The benefits of voice enabling the Warehouse or Distribution Center are compelling.
…so why isn’t the adoption higher?
The benefits of adding voice automation to the warehouse or DC continue to show extremely positive results, however, according to Tern Systems, only 26% of warehouse workers are expected to be using voice in 2018. The technology for voice enablement has been available for many years as well as numerous analyst and anecdotal evidence of the ability of voice enablement to improve productivity and increase accuracy, especially in pick-to-voice applications but across other applications as well.
Labor and Freight Costs
Labor and freight costs have risen putting more pressure on the need to ensure faster picking and workflow as well as reducing error rates. There is continue pressure on warehouses to leverage their existing assets and deliver incremental cost saving and competitive pressure to deliver to customers improved levels of customer satisfaction. According to the Aberdeen Group, “92% of all companies are looking to enhance or acquire a more dynamic, interactive paperless and voice warehouse processes.”
If the benefits of voice enablement are so strong, why isn’t the adoption higher? With the pressure from multiple stakeholders to provide incremental productivity enhancements we were initially curious as to why voice enablement for picking, distribution or service applications was not higher. Step into the shoes of our customers and it is easy to understand where the confusion come in regarding the cost and complexity of voice enablement in the warehouse or distribution center.
Highly Customized WMS Systems
We have been fortunate to have worked with leading customers in their respective markets to voice-enable picking, distribution, and field services applications. We continue to be impressed with the work that our customers have done over the years to optimize workflows and customize their WMS systems to better serve the business. These highly customized WMS systems have been continually optimized over years to improve productivity. One of the productivity enhancements that our customers have made is to deploy mobile computers with bar code scanners or RFID readers, typically customizing the installation to the WMS (Oracle, Manhattan, SAP, JD Edwards) and optimizing the workflow over time. We listened to our customers.
The Impact of Downtime
The core nature of the warehouse and DC to the business means that any downtime associated with changes is incredibly disruptive. Major system or technology changes need to be carefully considered. There is a desire from warehouse management for incremental productivity enhancements, without a comprehensive change to the underlying infrastructure. How do you provide improved ROI without ripping out the existing working and optimized environment? Is it even possible?
Busting The Myth
There is a widespread myth that adding voice to your existing mobile devices in the warehouse requires a wholesale change, and sadly many organizations still believe that is the case. Today, with solutions like AccuSpeech Mobile, warehouse managers can realize not only an incremental, but typically substantial productivity enhancements by voice enabling their existing bar code or RFID devices – regardless of the WMS system in place behind the scenes.
Sound too good to be true?
Myth busting may initially appear that way, until you look deeper into the reasons why it’s possible. You can achieve much more than simply incremental productivity enhancements with voice technology in the warehouse or DC.
In turns out that voice can coexist seamlessly with RF or barcode scanning and support the modern omnichannel environment with ease of integration with the WMS. The AccuSpeechMobile unique approach of voice enabling the client devices, rather than integrating with middleware on the server, provides benefits that are only possible with this technical architecture. Since we do not need to add middleware or make changes to the WMS application on the server, our clients receive all the benefits of a voice-enabled application, without an across-the-board change to the WMS. We deliver just what our customers told us the needed, productivity improvements without disruption to the existing infrastructure.
Ease & Speed of Implementing Voice
An important benefit is speed of implementation for our solution. AccuSpeech mobile is typically deployed within 30 to 90 days. We can provide a proof-of-concept in a client’s environment in a day. Literally in 1 day, on site we can show a prospective client exactly how the system will work – in their own environment. Rapid ROI is demonstrable with our voice enabling application.
One of the other areas that has proven to be beneficial is the ability to continue to use applications such as Labor Management that are currently in place with the WMS. Legacy voice enabling products typically require their clients to install their vendor-specific Labor Management systems to work with their voice capture devices. With AccuSpeech Mobile, however, it is not necessary to change any of these systems. You can continue to use your existing Labor Management system and it is not necessary to purchase, install or maintain a new Labor management system.
In short, Voice Enabling in the Warehouse or Distribution Center or even within Field Services is much easier than you might have imagined. Here are some of the benefits that are literally within your reach should you choose to move forward with AccuSpeech Mobile today.
- Rapid results, delivering productivity efficiencies and improved accuracy almost immediately.
- Hands Free operation that improves movement and freedom for workers.
- Additional benefits from automating voice-enabled commands.
- A return on investment that is typically between 4 and 6 months.
- No editing, changing or altering your critical business processes.
It is extremely gratifying to walk through this process with our clients. We move quickly from disbelief and skepticism when we encounter the “myth mindset” and subsequently to cautious optimism as we highlight our marquee customers and discuss voice enabling multiple warehouse locations. We continue to break the old myth down during the proof-of-concept and we see that our clients begin to believe that voice enabling their mobile apps is easier than they had thought. We know the myth is bust when some of our clients show unabashed joy in some cases! When voice enablement with our automation is fully deployed, workers are happy with the freedom of hands-free, the workflow is smoother, order accuracy has increased, and demonstrable ROI is presented.
It’s our goal to help companies meet increasingly demanding consumer expectations while improving business profitability. It is an ideal time to move to voice and we’re proud to be breaking the old myths by offering innovative and exciting voice enabling solutions that truly benefit our clients.