Dashboard Login OnTimeParts 24X7 Support 1.877.315.3400

Intelligrated InSights

Five ways Intelligrated Voice can help you meet the Christmas rush

The Christmas season will soon be upon us, and distribution centers (DCs) everywhere are gearing up for the e-commerce order fulfillment push. Ever increasing SKU numbers and “piece” picking requirements combined with rush orders and an influx of temporary employees can spell disaster for retailers trying to keep customers happy during the all-important holiday season. With so much at stake, operations managers are looking for new tools to gain a competitive edge. Intelligrated Voice — with its advanced speaker-independent speech recognition technology, exceptional workflow scalability and superior employee onboarding capabilities — can give you a powerful edge.

In my last blog, I talked about how Intelligrated Voice picking technologies can deliver significant improvements in order accuracy and overall DC productivity. These advantages are always critical, regardless of the season or evolving business requirements. But the unique challenges that operations managers face during peak fulfillment periods bring the true benefits of Intelligrated Voice to the forefront. Here are five things it could do to transform your holiday fulfillment productivity: 

1. Onboard new employees in a half-day - Training seasonal and part-time employees to quickly become productive picking team members is a recurring challenge for operations managers. Intelligrated Voice utilizes VoIP technology to enable coaching and assistance via three-way conversations, even if the supervisor or help desk is remote. Industry-leading, multilingual speech technology does not require training to establish speech recognition. This means your seasonal workforce can be trained and ready to hit the floor in less than half a day.

2. Achieve 99.9 percent order accuracy - Order errors during the holiday season create a domino effect of returns, inspection, re-stocking, re-picking, re-shipping, time lost and the potential loss of customer loyalty. The key to achieving order accuracy during seasonal pushes is an efficient and adaptable picking strategy. With 99.9 percent order accuracy, Intelligrated Voice picking systems all but remove fulfillment errors at a time when it matters most.

3. Adapt to seasonal workflows - Maximizing seasonal order fulfillment requires all aspects of the DC working in harmony. These fast-paced operations can’t always pause to replace outdated picking technologies. With multi-modal Intelligrated Voice, you have the option to blend it with other processes, such as scanning and pick/put-to-lights. And its rapid adoption rate provides staffing flexibility that makes it ideal for ramping up to meet seasonal requirements.

4. Gain visibility to labor performance - Labor management is especially important during seasonal crunches and new (or temporary) employee onboarding. With Intelligrated Voice, managers can incentivize performance, coach new employees on the job and drive compliance through real-time visibility and playback of actual worker audio. It also pairs with the Intelligrated Labor Management System to provide advanced analytics and enhance business intelligence, streamlining the entire labor management process.

5. Improve productivity by 45 percent - Meeting the seasonal push is not an excuse to let order fulfillment productivity slip. On the contrary, operations managers want nothing more than to maintain and even improve upon normal productivity levels. Compared to legacy paper picking and RF scanning approaches, Intelligrated Voice delivers a 45 percent improvement in productivity —while keeping pickers’ hands free, eyes up for fast work and safer from potential missteps. 

While these examples show how Intelligrated Voice addresses the challenges of the holiday order fulfillment season, it’s the technology infrastructure that makes it all work. Instead of legacy proprietary hardware Intelligrated offers an open choice of leading rugged smartphones and wireless headsets, avoiding unnecessary hardware lock-in. An innovative VoIP-based architecture enables a unique training and support model where new workers can be fully productive in a week with as little as 2-3 hours of shadowing with an experienced worker. VoIP technology also provides for easy remote help while novice workers are mid-task, and great supervisory coaching by enabling playback of a worker’s actual audio where they may need guidance. With this flexibility, Intelligrated Voice can be utilized to automate any mobile process inside (or beyond) the four walls of the DC. 

Complete robotic integration capabilities

Less than one week remains before PACK EXPO Las Vegas, where material handling professionals converge to witness packaging insight and innovation. Intelligrated is excited to join other industry leaders as we showcase our complete robotic integration capabilities in booth 3036 in the central hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sept. 28-30. 

Intelligrated will highlight each phase of its robotic integration process, designed to guide customers through the entire integration with all necessary resources and services offered in-house, providing simplicity and single-source accountability.

1. Solution development
The Intelligrated robotic integration process begins with a collaborative phase that involves working with customers to analyze, concept and evaluate robotic applications.

2. Design engineering and project management
After the customer has decided on a concept, Intelligrated engineers design and develop the solution. while collaborating with project management resources to ensure seamless implementation and integration. 

3. Complete manufacturing capabilities
Intelligrated manufactures custom robotic end-of-arm tooling tailored to fit the solution’s requirements for flexible product handling. The company also manufactures the system components necessary for a complete system, such as case and pallet conveyor, sortation and AS/RS solutions.

