Voice activated technology is the newest trend in the warehousing industry and it is gaining momentum. The key feature of this solution is the interface with the user which allows for “hands free”, “eyes free” processing.
Using only a head-set and voice terminal, this technology yields two immediate benefits:
- Improved accuracy – the user is not distracted by having to enter data into a RF terminal resulting in fewer picking errors. The voice synthesizing software “learns” the user’s voice which allows the solution to adapt itself to different dialects and ethnicities. This will require each user to complete this process prior to being able to use the system.
- Real-time validation – verification of item and quantity are accomplished while the user continues working which also increases productivity. This technology does not, however, eliminate the requirement to scan the item and bin location and a handheld scanner will still need to be utilized. In some cases, a scanning gun may have to be used in lieu of the scanning pen due to warehouse layout.
It is important to understand that the type of technology currently in operation will determine the true incremental benefit of implementing voice technology. A business currently using a RF solution can expect minor accuracy improvement but a significant rise in productivity, while a business using a paper-based system can expect marked improvement in both areas. While each business is unique, it is not unusual for this type of solution to pay for itself within the first year of use.
In addition, there are indirect benefits to this type of solution as well:
- Ease of use – the technology is intuitive which eliminates the need for lengthy and costly training session.
- Equipment wear – units are light weight and worn on the belt, reducing the risk of damage to the unit due to mishandling.
- Safety – greater awareness of surroundings and possible hazards as well as decreased risk of repetitive motion injuries from constantly picking up and putting down an RF unit.
This technology is currently in use at many locations throughout the world and has proven to be accurate and reliable in environments that prior RF technology could not and further improvements are currently being discussed.
If you are interested in implementing a WMS solution or upgrading your current WMS environment to utilize voice technology, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.