You are sitting in your office and discussing an important project. You suddenly get a birthday reminder for someone important in your life. Since, you didn’t remember the birthday, you haven’t sent any gifts. What do you do?..........You open a shopping app, pick same-day delivery, and voila! The app helps you order a gift that will delight your loved ones. But, what took you a few clicks to finish is, in fact, the result of heaps of teams working in tandem around the year. The most important part of this entire chain is the “Warehouse” which stores these “gifts”. Warehouses are the hidden fulcrum of supply chain management, without their smooth functioning, the entire supply chain would collapse. There’s a lot to proper warehouse management than what meets the eye. From taking care of time-critical packages and dealing with inaccurate inventory to employing strategies to minimize labor costs - the world of warehousing is as tricky as a “dusra" cricket delivery indeed!
Out of all the activities in a warehouse namely in-warding of goods, storage, order picking and dispatch, order picking forms the backbone of the entire operations. Picking up the correct order is critical as it directly affects the supply chain productivity. Collecting articles for every order placed by the customer, as per the right quantity, while making sure it’s the exact product as was ordered- for millions of customers, every single time – is a Herculean task indeed!
To make this task easier and increase the efficiency, it is recommended to use Voice-directed warehousing, or Pick-by-Voice as many call it. It comes to warehousing operations as an improvement upon the older version of HHT based scanning system for picking and is a new opportunity to win the upper hand in the aggressive supply-chain market.
Voice Picking Software- What’s In the Voice and How Does It Function?
Pick-By-Voice is a speech recognition and voice direction software installed in a small, wearable device. Here’s how it works:
1. Warehouse employees carry the voice unit with them
2. They receive verbal prompts from the mobile unit
3. They are directed to predetermined locations in the warehouse as per the algorithm
4. They read confirmation codes (check digits) of the products and speak predefined commands into the mic of the headset
5. The speech recognition module verifies the worker’s response and reverts with the picking quantity
6. After confirming the quantity picked, the worker collects the product and moves on to the next location
The entire system is designed to optimize the pick path of the operator thus improving the overall efficiency of the system
Pick-by-Voice Versus Traditional Warehouse Management Methods- What Makes the Former Special?
For one, a system that is entirely centered around speaking and listening give your employees freedom from holding anything other than the product that they’re supposed to be handling. There are no instruction sheets, code scanners, devices, or checklists that they may need to put down and pick up before and after dealing with a product. This subsequently simplifies the employee functionality. In fact, this causes 35% to 85% increase in productivity and accuracy respectively.
Then, there is the matter of labor safety. With fewer obstacles in the way to divert the attention of your operator, the potential of any harm to the product or injury to the personnel reduces as well. Even if they are picking an exceptionally heavy object or handling a fragile item, the chances of hurting themselves or vandalizing the product goes down significantly.
Ultimately, this system eliminates any paperwork requirement. And, voice picking training is not only quick but also hassle-free. Plus, since it makes the operator’s job a tad bit smoother and easier, it gradually leads to a more satisfied and hence dedicated operator.
But, Why Would You Jump on this Bandwagon at All?
Here are the problems voice picking solves for you:
1. Improves inventory accuracy, picking accuracy, and employee productivity
2. Increases operator-safety
3. Reduces training time for operators
4. Eliminates paperwork, and hence redundancy
5. Leads to a better customer experience
The system converts speech to data with the advanced speech recognition software. This software learns what each word sounds like – regardless of language or dialect, so operator of any region irrespective of their mother tongue, can adjust as easily as those whose first language is English or Hindi. Today, Voice Technology is available in Indian regional languages as well. In other words, this system can work anywhere around the world without any difficulty.
The global reach for this tech is expected to touch a staggering USD 2.5 billion by the end of 2018 from its previous value of USD 900 million in 2017. It’s not just flexible but also offers a stellar increase in productivity and efficiency for warehouses. And, the market is expected to adopt voice picking systems in the upcoming years readily. With the scale of warehousing picking in India, voice is expected to be the next technology that will hit a tipping point. We suggest you jump on this ship while the good seats are still available.
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