A Word About Voice-Enabled Workflows

by SCOTT ZAHN, Vice President, Operations, July 6, 2017

In May, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported nearly a 12% year-over-year growth for “non-store” retail sales.  The U.S. Department of Commerce believes this jump is largely from Internet sales.  

From an Operations perspective, pallet-in/pallet-out is evolving and probably changing faster than the heady growth rates reported by the WSJ’s eComm reports and other sources around the globe.

While some organizations continue to leverage existing solutions, previously optimized for pallet-in/pallet-out processes, many firms have been able to reduce (not maintain) cost metrics with Voice-Enabled workflows supporting eCommerce and Omni-channel strategies in a variety of business models.

Why Voice-Enabled Workflows?

  1. Productivity – eventually, all distribution operations begin to focus on metrics.  Picks per hour (PPH) or similar derivatives, are is a common metric used in many organizations today.  Voice-enabled selection processes allow the selector to spend less time at the pick face.  Like a race car in a 200 loop event with 4 turns – shaving fractions of seconds off each turn is a winning formula.
  2. Accuracy – over the last decade, intolerance for inaccuracy has grown significantly.  Many organizations have added bodies, and process to make sure the end customers get exactly what’s ordered.  The economics behind improved accuracy are compelling.  Voice-enabled workflows tend to be orders of magnitude more accurate than other selection technologies.  When comparing the investment to the results and flexibility – the ability to respond to the changes that will be inevitable, the value proposition quickly distances itself from the alternatives.
  3. Better supervisory control – while a majority of the workforce doesn’t require a labor chaperone, supervisors and front line managers can leverage visibility to workflows, rush orders and real-time changes in demand signals and re-organize work on the floor without the traditional delays most operations have come to expect.
  4. Complete visibility – line item selection visibility provides insights into operational data that is often unavailable today.  In many cases, these insights are more granular than ad-hoc LMS solutions or data warehouse alternatives.

Why Are Voice-enabled Workflows Important Today?

Ecommerce growth rates have been averaging $40 billion per year for the past 3 years, up 25% from the prior three year period.  Leveraging yesterday’s tools and processes for today’s realities is an invitation for competitors to gain a foothold and shift your customer’s preferences.  The market is “uber” competitive, and it’s only gaining momentum.  As e-Commerce continues to grow at this robust pace, the case for voice-enabling the selection processes in your DC are too compelling to ignore.

Want to know more? Reach out and we can discuss if voice can help solve some of your challenges voice@mountainleverage.com.

Scott Zahn

Scott is the VP of Operations at Mountain Leverage. As an accomplished professional with extensive sales, marketing, channels and operating experience, he brings unique insight to common challenges faced by leaders in the distribution industry.

A Word About Voice-Enabled Workflows
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See Voice Picking from First Person POV

by QUINN EDGELL, Communications Lead

Many studies report that voice is a worker-preferred pick technology. Companies report quicker onboarding, decreased turnover, and a more satisfied workforce. But why?  Enhanced ergonomics?  A feeling of empowerment and accomplishment?

In February, we paid a visit to our customer Bluestar in Kentucky to find out why.  But we didn’t just ask questions.  One of their shift supervisors, Jordan, let us strap a camera to him so that we could experience warehouse voice picking firsthand.

In the industry’s first and only “First Person POV Picking” video, you can experience everything exactly as a selector does. Watch Jordan:

  • sign in
  • pair equipment
  • download assignments
  • travel from pick to pick
  • confirm location & quantity

Ready to watch? Click the link below for the full video.

See Voice Picking from First Person POV
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