Voice Technology Enabled Warehouses = Happy Workforces

Staying ahead of your competitors, increasing productivity and keeping your workers happy can be a real juggling act. Is using the latest voice technology the answer?

Looking for ways to provide a better experience for your customers and keep your staff happy comes down to better customer service and more efficiency in your operations. Voice technology has been around for a while and the key benefits that have been identified are: increased accuracy, improved productivity, and decreased training time. While these are all huge selling points for voice, there is one benefit that often goes unmentioned a decrease in turnover – employee turnover.

Managers play a difficult balancing act of minimising employee turnover to avoid continuous training and re-training, adjusting processes to efficiently balance work volume and planning for demand fluctuation to accommodate seasonal spikes. Voice technology can scale to match changing business requirements and offers a solution to empower management with greater control, flexibility and visibility into operations on the floor.

Statistics show that companies with happy workers outperform their competitors by 20%

According to industry statistics, warehousing jobs are among one of the top industries to have employees quit rather than be fired or laid off, with a 13.7% industry turnover rate. When you factor in the cost of advertising for the open position and retraining a new hire, it can quickly become a large warehouse expense to lose members of the workforce. It is estimated that direct costs to replace an employee can reach as high as 60% of an employee’s annual salary. However, by voice enabling your workers, you will be able to increase visibility into the performance of each individual employee while creating a better, and more desirable, working environment.

The impact of voice technology on training:

In most cases a new user can be trained and begin using a voice picking or other voice application in less than a day, and most become proficient and achieve standard productivity and accuracy rates in less than a week. This is especially helpful for distribution centres that rely on large numbers of seasonal or temporary workers. Reduced training time saves labour costs and also eliminates training and mentoring time for team leads, supervisors and other staff who are responsible for training the new employees.

Some of the factors that promote ease of training and user satisfaction gains are:

  • Voice systems tell the associate what to do at every step and offer interactive help at any time. As one of our customers put it, it is like having a coach on the shoulder or driving with a GPS system.
  • There are no special function keys or codes to learn. Instructions are given verbally, and the new associate can get help at any time, just by asking for it.
  • Many customers have found that because associates using voice maintain a greater focus on their actions and surroundings, their safety records tend to improve.

Employee happiness is one of the keys to success. If you have employees that are engaged and happy, the company will grow and errors will be reduced, resulting in a better bottom line and good staff morale.

Voice technology can reduce injuries and increase ease of use

Voice directed work allows your workers to move around the warehouse with their hands free and eyes up, allowing them to stay alert and move safely through the warehouse. While the initial benefit seen from this is typically productivity, it also increases the likelihood that your workers will have the proper form when lifting heavy or cumbersome items. No longer will they struggle to hold a scanner or clipboard in their hand while attempting to lift, reducing the likelihood of injury to the hand, arm, and back.

The ease of use also tends to get strong positive feedback from employees, as they appreciate being able to do their jobs safer and more efficiently.

Identify and reward your best workers

The software provides real-time updates into your warehouse management system (WMS), and enables you to track your employees individually to monitor performance. This allows you to easily identify who your top performing workers are and reward them- whether it be with praise or a monetary prize. Often times, recognition of a job well done will be a motivating factor for workers to stay with a company, and even work harder.

Since you will be able to track employees on an individual basis with voice, you can now provide tailored goals to your workers that are motivating and attainable. Having something to work toward will often give employees a sense of accomplishment, and help them feel satisfied in their job.

Increased productivity and accuracy will reduce the cost of labour and errors, decreasing operational costs for the warehouse. Many companies will take advantage of this by utilising those savings to begin a compensation program, basing additional earnings on productivity and accuracy. With the ability to earn additional money on top of their base pay, many workers find incentive programs like these to be a reason to stay with a company.

Summary

It’s hard for distribution centre managers to ignore the power of voice technology inside the warehouse. Voice picking systems are becoming mainstream technology because of their ability to improve safety, efficiency and reduce costs associated with order picking and reduce turnover in staff.

Studies have shown that happy employees are not only more productive, they’re less likely to be absent from work. They’re also 10% more engaged and 40% more likely to be promoted.

High turnover rates have become a significant problem in the warehousing industry, but you can break the trend. By utilising the power of voice you have the potential to gain happy workers while bringing greater efficiency into your warehouse. Employees will enjoy the new, modern technology, and will enjoy the flexibility and control the system gives them over their assignments and the speed at which they work.

A voice enabled workflow solution starts by interfacing to the WMS. The voice system, which includes both the software that defines a voice enabled workflow and the hardware, or voice appliance, used by workers to interact with the WMS, must link with the WMS in order to receive work instructions, provide acknowledgements of tasks completed, and update inventory levels. To minimise costly customisation, the system should allow for multiple interface options, as WMS providers vary in their approach.

About us:

Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.

Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.

ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.

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