Bob Bova | 7/17/2018
Since the dawn of man, voice picking companies have been touting the ROI of voice directed work as the holy grail of increased productivity and error reduction. In fact, we agree that voice directed picking delivers significant productivity benefits, including error reduction. Yet, the past 20 years have also shown us that server-based, proprietary implementations require a much longer journey to get to the promised land of positive ROI. Is it possible to achieve a 12-month ROI for your voice picking project? Yes, with a device-based architecture it is possible. Here’s how to adeptly navigate to the promised land of low cost of ownership and rapid ROI through deployment of voice technology in the warehouse.
Server-Based Solutions – ROI is a Moving Target
Look at the Full Cost of Charges
If you are looking at a server-based picking solution, make sure you understand the full cost of changes, additions and refreshes over a 10-year period. These should include adding new users, change management costs and timing, you should also include upgrades to the WMS modules as well. This will give you a good footing for the expected costs over the long-term life of the system.
Include Upgrade Requirements
Server based solutions require significant upgrades over time. This includes proprietary hardware handheld tech too. Additionally, ask the cost of voicing additional applications to the mix. If each time you want to voice enable an application you end up paying the same amount all over again, and the 10-year refreshes every time, you must add those in.
Review Network Requirements
Make sure you do a full network compatibility analysis as well. Since these server-based solutions depend on robust network connectivity and speeds, a refresh of the network in the warehouse may also be required.
Review Professional Services Cost Estimates
In addition to the initial software integration services needed for the proprietary server based picking system and the attributable WMS module that needs to customized, bake in change management costs as well. This is very important if you plan to do a WMS upgrade at any time after installation of the server based picking application. This can require close to a total redo of the back end integration…not to mention that standard upgrade engineering services for the picking application that occurs about every 3 years.
Device-Based Solutions – Achieve ROI in 12 Months or Less
Extend the Life of your Current WMS/WCS
Since device-based solutions do NOT require WMS software modules for connectivity, that software and the attributed engineering services can also be eliminated. Additionally, any changes to the WMS have no impact on the applications pushed out to the handhelds; unless, there are changes to the end user applications. Then, the user interface would need to be updated on the device – a cost, yes, but a quick change and very inexpensive.
Extend the Life of Handhelds Deployed Now
If you are looking at device-based voice enabling solutions, the ROI calculations become much easier. Device based solutions require standard, commercially available handhelds. Many in use right now already support voice. The only additional hardware needed would be headsets.
Empower Your Team
Your team can be trained to voice automate additional applications and to assist with the implementation and roll-out of the system. This gives you flexibility for the installation and reduces consulting services fees.
Measuring ROI for the Short and Long Term
Measuring ROI needs to be driven by short and long-term costs. This perspective allows for a true accounting of savings expected by management today and in the future.