Posted September 6, 2011 by
Nothing is constant in a warehouse except change. The best warehouse managers are always looking to improve - they not only adapt to change, they embrace it. The warehouse is dependent on technology, so change-responsive software is a must-have. Without flexibility, business requirements may change and you can’t change with them. To keep up with a fluid industry, software must be "forgiving" - as in, it allows you to change your mind while not incurring expensive consequences.
In voice picking, forgiving software is the new necessity. That’s because voice picking operates on the front lines, where warehouse labor costs are highest and improvements deliver the most payback. What is forgiving voice picking software? Maybe the best way to understand is to consider its opposite.
"Unforgiving" voice software comes with a high cost of change. Custom-coded solutions are always unforgiving. When software is developed through a coding process, it cannot be altered without reopening the source code – a serious investment of time and money. This makes companies prolong the initial deployment project, as great emphasis must be given to nailing down the specifications in detail to avoid future changes. But this approach is just putting off the problem while adding cost to the project. When voice picking software is resistant to change, the implications for business can be dire. Missed opportunities start to pile up, derailing innovation and suffocating profits. Smart warehouse managers often find new ways to increase efficiency, but these ideas don’t get off the drawing board when the cost to make the change is higher than the potential savings. Unforgiving software keeps enterprises locked in to the status quo when they could be taking the operation to the next level.
And most importantly, there is a risk of loss of competitive advantage. The high cost of change stymies some companies while the competition moves on to new technology. Logistics prowess that was once a leg up now holds the organization back because software is as unforgiving and hard to change as concrete.
Thankfully, the industry is not stuck with these shortcomings. Forgiving voice picking software enables a company to embrace change and shed the fear of its costs. It empowers companies to pursue maximized productivity and efficiency because change is inexpensive and fast. Forgiving software even gives enterprises a competitive advantage – they can more speedily evolve their operation while others struggle to keep up.
So what is forgiving software for voice picking? What are the key characteristics? And how can you recognize it?
In the next three posts, we will examine the three dimensions where forgiveness is key to success with voice picking software:
- Business Processes
- WMS Interface
- Hardware Interaction
With flexibility in these areas, voice picking software is no longer just technology – it’s a power tool for logistics executives and a competitive weapon for their companies.
Steve Gerrard is Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Planning at Voxware.