Jun 13, 2021
Marcus Jeffery

Digital Factory: 4 Considerations For Voice Solutions 

Technology
DigitalFactory
SmartManufacturing
supplychain
Marcus Jeffery, Regional Manager UK & Ireland, Ivanti Wavelink lists his top four considerations when adopting voice-enabled solutions

Voice-enabled solutions are integrated applications that have transformed the way warehouse and supply chain employees interact with their devices in the workplace. Voice-picking technology is a hugely valuable tool as workers can operate hands-free – optimising productivity and enhancing picking accuracy. 

Despite the benefits of voice-enabled solutions, adoption is still relatively low with only a quarter of warehouses using voice-directed picking. Supply chains are overwhelmed by the number of available solutions and often don’t know where to start on their journey to becoming a smarter, faster and more efficient organisation. 

So, how can supply chain businesses select the right voice-enabled solution to maximise the value of their technology investment? 

1. Integrating with All Existing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) 

The first step to a successful voice-enabled solution is to ensure the technology integrates easily into existing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) with minimum effort and cost. Advancements in WMS apps have eliminated the intensive, time-consuming installation and integration of advanced voice features into a business’ WMS. Supply chains shouldn’t have to abandon previous investments but rather enhance them to improve their overall efficiency. 

Businesses need a solution that can be incorporated into current and future systems quickly, ahead of onboarding employees that will leverage the technology. For instance, if a business decides to move from Windows-based devices to Android-based devices, it requires a voice-enabled app that works across both to avoid technology downtime and additional charges for proprietary voice hardware. 

2. Reducing Employee Training and Onboarding 

The objective of voice-enabled technology is to improve productivity and efficiency, but deploying a lengthy training and onboarding solution would be counterproductive. If businesses are having to allocate significant time and effort training staff to use the technology and vice-versa, they are cutting the valuable time employees could be spending in the warehouse accelerating business activity. 

The days of training a voice application to recognise a specific worker are over. In an era of high employee turnover, businesses are looking to minimise training investment and deploy a speaker-independent solution that is proven, ready to be deployed and can recognise any voice across any warehouse. 

3. Speaking the Global Language of Productivity

No matter where a warehouse is located in the world or where its employees are from, businesses must verify that their voice-enabled app can recognise users’ spoken responses in multiple languages, regardless of accents. A multi-language, multi-accent solution empowers workers to do their job effectively and avoids the need to repeat commands if misunderstood by the technology. 

Organisations should look to deploy a single voice enablement platform that they can scale to their growing warehousing needs in any corner of the world. For instance, during peak eCommerce seasons, supply chains require more employees in the warehouse to improve efficiencies and accelerate time to delivery. With a multi-language, multi-accent platform, businesses can scale their workforces to accommodate market fluctuations and have access to a wider pool of talent who can utilise the voice-picking solution. 

4. Multi-Modal 

For employees to get the most out of voice-enabled technology, they need the flexibility and versatility to move between apps and reduce errors. Using voice solutions where voice makes sense, users can switch between voice-directed and on-screen modes according to their operational tasks throughout the working day. Empowering workforces to make that switch as and when they need it will increase overall productivity and see drops in picking inaccuracy. 

Selecting the right voice-enabled solution can be an overwhelming decision because of the multitude of options available to supply chain businesses. Businesses should work with an experienced technology partner with the skills and expertise to accelerate deployment times and help businesses maximise the benefits of full-featured voice enablement.

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