Make a Well Informed Decision about Voice Directed Work

Posted by Speech Interface Design

rsz_istock_000057424936_small-817552-edited.jpgAny proposed change to the way your DC operates on a daily basis needs very careful consideration and planning.  Especially before investing in a new technology-based methodology, the value and ROI of new approach should be accurately projected and weighed against the risk of less than desirable outcomes. Companies considering a voice-directed picking solution need to work with a solution provider who will help them make well informed buying decision with confidence. 

The Benefits of Voice Picking are Great, but...

Voice-directing picking solutions have been around for more than 20 years now.  The industry’s leading technology: Vocollect Voice is being used by more than 500,000 distribution workers worldwide each and every day.  And, yet, many companies that would greatly benefit from such a solution do not have it on their list of priority projects.  Why?Not often is a technology like voice so embraced by its users, that management consistently hears them say that they would never want to go back to using paper or RF scanning devices again?   Distribution center workers consistently mention the benefits of the “hands free, eyes free” and “ease to learn” nature of voice.   Companies consistently report the benefits of 15-35% increases in productivity, accuracy rates of 99.9% and dramatically reduced training times: from weeks /days to day or so to hours.    But, exactly what value and ROI will these benefits deliver in your specific operation?

Value & ROI

 When considering a voice picking solution seek out a voice provider who will help you make a well informed decision about the value of voice to your specific operation.  High level estimates are interesting but not sufficient for you to confidently develop an internal business case for executive approval.  Your voice provider needs the experience and expertise to provide you with detailed projections of value and ROI as they related to your specific operation.  Be sure the company you engage to do your Value & ROI Analysis is capable of all of the following:  

  • Working as a consultative extension of your team
  • Applying Industrial Engineering rigor and principles in its analysis
  • Detailing the specific ways voice will deliver value via operational cost savings and quantifying those savings on an annual basis
  • Projecting not just the cost of the voice system but also your internal costs for integration and site prep for implementation so that the ROI is comprehensive
  • Providing a detailed deliverable that is open enough for you to make your own and use as the foundation of your internal business case

Risk is the other important component of making a well-informed buying decision with confidence.  While the Value and ROI may be there on paper, will it be delivered and truly realized?  This is an especially important question regarding voice-directed work solutions because “voice” is not “voice”.  Voice-directed work technologies and solutions from different providers are very different in the way they operate and will in turn perform in your operation.  And, all too often, the age old expression of “you get what you pay for” applies. 

For example, one of the most common risk-related concerns raise by executives in companies who today have yet to embrace voice-directed work is:  How can it work with my highly diverse work force when the voice systems that I use in my daily life don’t reliably even understand me?  Vocollect Voice systems use a speaker dependent recognition engine.  This allows each worker to train their own individual voice template so that all of the spoken languages, dialects and accents of any diverse workforce are reliably recognized.  Many voice systems on the market use “daily life” speaker independent recognition engines.  “Voice” is not “voice”, so be sure to understand these important differences.

And, finally, the experience and expertise of your total solution provider is mission critical for the great value of voice to be truly realized in your operation.  The voice system need to be integrated with your host system, comprehensive yet efficient process logic and dialog developed for both normal and exception conditions, and training delivered to your workers upon implementation and go-live.  Working with a provider who has a proven track record of executing on all of these steps will help assure a very low risk, very high value project -- one that will pay for itself quickly, deliver ongoing annual savings and be happily embraced by your workforce -- to the delight of your executives.   

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Topics: voice picking, voice-directed solutions