Other Voices: 10 tips for selecting a voice picking vendor


April 13, 2011 - MMH Editorial

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.



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!

Recent Entries

83% of surveyed manufacturers either already have IoT implementations in place or plans to deploy within a year.

While the Port of Oakland agrees that Saturday gate operations might ease congestion, they have a few "concerns" of their own

The four international marine container terminals at the Port of Oakland have announced they are developing a program to operate their terminal gates on Saturdays to reduce weekday congestion at the port.

Private fleet managers are facing a remarkable set of challenges in today's demanding business environment. The "from any place at any time" omni-channel fulfillment mindset is just one significant development that companies have had to adapt to in their quest to keep customers and business partners happy.

This is the first guaranteed weekly service direct to the U.S. from Singapore as part of the company’s initiative to enhance its LCL offerings serving Trans-pacific needs.

Article Topics

Blogs · Voice · Mobile & Wireless · AL Systems · All topics

About the Author

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 or email [email protected].

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.