Logistics Management met with several voice vendors for a state of the technology review. In this article they discuss improvements to voice solutions in the recognition engine, analytics and more. Below is a segment of the article from their meeting with Scott Powell from Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions.
Analytics of the data and transactions generated by voice systems also serve as a way to squeeze more productivity from warehouse workflows. Analytics can spot patterns that help an organization fine tune the use of voice-directed work, says Scott Powell, director of field and channel marketing and workflow solutions for Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions. The analytics package it offers—called Operational Acuity—looks at voice system data in the Cloud, to uncover patterns on how users are interacting with the system.
For example, analytics can tell if a worker might be adequate or good on his or her pick rate, but is using more “utterances” than normal back to the voice system. This sort of pattern might indicate a problem such as incorrect headset positioning, which if adjusted, might further help the productivity of the worker, says Powell.
Honeywell’s analytics solution has also been used to spot instances when the voice system’s commands have been sped up to a higher than recommended pace in an effort to achieve greater throughput, which has resulted in more repeat “say again” utterances. “In this case, they slowed the system down slightly, and by slowing it down, the workers actually went faster,” says Powell.
While analytics are proving useful, says Powell, voice solution providers also need to continue to enhance voice recognition. One thing Honeywell has done with its Vocollect voice solution is come up with a capability called Sound Sense, that leverages multiple microphones built into the headset whereby one mic focuses on the worker’s voice and the other is oriented on filtering out background noise.
Another recent enhancement that helps productivity, says Powell, is a function called Touch Connect that accelerates user log on and shift start up. Simply by touching their voice device to a powered-up headset, this feature automatically logs the user in to start the shift. “Our approach with improvements is to really think about what the worker is doing, on what they are dealing with in their environment, and then make sure that everything just works,” Powell says.
Voice also is being applied to other processes in a warehouse, including receiving and putaway, cycle counting, or packing and shipping stations.