4. Installation and commissioning
With system components manufactured and tested, Intelligrated manages the installation and commissioning, dispatching a professionally trained team to execute on-site system start-up.

5. Lifecycle Support Services
Following installation, Intelligrated continues to support the system throughout its useful life, offering 24X7 support and proactive maintenance services, modifications and upgrades to maximize uptime and asset performance.

The combination of material handling knowledge and robotics expertise earned Intelligrated a robotic integration certification from the Robotic Industries Association, making us an ideal partner for any company looking to improve processes with robotics. Join us in booth C-3036 to learn more about Intelligrated’s complete robotic integration capabilities. If you wish to schedule a meeting with an Intelligrated representative at the show, please email info@intelligrated.com. Multilingual booth support will be available

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.

Lifecycle management and rebranding Intelligrated aftermarket services

In the latest video blog, John Sorensen discusses lifecycle management and the rebranding of Intelligrated's aftermarket services.

Understanding accumulation technology choices leads to better solutions for operations

Conveyor is conveyor. That might be the thought while touring a sophisticated distribution operation with miles of roller conveyor, but various technologies have many subtle differences in order to transport items with built-in accumulation functionality. Conveyor features and functionality can vary greatly by manufacturer and application, but in general, accumulation conveyors can be broken into three high-level categories – each with its own balance of throughput, control and investment level. Making the right selection requires careful consideration and understanding of the technologies and expected material flow through a system.  Conveyor is not always conveyor.

Medium-pressure accumulation

Medium-pressure accumulation conveyors typically utilize a flat drive belt to apply adjustable pressure to conveyor rollers without logical control of the accumulation function. As product starts to accumulate because of a stop in downstream conveyor, the drive continues to run and rollers underneath continue to turn, resulting in back pressure on accumulated products. Medium-pressure accumulation conveyors are typically most appropriate when handling same- or similar-size products that closely match the width of the conveyor. Product should also be capable of withstanding slight back pressure.

This constant pressure is equivalent to driving a car in traffic while maintaining slight pressure on the gas pedal - the car still powers forward after contacting the bumper ahead.

Medium-pressure accumulation conveyors often operate in facilities that rarely require accumulation, as too much back pressure can result in side-by-sides, item damage and jams.

Zero-pressure accumulation

Zero-pressure accumulation conveyors consist of rollers divided into zones that drop in sequence as products accumulate. The system uses a flat, narrow belt or padded chain as the drive mechanism, raised or lowered by pneumatic actuators to apply drive pressure to rollers and move product. As product runs downstream, pneumatic actuators release air to lower the drive mechanism and remove pressure on rollers, allowing the item to coast to a stop. Zero-pressure accumulation conveyors often operate in distribution and fulfillment facilities where the product mix consists of a wide range of sizes and weights.

Zero-pressure accumulation equates to releasing the gas pedal before colliding with stopped cars in front. As the car coasts to a stop, it contacts the one in front.

The ideal zero-pressure accumulation conveyors remove drive pressure early enough to prevent side-by-sides, jams or damage, but late enough to remove all air gaps between items. This maximizes the number of items along a given length of conveyor for optimum accumulation density.

Zero contact accumulation

Zero contact accumulation conveyors provide the best carton control and lowest risk of product damage by instantly stopping accumulation zones to prevent items from contacting each other. One method to power this type of accumulation is one or two motor-driven rollers (MDR) connected via o-bands to other non-powered rollers to control each accumulation zone. MDR conveyors use “run-on-demand” technology that provides significant energy savings, only operating when necessary to move product to the next zone. Other benefits include low operating noise and an inherently safer operation since the motor only needs to be large enough to power a short zone, rather than an entire conveyor.

Zero contact accumulation is most similar to how people normally drive. Cars only move forward when space in front of them is open and come to a stop before contacting the car in front.

The ideal zero-pressure accumulation conveyors remove drive pressure early enough to prevent side-by-sides, jams or damage, but late enough to remove all air gaps between items. This maximizes the number of items along a given length of conveyor for optimum accumulation density.

One example of an application that may be best suited for zero contact accumulation is an operation with bagged packaging. The logical operation of zero contact accumulation prevents items from contacting one another and overlapping, reducing the risk of problems and the need for manual intervention.

For more information on understanding the best accumulation conveyor for your operation, along with a comparison of each based on key criteria including throughput, back pressure, product damage and product-handling flexibility, read the Intelligrated white paper Selecting the right accumulation conveyor.


Privacy Information

The information you provide is solely used by Intelligrated. Intelligrated will not distribute email addresses to third party organizations. For more information, please read our Privacy Information.