Submitted on Wed, 2014-05-14
By Jim Laverty

A Cloud WMS combined with voice will transform your warehouse into a faster, more accurate, and hands-free operation.

warehouse management system with voice picking

DC Velocity recently published a report concluding that combining voice picking with a warehouse management system is one of the innovations that will take your warehouse efficiency to new levels. Combining voice with your WMS transforms your warehouse into a highly effective operation while providing one of the highest returns on investment you can make in your warehouse.

 

The Proven Benefits of Adding Voice to Your WMS

A warehouse management system with voice functionality is a powerful, cost-saving solution that will have a drastic impact on productivity within your warehouse:

 

The Benefits of Adding Voice to Your WMS

 

Voice + WMS = Great ROI

With the dramatic gains in productivity and accuracy, voice picking pays for itself in almost no time. Here are five reasons why you’ll see an immediate return on investment from voice.

 

1. Go from a Worker-driven to a WMS-directed Warehouse

The key benefit of adding voice to your WMS is that your warehouse becomes WMS-directed instead of worker-driven. The pace at which your employees work is set by the WMS and not by the worker.

Voice provides your employees with a quick, easy, and hands-free way to get work done around the warehouse. The various tasks that need to be completed throughout your warehouse are generated by your WMS and then wirelessly transmitted to a mobile device carried by each employee. The voice system will then take the tasks directed by the WMS and turns them into verbal commands your employees will hear through a headset. The system will tell the employee where to go, and once the employee verifies that they have reached the location, they’ll be given a command such as “pick five”. Once the employee picks five units of the item, they just need to say “five” and the system gives them their next location or task.

 

2. Quick and Low Cost Integration

Advancements in cloud WMS platforms have eliminated the intensive and time consuming installation and integration of advanced voice features into your WMS. Simply plug in the voice program and it seamlessly integrates with the WMS, providing you with robust analytics to track your warehouse.

 

3. Increase Productivity by 35%

With voice added to your WMS, you can expect to see productivity increases as high as 35% by simply making your employees work more efficiently. There’s no need to scan a barcode or enter data into a handheld device. The process eliminates screen and paper from picking, and hands out assignments while employees are already on the move. Assignments can be handed out simultaneously as well based on location in the warehouse. Travel distances around the warehouse are slashed and each move around the warehouse floor serves a specific purpose.

The following video shows this principle in motion as hands-free voice-directed picking and rf scanning-directed picking are placed side by side (start at 1:53):

 

4. Increase Accuracy to 99.995%

Voice can also help improve accuracy around your warehouse. Most operations see a reduction of errors by up to 25% and achieve greater than 99.995% accuracy by using voice. In order for an employee to advance to the next portion of their task, they have to read off verification codes to the exact digit or they won’t be allowed to proceed. The checks keep your employees operating at 100% accuracy at all times, which means fewer returned or reshipped items.

 

5. Create a Happy and Safe Environment for Your Staff

Not only will your workers be more productive, they’ll be happier too. Having employees who enjoy their work goes hand in hand with having less turnover and increasing your accuracy and efficiency. Voice is simple for new employees to learn and can actually cut training times in half. Tracking personal productivity can also instill a sense of pride in your employees, reducing turnover by up to 30%.

Voice also reduces safety accidents around the warehouse by 20%. A hands-free and heads-up worker is a safe worker. Implementing voice means that your workers can focus on the task at hand rather than having to pick up or put down a device or papers. For forklift or pallet truck drivers in particular, being able to focus on the road ahead is a big improvement over being distracted by a display or keyboard.

One of our trusted partners in voice, Vocollect, has a great ROI calculator if you would like to learn even more about the benefits of adding voice to your WMS.

Our irms|WM warehouse management system integrates with every voice system out there, and our supply chain analysts’ independence means we’ll work to find the voice system that’s the best fit for your operation. Learn more about how you can utilize voice in your warehouse by scheduling a free evaluation to see if voice is right for you.

Blog Type: 
IRMS WM Blog
Innovative Technology Solutions