Fulfillment Technologies

5 Benefits of Switching to Voice-Directed Technology

Blog
December, 2019

Distribution center (DCs) operators are dealing with unprecedented challenges on all fronts. Customer expectations for faster delivery and greater accuracy are constantly raising the bar on performance standards. Tight labor markets, irregular seasonality and high turnover are putting the squeeze on productivity and profitability. And global supply chains and increasingly diverse workforces make it imperative that companies can seamlessly communicate across sites and languages.

In our most recent On The Move webinar, Empower Your Mobile Workforce With Voice Technology, I discussed how DC operators can use voice-directed technology to overcome these challenges by significant margins.

Voice-directed technology is not a new, untested solution. In fact, for nearly 30 years, voice has enabled hands-free, eyes-free automation in a wide variety of distribution, fulfillment and industrial applications. When strategically deployed in DC operations, voice-directed technology can unlock higher levels of efficiency and job satisfaction within mobile workforces. Based on our 25 years of experience with integrating voice-directed technology into DCs around the globe, we have demonstrated the following benefits for operators:

  1. Improved accuracy by up to 99.97%. Built-in process checks and confirmations, combined with hands-free technology, enable employees to better focus on the task at hand, resulting in fewer errors.
  2. Increased productivity by up to 35%. Voice-directed technology guides employees through each task as they are moving, thus making every minute count. And because the system eliminates the need to shuffle papers or read small scanner text, employees stay focused and progress more quickly through their tasks.
  3. Cut turnover by up to 30%. Compared to other mobile fulfillment technologies, voice-directed workflows enjoy a higher acceptance rate among the workforce — and for good reason. Liberated from clumsy paper orders and hand-held scanners, employees have more freedom to move naturally and are empowered to meet their daily targets.
  4. Decreased training time by up to 50%. New employees can be trained in about half the time as other methods. Not only does this improve employee confidence and proficiency, it enables management to deploy operators on the floor faster and easier.
  5. Reduced safety incidents by up to 20%. With their hands and eyes free, employees enjoy greater situational awareness and have better control over their environment.

Making the most of your investment

Before deploying any new order-picking automation technology, operators need to first build a solid business case that will support their operational targets. This should include a thorough review of existing processes to uncover pain points and identify improvements. Deploying a new technology without first optimizing workflows will deliver limited results. 

Operators also need to choose a solution that provides a premier worker experience. With a simple wearable voice terminal and headset, voice-directed technology provides an ergonomically superior alternative to other methods. Just as important, operators need to choose a rugged solution that can withstand daily wear and tear.

In addition, companies need to decide what kind of information they want from their system. With a voice-directed system, body-worn devices can collect a host of data that operators can use to further drive performance improvements.

Finally, when it comes to picking solutions, operators shouldn’t be forced to make an either/or decision. Rather, they should have the ability to combine technologies to produce optimal results for their operations. In this case, voice-directed technology may be one of several solutions employed in a DC, provided that all platforms can be seamlessly integrated within a single workflow.

Honeywell Voice provides a complete, scalable ecosystem for voice-directed workflows that supports 43 languages and is employed by nearly 1 million users worldwide. To learn more about how Honeywell Voice has helped major companies solve their distribution challenges — and how it can enable your workers to be significantly more productive — watch the Empower Your Mobile Workforce With Voice Technology webinar in its entirety.
 

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