Voice Recognition and Logistics: Driving change with ease of use

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By Pierrik Chaignaud, Wavelink

In today's market, multiple Voice picking solutions are now accessible and readily available, even to smaller-sized warehouses, by emulating existing information in the ERP. The greatest challenge, for both integrators and their customers, is to ensure a successful and smooth transition whilst considering and evaluating the functional and organisational needs of their task workers.

Voice: a tool for creating more freedom and efficiency in the warehouse

Numerous reasons will entice a logistics operator to choose a Voice picking (Voice guided picking) solution, all of which are generally based on a desire to increase processing quality and reliability of stock and preparation. External influences include client company requests for quality control and better traceability.

Simply put, when a warehouse seeks productivity gains, Voice picking can provide a return rate increase of between 10% and 20% and show a significant decline in logistics costs. Whether used for sorting, stocking/restocking, packaging orders, returns management, post-sale service or rotating inventory, the benefits of a voice guidance solution are obvious.

Previously, voice guidance solutions seemed inaccessible to smaller structures such as SMEs, specifically due to project size, interfacing difficulties with ERP and existing WMS system constraints and a potentially long and costly implementation procedure. The mere thought of equipping terminal owners or re-training agents seemed a daunting task and complicated mountain to climb.

Gradually, new Voice picking solutions unravel all of these knots and complications by adapting their functions to existing materials.No longer necessitating device and server replacement, non-intrusive and flexible, the most advanced Voice picking technologies can now be fully integrated and functional in a month's time. Voice guidance also has the huge advantage of honing in on the most essential feature: the organizational aspect of the warehouse.

First and foremost: Organise

In addition to productivity gains, Voice picking gives the operator full mobility. No longer required to watch a screen, check a list, or hold a clipboard, operators discovered true freedom of maneuverability and movement which helps reduce the number of accidents on the job. Their work rhythm becomes more fluid and they are able to complete their tasks faster.

In addition, integrating a vocal recognition system creates a key opportunity to re-think the entire organisation of the warehouse and re-define work habits. Logistics is a complex field. It requires serious reflection and analysis to determine the best solutions and choices to improve the multitude of levels involved in establishing a comfortable and well-running work environment.

Experience shows that a voice picking solution also helps employees balance their work schedules, break times, etc. This should not be overlooked when considering the potential increase in productivity and generation of greater revenue.

For example, let's examine a group several important factors: stocking merchandise, rack height, code key location, general visual and auditory warehouse atmosphere, etc. Voice picking can help link all of these factors and create a work environment that will be less stressful and, therefore, more productive. It can diminish certain actions such as walk time and deem them superfluous.

Voice guidance facilitates and accelerates the organization of workers without limiting room for maneuvers. As such, the functional organisation lies on the freedom to use specific skills and know-how in conjunction the software solution.

A developing market

As Voice picking is still a developing market, we can only imagine the full impact it will have on the total functional organisation of warehouses and logistics.This solution, now easily implemented and inexpensive, requires little more than a software license and can be the trigger for significant improvements in working conditions.

Integrators can grasp the full potential of this new generation of Voice guidance.Whether regional computer service companies, identification specialists or general service companies familiar their clients' needs, all have a role to play in the current market.

This market will reach full maturity when integrators have trained and deployed teams dedicated to 1) the solution of Voice recognition (i.e., high-capacity development which meets testing needs) and 2) understanding the organisational challenges of their customers.

Vocal recognition solutions will continue growing. We will see them integrate other domains such as meter-reading, order-taking and quality control and procedural checklists. One can imagine that any field which requires a connected approach to passing information along in a coherent and specific way will ultimately greatly benefit from all that voice picking can offer.

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