Labor Tracking and Performance Metrics Bundled with Voice Directed Order Fulfillment Automation

Jennifer Maloney
August 12, 2016

Labor costs account for 50% to 70% of a distribution order fulfillment operation’s operating costs. Increasing worker productivity by 30% or more by implementing voice, especially in picking, can generate a fast return on investment many times in under one year.  This is especially true if the investment can provide labor tracking and measure worker picking productivity across work zones and track all work activity compared to settable work zone standards.  That’s exactly the benefits of the latest Gen3 Voice Directed Order Fulfillment Software.  The software simultaneously increases worker productivity and accuracy in picking and other related work tasks when interleaving replenishment and cycle counting with order picking duties.

A top tier Warehouse Execution and Control System (WES-WCS) that includes voice directed order fulfillment automation using a speaker-independent voice engine provides further operational savings in the DC by eliminating operator voice training time.  Even a temporary worker can be productive in basic pick or pallet build tasks in 10 minutes or less. With the voice applications built in labor tracking software, the picking and other work task performance measurements are time stamped, tracked, and the worker productivity is automatically reported, providing worker accountability. Each worker can be compared to work standards set by management to the work zone and work activity.

Productivity is King- Picking is the highest percentage of a distribution centers labor costs.  This is especially true in B to B and B to C internet operations where a large percentage of orders are mixed SKU pick and pack parcel shipments.  Deploying the most efficient Gen3 voice picking technology combined with pick to carton cartonization logic allows these orders to be directly picked to the shipping carton, a great way to lean-up pick and pack and eliminate unnecessary touches. Voice picking in combination with hands free barcode scanning is ideal for automating the pick to carton process.  Voice directs the operator’s pick path, verifies the SKU location, and validates the pick and put to carton process.  Voice is an instant productivity and accuracy boost with all the critical order data being automatically captured, time stamped and logged to the WES-WCS labor and operational database.  Voice picking also can provide the ability to monitor work zone order volume demand and move workers efficiently to the highest order activity zones.

Work zone standards- Gen3 Voice Picking integrated with labor management enables both real-time and historical reporting and analysis.  Labor tracking provides supervisors the ability to analyze individual workers, and provides a better training metric to guide new or underperforming workers The labor tracking and reporting module can time stamp each operator sequence in the operation to capture individual worker performance. Labor management tools allow you to immediately address and retrain employees that are not meeting work standards.  Performance reporting accounts for work zone assignment, any required value add tasks, and reports other interleaved worker tasks such as cycle counting, QC inspection and replenishment, or put-away.  Voice combined with labor tracking tools that measure a worker’s activity to a work zone standard and report task performance, provide the ability for an operation to recognize and reward workers who exceed productivity and performance standards.

Picking and SKU velocity movement data is captured and analyzed for work zone performance, SKU slotting, and re-profiling underperforming pick zones.  The reporting toolset measures worker productivity across different tasks and tracks labor to settable work standards.  With the ability to monitor people and process performance during both low and high demand periods, management can use operational data to perform labor planning for peak seasons, and have feedback in real-time to shift labor to work zones to avoid bottlenecks before they occur.

Zero-voice training- Peak seasons require many DC’s to rely on temporary workers.  Without simple to use speaker independent technology that provides instant worker productivity it becomes far more challenging to measure temporary workers performance, opening up the opportunity for increased shipping errors, retailer fines, and customer service costs that raise the potential to lose customers.  A Gen3 voice directed picking software system will automate directions with 99.99% accuracy.  Speaker Independent Voice is simple to use – an operator is proficient in 10 minutes or less, and is proven to work in the noisiest work environments.  D.C. managers no longer need to devote time and energy to train new or temporary employees when orders pick up – Voice picking software does the work for them and even tracks worker performance to ensure worker’s perform to standards.

Numina Group’s Real-time Distribution Software, RDS is the definition of a top tier WES-WCS and is unique due to its full featured Gen3 Voice Directed Order Fulfillment Software.  RDS includes a full feature pick, pack, and ship order management software suite along with the control of material handling equipment automation including conveyor sorting, ASRS management, document print, insert, and print and apply labeling of shipping, packing, and compliance labels.

RDS Voice is based on the world’s leading speaker independent top speech Lydia voice engine that requires zero voice training and works in even the noisiest distribution and manufacturing work environments.  RDS Voice is proven to improve accuracy to 99.99% in picking, kitting, receiving, replenishment and pallet building applications while increasing worker productivity by 30% to 50% or higher.

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