Aberdeen Group Reports on the State of Voice Picking

Posted January 27, 2012 by Steve Gerrard

Aberdeen Group recently did a survey of voice users that shed some light on how far voice picking has come in the past decade. Their report makes for very interesting reading.  In this post and several to follow, we will talk about the key findings.

First, the good news:  The report showed that voice picking still provides high customer satisfaction across the board.  Warehouses are seeing improved worker productivity and better shipment accuracy with voice picking when compared to their previous picking methods.  The advantages of voice picking are apparent and consistent with what we’ve come to expect.

However, some of Aberdeen’s findings may have surprised a few people. At Voxware, we’ve been aware of the underlying trends, and it is interesting to see them confirmed by independent research.

The survey revealed that users of proprietary voice systems are highly frustrated by the cost of change.  Issues with rigid software structures, a lack of hardware options, and startling price tags for refreshes are making some voice users wonder whether their older voice systems have seen their last days.

The Aberdeen survey identifies a few categories of concern that we will look at in-depth in the forthcoming posts:

  • Device-related costs
  • Voice application cost to change
  • Voice-WMS interface costs

Aberdeen found that a majority of voice users are going to use their next hardware refresh as an opportunity to reevaluate their current voice solution.  The results of the report ring true to us - an increasing number of proprietary voice users have approached Voxware about a productized software solution.  We think there are an increasing number of discussions like these because of a “refresh wave” that is sweeping through the community of legacy voice users, and the cost to refresh is significant enough that enterprises are now looking at alternatives.

It is interesting to speak with these companies, because they have experienced first-hand the benefits of hands-free, voice-directed work, and they are not about to go back to an inferior method of order fulfillment.  But the strategic thinkers among them are looking for ways to take their voice operation to a new level.  And as the Aberdeen Group report shows, dealing with the cost of change is a big part of it.

More next time, when we look at getting a handle on voice hardware costs.


Steve Gerrard is the Vice President of Strategic Operations and Marketing at Voxware.


Posted by Taron Caine at 01-27-12 18:46

Company: Working Machines Corporation

Contact: Email the author

Thanks for offering this survey to the industry.

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