Other Voices: 10 tips for selecting a voice picking vendor

Voice Picking is one of the most scalable and configurable order fulfillment solutions on the market. Here's how to get it right.

By ·

Editor’s Note: The following column by Lloyed Lobo, director of business development for AL Systems, is part of Modern’s new Other Voices column. The series, published on Wednesdays, will feature ideas, opinions and insights from end users, analysts, systems integraters and OEMs. Click on the link to learn about submitting a column for consideration.

Voice Picking is one of the most scalable order fulfillment solutions on the market and can be configured for virtually any application in your distribution center. Below are 10 useful tips to consider when selecting a Voice Picking vendor.

1. Analyze your needs. Voice Picking is best used for applications with large number of SKUs located throughout the distribution center, that require few reaches per unit of travel

2. Ensure your Voice Picking vendor understands warehouse and distribution center operations. Your potential vendors need to be familiar with these types of operations, not just the hardware and/or software they’re offering. Be sure they know what your associates do on a daily basis and understand the efficiencies you are trying to create.

3. Don’t buy more than you need. No vendor should require that you change your current shipping, receiving, and warehousing processes. Don’t make these alterations unless they improve operational efficiency and productivity.

4. Explain the uniqueness of your warehouse operation. Not all picking, packing, and receiving operations are the same, so the vendor must be able to accommodate your warehouse or distribution center. For example, is your warehouse climate-controlled? Are items shelved, containerized, or palletized? Do you provide cross-docking services, and will the Voice Picking equipment work in these areas? The vendor needs to consider these factors when planning your solution.

5. Take stock of mobile computing devices. If you are happy with your current hardware, ask if the vendor will allow you to keep and utilize it. Be sure you can still leverage your existing vendor relationships.

6. Consider the ease of integration with existing systems. How well the Voice Picking solution will integrate with your warehouse control system, warehouse management system, and other solutions? What if one of those systems changes? Make sure you can easily integrate systems now and in the future and are not limited by custom integration software.

7. Ask for references. As with any service provider, find out how the vendor treats its customers and handles problems.

8. Investigate the company’s financial stability. Make sure the vendor will be able to meet your warehouse needs now as well as in the future. Ask about profitability, current and prospective customers, future plans, and customer service.

9. Look for excellent voice-recognition technology. Choose a vendor that offers high-quality solutions, and make sure the technology can filter out background noise. The voice engine must be able to “hear” and distinguish the speaker’s voice over all other noise.

10. Don’t let language become a hurdle. You can select speaker-dependent solutions and get core vocabularies in a variety of languages. If your workers comprise multiple ethnicities and speak several languages, make sure the Voice Picking solution will understand what they say.


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management market, and in marked contrast to 2016, paints a rosier outlook for career placement and advancement.
Download Today!
From the April 2017 Issue
While adoption rates have remained relatively flat, yard management systems (YMS) are helping logistics operations turn that important space between the loading dock and the gate into a vital link in the supply chain.
Information Management: Wearables come in for a refit
2017 Air Cargo Roundtable: Positive Outlook Driven by New Demand
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Maximize Your LTL Driver Adherence with Real-time Feedback
This webinar shows how companies are using real-time performance data to optimize the scheduling of their city fleets, as well as the routing of their standard, accelerated and time-critical shipments.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...

ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...