How Voice Picking Can Meet and Overcome Labor Challenges

Posted by Speech Interface Design

rsz_worker_photo.jpgAll warehouses, whether they are customer distribution centers or internal operations, are constantly faced with labor challenges that can determine their success or failure. The availability of capable employees, high wages, overtime, long training cycles, and high turnover are all real challenges.  Voice-directed work solutions can go a long way toward helping you meet them and achieve success.

Reduced Costs

The most major expenses of any warehouse operation is that of labor.  Voice-directed work enables workers to be hands–free and eyes–free when executing picking and other tasks.  The system proactively directs their work through verbal commands and requires proper responses for them to proceed.   Because the system focuses them on the task at hand, there is little unproductive downtime and fewer errors. The result is optimal productivity and accuracy.  Most companies using voice-directed picking solutions see their worker productivity increase by 15-30%. This directly translates into less required labor and overtime leading to significant operational cost reductions.

Shorter Training Times

Another major expense is incurred in the training of new or temporary employees. In training, time is money.  Companies using voice-directed work solutionsreport dramatically reduced training times relative to paper and especially RF scanning based methodologies:  hours to a couple of days vs. several days to weeks.  Voice-directed work solution as inherently easy to learn and to use.  And they are greatly preferred by the vast majority of workers, who after using pick by voice systems, vow never to want to have to pick via paper or RF scanners again. 

Less Turnover

In today’s environment, finding and retaining capable distribution center employees is an increasing labor challenge.   Given that picking and other roles are known for relatively high levels of turnover, voice picking solutions help in key ways.  Voice helps workers execute their tasks with optimal results.  Some even say that it is “fun”.  Because they feel confident and valued to have been provided such a tool which they like to use, employees using voice exhibit higher levels of morale, job satisfaction and hence lower turnover rates.      

Increased Worker Safety

Safety is always an important concern in any distribution center.  Workers need to be are aware of potential safety issues around them at all times. This often can be difficult to do for workers who typically sneak peaks at paper or the screen of an RF scanning device while they are traveling.  Voice directed workers are eyes free when working and traveling.  And, because headsets allow one ear to be free, they are able to hear horns and other warning sounds within the warehouse.   Companies using voice typically report improved safety as yet another key benefit of the solution.

Visibility Into Labor Statistics

Premiere voice picking solutions can also provide visibility into labor statistics.  While not a robust as a standalone labor management system, a voice solution can provide real time labor visibility and value add reporting that many companies find more than sufficient.   For example, pick rate and assignment performance of each worker can be shown and tracked for incentive pay and or performance coaching purposes.    

Engage an industry-leading voice total solution provider to empower your organization for optimal employee performance.  In doing so, you will meet and overcome your labor related challenges.

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Topics: voice picking