%, after ditching paper picking lists for voice technology.

The chain, which has in the past struggled with its supply chain and four years ago had to write off £120m against equipment introduced too rapidly, has introduced voice technology supplied by VoiteQ to three of its distribution centres: Maltby, Stone and Skelton.

Following the introduction of more than 100 Talkman units - voice headsets that interact with the picker and the warehouse management system - Sainsbury's had already increased accuracy and now hoped to increase productivity, said head of supply chain and convenience systems Nick Symmons.

The devices were being used 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pick more than 400,000 cases a week.