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Three Paths To Picking Productivity With Voice And Warehouse Optimization Solutions

Many distribution centers (DC) realize 40 percent productivity gains using voice in their picking processes, while others see improvements of 10 percent or less; this gap represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential labor cost savings. These variations show that the value of voice depends on factors beyond the technology itself.

In 1998, long before Siri and Alexa, Lucas Systems introduced Jennifer, the intelligent voice of mobile applications used for picking and other warehouse tasks. Since then, voice-directed warehouse applications have become a proven solution for improving worker productivity and accuracy in tasks throughout the distribution center.

Thousands of DCs use voice today, but industry research reveals that different facilities realize vastly different productivity results with the technology. The average productivity gain among Lucas customers using voice-directed picking as part of a mobile work execution system is 36 percent. The range of productivity improvements is from the low double-digits to greater than 100 percent. In a DC with 30 pickers, the difference in annual labor cost savings between 10 percent and 40 percent productivity improvements is more than $200,000.

Neither the average nor the range provides much help to IT, operations, or engineering professionals trying to estimate the gains they might see when implementing voice technology in their DC. This paper explains how different strategies to implementing voice lead to far different outcomes. We also provide two sample scenarios (case picking to pallet, and piece picking to cart) to calculate the productivity gains likely in a given DC.

This paper looks in depth at how different approaches to implementing voice determine the magnitude of productivity gains any facility may achieve. Use the guidelines in this paper to estimate the potential results in your DC.

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