3PL Provider Uses Voice Picking Solution to Increase Productivity

The solution has replaced Merrill Corp.’s paper-based system, resulting in a considerable decline in picking errors.

As a leading third-party logistics provider, accuracy is paramount for Merrill Corp., especially since its customers are held to strict regulatory standards to maintain privacy and confidentiality.

However, due to a rise in clients (approximately 30) and SKUs (17,000), Merrill encountered increasing difficulty as it attempted to maintain order accuracy while using its legacy paper-based system.

Merrill sought a more reliable, automated method to ensure order fulfillment accuracy and increase throughput: a voice picking solution.

The flexible solution offered Merrill an economical solution, with hardware alone costing 80% less than suppliers that require proprietary hardware and operating systems.

The ROI of voice picking

Picking is the most labor-intensive operation within the warehouse, making it one of the most popular supply chain processes to improve with voice technology. Much of the impact to the business comes from four key criteria:

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Increase workforce productivity
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Enhanced operational agility

The majority of benefits for using voice-directed solutions in picking operations come from the hands-free, eyes-up nature of voice technology.

Download: The Return-on-Investment of Voice Picking

Furthermore, the voice picking solution capitalizes on the experience level of Merrill employees. For the less-experienced operator, the system forces a quality check on each piece, requiring them to verify their presence in the correct location before receiving pick instructions. For expert workers, supervisors can set the system to require fewer validation steps and enable more advanced functionality, like combining multiple pieces of data into a single voice response.

Merrill’s workforce quickly adapted to the solution, particularly the younger employees who were excited to test out the new technology. Once familiar with the system, employees quickly developed a healthy competition to post the best accuracy and productivity statistics.

“What this means is that we can get employees up and running, and fully competent in less than one day, freeing up resources and significantly reducing the investment in training,” says Murray Muff, warehouse manager at Merrill.

Since installing the solution, Mike Zimny, director of operations for Merrill, has found that staffing requirements in areas equipped with the technology have been greatly reduced, primarily due to increased productivity.

“We were able to reduce staffing in those areas by almost 50%,” says Zimny. “Combined with the nearly 45% increase in productivity, we experienced a net production benefit of almost 100%.”

In addition to employee satisfaction and reduced staffing, Merrill’s adoption of the voice picking solution reduced errors by 65%, resulting in a rise in accuracy—Merrill’s most important parameter of quality—from 99.73 to 99.9%.

At the same time, Merrill has also increased throughput by 45%, while providing management with a view of employee productivity. Due to these positive implications, Merrill has also expanded its usage of the solution into additional workflows.

Related: Behind the Honeywell Acquisition of Intelligrated

Download the Paper

The Return-on-Investment of Voice Picking
To produce a solid business case - replete with ROI, internal rate of return, payback period, net present value and similar metrics - one must first quantify the financial benefits that reduce existing hard-dollar costs in labor, operating expenses, materials, inventory and fixed assets. Download Now!

Article Topics

Honeywell Intelligrated News & Resources

Time to integrate those robots
Empower Your Automation Journey at ProMat 2023
Conveyors and sorters surge ahead
Raise Your Operational Intelligence
Report: Automation “a Matter of Survival”
Boost Distribution and Fulfillment (D&F) D&F Efficiency and Minimize Costs
The Business Case for Tighter WMS and WES Integration
More Honeywell Intelligrated

Latest in Technology

Talking Supply Chain: Co-existing with the robots
Artificial Intelligence to Drive M&A Activity in Supply Chain
Cleo Announces New Supply Chain Management Tools for Integration Cloud Platform
Bank of America Introduces Digital Supply Chain Finance Platform
Talking Supply Chain: Is Generative AI the future of the supply chain?
Logility Acquires Generative AI Supply Chain Planning Firm Garvis
Perpetual Power Comes for AMRs
More Technology
Data Collection

Honeywell Scanning & Mobility manufactures high-performance data collection hardware, including rugged mobile computers and bar code scanners purpose-built for supply chain environments. Our history with warehousing and distribution customers traces to the 1980s as LXE. Honeywell has pioneered solutions in cold storage, ports, and vehicle-mount computers, and remain the global leader in those areas today. This expertise is complemented by our solutions for transportation & logistics markets, where our devices are trusted by the world’s largest delivery companies; and retail, where our innovative solutions are reshaping the point-of-sale and empowering multichannel fulfillment.

View Honeywell Intelligrated company profile


Featured Downloads

Becoming a Shipper of Choice
Becoming a Shipper of Choice
C3 solutions' scheduling software streamlines the shipping process.
Thinking Differently About Supply Chain Planning
Thinking Differently About Supply Chain Planning
Political landscapes shift overnight, global trade is constantly changing, consumers demand increasingly personalized service and smaller day-to-day challenges hit without warning. If...

Rapidly Improve the Performance of Your Warehouse Logistics
Rapidly Improve the Performance of Your Warehouse Logistics
The Rapid Performance Evaluation identifies opportunities and potential improvements in every aspect of warehouse logistics operations; performance, productivity, service, quality, and systems.
Resource Management System (RMS): How to Effectively Leverage Your Assets
Resource Management System (RMS): How to Effectively Leverage Your Assets
This guide provides an in-depth analysis of the potential of various resources available in a warehouse and how they can be utilized...
Sustainable Supply Chain Insights From PITT OHIO
Sustainable Supply Chain Insights From PITT OHIO
A whitepaper on supply chain insights gleaned at the LEED-certified gold Cleveland transportation and sustainability summit.