Distribution centers have used voice-directed work systems since the late ’90s. In the past 25 years there have been a number of enhancements to the technology; however, most companies have yet to embrace voice to optimize their operations. While the benefits of implementing voice are clear to those who have used the technology, they may be not so obvious to those that have never experienced voice-directed picking first-hand. Making a solid business case to upper management for such a significant and impactful change can be challenging without the help of a highly consultative voice solution provider.
Value & ROI Analysis
Being able to project the value and ROI of a voice-directed solution is fundamental to presenting a business case to upper management. The most compelling business cases are backed by data-driven facts specific to your operation.
Well qualified voice providers should be able to produce a Value & ROI Analysis executed by an industrial engineer serving as an extended member of your team. A detailed deliverable should identify where and how voice will improve your operation. The annual value of the cost savings associated with each should be quantified as well as the ROI of a proposed solution.
Most of the cost savings delivered by voice-directed work results from increases in productivity and accuracy along with a dramatic reduction in the training time required for new and/or temporary DC employees.
Voice-directed work drives increases in productivity because it enables DC employees to work “hands free”. Because they are voice directed via a wireless headset and respond with spoken numbers and words, all their physical motions are productive to the task. None are wasted interacting with paper and pencil or a RF scanner’s handle, screen and buttons to free their hands, receive work instructions or confirm completed tasks.
Companies using voice typically realize productivity gains of 15-30% for case-picking and piece-picking workflows. As a result, direct and indirect labor operating costs are reduced and the throughput capacity of the warehouse is enhanced.
Voice-directed work will drive increases in accuracy because it enables DC employees to work “eyes free”. Because they are voice-directed via a wireless headset and respond with spoken numbers and words, they never have to take their eyes away from their task to interact with paper or an RF scanner’s screen to receive work instructions.
Companies using voice typically report accuracy rates of 99.9%. Some are achieving 99.99%. When compared to paper, voice-directed picking reduces errors by up to 85%. Against RF scanning, errors are reduced by about 15%.
Voice-directed work drives dramatic reductions in the time required to train new or temporary DC employees. Workers describe voice as intuitively easy to learn and use as it simply “talks” them through the execution of their tasks and any exception conditions they may encounter. Companies using voice typically report training times of less than one day versus several days with paper or RF scanner based methodologies. This benefit is especially meaningful to companies that rely on large numbers of seasonal or temporary workers.
The Bottom Line
Voice-directed work systems deliver optimal productivity and accuracy while significantly reducing employee training times. That said, all voice systems do not perform equally. There are reasons Vocollect Voice, with its industry-leading speaker recognition and built for purpose headsets and wearable mobile computers command a dominant market share worldwide. So seek the expert advice of an experienced solution provider like Speech Interface Design who can explain why and help you quantify the value and ROI that a Vocollect Voice-directed work solution could deliver to your specific operation. Upper management will be happy you did.