A Benefit Analysis: The Advantages of Multi-modal Speech-Directed Solutions

In the online direct-to-consumer world, retailers, consumer packaged goods manufacturers and their supply chain partners are faced with tremendous challenges. By Zebra Technologies

July 11, 2016

This is driving a massive increase in order volumes and shipping locations. And customers expect fast shipping overnight and two-day shipping has become the new norm. As a result, warehouses need to find a way to streamline and error-proof every aspect of order fulfillment and inventory management.

Voice Directed Picking (VDP) solutions have helped address these challenges by increasing productivity — the ability to listen and respond to voice-based directions allows workers to process tasks in a more natural way, successfully decreasing task cycle times. But today’s order-of-magnitude increase in order volume and zero-tolerance for errors in order fulfillment are overwhelming, leaving today’s warehouses looking at new solutions that can provide a much needed boost in productivity.

Multi-modal speech-directed solutions can help solve the problem. Like VDP solutions, multi-modal speech-directed solutions also utilize spoken instructions from the system. However, multi-modal speech directed solutions enable additional input modes that are available on wearable systems to simplify and increase task completion speed and accuracy.

For example, for workers picking multiple orders simultaneously, in addition to providing voice instructions to the next pick location, a diagram of where   to place the item can also be displayed on the screen. Instead of speaking to verify that the right item was selected, workers can simply scan the barcode or RFID tag on the item, shaving seconds off of the validation process and ensuring pick accuracy. And the touchscreen enables workers to enter information with a press of a finger, instead of waiting for the completion of a voice prompt.

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