The Benefits of Voice Picking and Best Practices for Deployment

Tim Ingles
Wed, Dec 4, 2013

It's hard for distribution center managers to ignore the power of voice technology inside the warehouse. Voice picking systems are becoming mainstream technology because of their ability to improve safety, efficiency and reduce costs associated with order picking. While far easier than many may expect, there are still some things to keep in mind when preparing to deploy a voice system.

The white paper by Supply Chain Digest, "The 10 Keys to Voice Technology Deployment Success in Distribution Centers," offers some helpful insight for preparing to integrate speech recognition software.

  • Learn more about voice technology: This is true from the top down. Make sure that more than one person in the warehouse understands voice technology and its advantages. Everyone in the supply chain, even floor employees, should have a grasp on its benefits.
  • Build it into your strategy: Figure out what the expected return on investment for voice picking technology will be. Is it strictly financial? Do you wish to increase safety? Or is your goal to reduce select-to-ship times?
  • Decide how quickly to deploy: Depending on existing systems and the provider of speech recognition software, deployment can occur quickly. Determine whether an accelerated or standard model is best for your company.

There Are Many Reasons To Consider Implementing Voice Technology

If you want to get down to the brass tacks of voice technology advantages, RFgen's white paper, "Using Voice-Directed Work in the Supply Chain: What It Executives Need to Know," spells it out.

  • Increased productivity: When using labels and hand-held scanning devices, an employee's attention is diverted from the task at hand and in return, productivity suffers. Hands-free technology allows workers to multitask like never before.
  • Improved accuracy: Check-digits used with voice technology require workers to confirm they are at the correct product location, so accuracy is guaranteed to be nearly 100 percent.
  • Improved safety: Employees using voice technology can keep their heads up. Order picker operators will not be tempted to scan and drive, decreasing the chance of an accident. Workers on foot will also be more aware of their surroundings.
  • Lower turnover: Because voice tech allows higher output with less effort, employees are happier. This reduces turnover and the costs associated with training new hires.

When the advantages have been analyzed and a deployment schedule has been set, supply chain managers can feel confident that their warehouse is moving in a positive direction. Speech recognition software is one of the best ways to keep pace with the increased demand and the additional pressure placed on distributions centers.

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