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Top seven benefits of voice picking solutions

Fulfillment centers strive to optimize throughput, speed and accuracy to cost-effectively meet promised service levels. Managers play a difficult balancing act of minimizing employee turnover to avoid continuous training and re-training, adjusting processes to efficiently balance work volume and planning for demand fluctuation to accommodate seasonal spikes. Voice technology can scale to match changing business requirements and offers a solution to empower management with greater control, flexibility and visibility into operations on the floor.

Read on for the top seven benefits of using voice in the direct order fulfillment process and utilizing Intelligrated’s voice technology over legacy voice products.

1. Accuracy
Distribution is a fast-paced game with high-stakes and little margin for error. Customers place a premium on fast service, but receiving the wrong product renders speed meaningless. Erroneous orders not only cost time and money in the form of returns processing and a replacement shipment, but levy even greater costs by damaging customer satisfaction and reducing repeat business. By implementing voice solutions, operations can achieve more than 99.9 percent fulfillment accuracy — a critical metric in the competitive retail and e-commerce landscape. This keeps the right products flowing to keep store shelves stocked and avoid lost revenue.

2. Productivity
Simplicity is often the best route to productivity. But in order to maintain control of inventory and manage the fulfillment process, operations often arm employees with scanners or paper pick lists, keeping their hands occupied and adding extra complication to the picking process. This enforces an effective ceiling on employee productivity and operational success, risking insufficient stock on store shelves and missed shipping cut off times. In contrast, voice technology reduces steps required to complete a task and keeps pickers’ hands free and eyes up, improving safety, ergonomics and increasing productivity up to 35 percent.

3. Scalability
If a sharp holiday peak hits or if business experiences sustained organic growth, how can fulfillment operations maintain high service levels while meeting increased order volumes? Voice solutions provide that scalability through simple and cost-effective worker and workflow additions, ensuring operations can handle demand while avoiding wasteful investment. Voice’s ability to support large vocabularies of thousands of words enables it to automate a greater variety of complex mobile work tasks.

4. Rapid adoption of automation
Fast-paced fulfillment operations do not have time to replace out-of-date technology or implement complex training programs required for RF data entry. With voice, supervisors leverage unique, easier training and support capabilities to quickly scale up new, part-time or seasonal workers to meet and exceed corporate productivity targets. Especially useful during peak season, innovative training features help facilities quickly integrate seasonal labor into picking operations.

A highly practical example is when a new hire forgets the proper process for handling an exception, such as a short. They can put their work on hold and place a quick call to a supervisor who can then provide brief coaching or join the actual voice transaction through a three-way call to role model best practices to properly completing the work task.

Supervisors can also speed site adoption by playing workers’ actual audio back to them at any point in a transaction to advise on the most effective work behaviors.

5. Management visibility
Easy access to the right information not only leads to faster management decisions; it also benefits employees on the floor by providing real-time information to help gauge self-improvement efforts. Dashboards provide real-time visibility into individual worker, group, zone, site and company-wide productivity levels, daily progress and time remaining to complete assigned tasks, enabling management to make rapid operational decisions. Workers are also able to ask for their current performance level, especially valuable in locations using incentive plans.

6. Multilingual capabilities
Going international? For businesses expanding their global footprint or integrating non-native employees, Intelligrated’s voice system is a perfect fit, offering support for all the world’s leading languages and speaking more languages than any other voice solution. Workers can choose their language of preference at any shift, enabling them to build deeper local language skills and become more valuable to the company. This enables operations to accommodate diverse labor pools and quickly scale productivity levels.

7. Solution flexibility
Reconciling systems from multiple vendors can be a challenge, leading operations to dedicate significant IT resources to integration in order to reap the full benefit of technology investments. Intelligrated’s flexible voice platform enables easy integration with other Intelligrated system components or existing facility infrastructure. Combined with a WES, WMS, WCS or ERP system, Intelligrated voice solutions come as a fully-integrated solution that not only provides clear task instructions, but communicates and interacts with multiple enterprise software systems. On the floor, it’s compatible with the broadest range of rugged, non-proprietary mobility hardware, avoiding vendor lock-in while quickly embracing the latest mobility innovations that come to market.

Discover the efficiency gains and cost savings from voice technology by downloading Intelligrated’s ROI of voice picking white paper.