How SAP Helps Realize Voice-enabled Warehouse Operations

SAP helps increase warehouse management productivity with voice picking!

Voice technology has been there for a while and is here to stay. Its increasing adoption among warehouse distribution centers has led to increased accuracy, improved productivity, and training time reduction. Supply chain executives report attaining a 50% decrease in picking errors and a typical ROI in less than one year with voice integration. 

In retail warehouses, complex facilities such as inventory control are vital, with several picks to be performed every hour. The warehouse employees should be an efficient and accurate while ‘picking’ as wrong picking can lead to incorrect deliveries and affect customer satisfaction.

To improve staff accuracy and speed of pick, warehouses can consider “Voice Picking” technology. Voice picking is an extension of the Warehouse Management System (enhanced by additional software and hardware) that allows transferring instructions to the warehouse operators using earphones and microphones. Voice Picking uses a wearable computer that includes a headset and microphone so that the order pickers can be instructed on what items to pick from where and later confirm their actions verbally into the Warehouse Management System (WMS).

Read more: How Robotics in Logistics Helps Improve Supply Chain Efficiency 

Robotics in Logistics

Benefits of Voice-picking

A voice-picking system creates a hands-free, heads-up workflow. Unlike the traditional warehouse order picking, where you need to stop to read, scan, or punch keys, the voice-picking system allows users to listen and speak efficiently. Some of its benefits include:

  • Productivity improvement
  • Reduction in errors by 25% or more
  • Decrease in accidents as operators rely on eyes and hands-free technology and hence are more aware of the surroundings
  • Cuts training time

How is voice-enabled warehouse operation helping during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the last few months, warehousing and logistics have been hit hard. While there was enormous pressure on the warehouse to execute deliveries quickly due to increasing customer expectations, COVID-19 has caused further disruption. 

Logistic companies have had to evaluate options and make changes across transportation modes, considering delays, interruptions, and price changes.

According to a survey from August to September 2020, about 32,200 jobs were added to the warehouse and storage sector. Thanks to voice and device technology! Voice integration helped address the labor shortage and equipped new workers. Here are a few benefits of voice-enabled warehouse management. 

1. Efficient onboarding

New workers can pick up their barcode scanner or mobile device and begin their work with minimal onboarding time. Latest device upgrades offer improved designs and user-friendly interfaces. Whether a Windows 10, iOS, or Android device, workers can choose the device they like. This flexibility helps simplify the training and onboarding process of new workers, optimizing workforce management, and making it a more efficient experience.

New workers can get started quickly without the need for lengthy training processes. With voice-enabled applications, you can reduce the training time from several hours to just a few minutes.

2. Increased productivity

Voice capabilities are helping workers to keep pace with the high volume of orders. It helps them cope with the increased pressure to meet soaring demands, reduce training time, and use the hand-held devices of their comfort.  

3. Higher accuracy

With hands-free wearables and voice picking, workers don’t need to stop frequently to check their devices. It will reduce errors and allow pickers to complete more orders within the same timeframe with improved speed and accuracy.

4. Improved safety

The coronavirus has made “contactless” mandatory. Voice picking can eliminate many physical touchpoints that can lead to virus exposure. Minimizing surface contact is one of the best ways to protect warehouse workers.

Read more: Contactless services: The new retail norm


How does SAP help voice-picking?

SAP’s open architecture supports several voice integration methods that help users achieve immense productivity and accuracy. If your business is running on SAP’s Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) solution or Warehouse Management (WM), voice can be easily integrated. It results in the seamless integration of ERP with your warehouse management solutions and voice. Ultimately, the accuracy, productivity, comfort, and safety of all your warehouse processes will improve. It helps distribution centers deliver on time, achieve deadlines, and scale.

Read more: SAP Preconfigured Solutions Boost Efficiency Among Industries 

Today, voice integrated into SAP has become an essential tool for many businesses. SAP’s voice picking provides superior ergonomics, eliminates distractions, and allows users to focus on the task. The voice technology is specifically designed to provide voice recognition in noisy environments. The noise cancellation ability helps lower warehouse background noise, such as truck horns, pallet drops, and conveyor system mechanism.

Additionally, the technology helps overcome language barriers as most systems come in more than 40 languages allowing users to interact with SAP most naturally and effectively.

Voice with SAP can quickly scale with your business both when your business grows and when you need to accomplish seasonal peaks. With SAP’s explicit instructions, you can add new employees’ onboarding time and capacity without any complex changes to the given infrastructure.

Download Our Case Study: How Fingent automated integration between SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA

To conclude

As the economy battles to overcome uncertainty, using safe, cost-effective solutions, embracing advanced technologies like voice-enabled applications are imperative to sustain. Additionally, with COVID-19 showing no signs of ending soon and the world shifting to contactless shopping, embracing voice-enabled applications makes sense from an economic and physical safety standpoint.

No other technology has impacted the logistics and shipping industry like voice in the recent past. Extend your logistics and fulfillment processes by making voice technology a vital ingredient of your company’s IT strategy. Contact us now to get started. 



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    About the Author

    Vinod Saratchandran

    Vinod has conceptualized and delivered niche mobility products that cater to various domains including logistics, media & non-profits. He leads, mentors & coaches a team of Project Coordinators & Analysts at Fingent.

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