08 Sep For Picking Success, Do Not Neglect Receiving
For Picking Success, Do Not Neglect Receiving
Automated multimodal solutions, such as voice, scanning, vision and image/video capture, have streamlined distribution center operations and provided significant increases to both speed and accuracy. Coupled with the use of advanced analytics, warehouse operations can perform at levels of efficiency previously unheard of.
When looking at distribution center operations, the benefits of voice automation are most often recognized in their application to item selection (picking). Whether through voice or, more recently, augmented reality smartglasses guiding a picker, the technology excels in this workflow and as a result it is the area that warehouse managers regularly look to implement the technology.
However, while multimodal solutions certainly lend themselves to picking success, their impact is limited if this is the only workflow to which they are applied. For true efficiency, a more holistic approach towards optimizing all areas of a distribution center should be taken, and that means making sure that prior operations leading to picking – receiving, put away and replenishment – are also taking advantage of multimodal increases to efficiency.
Success Starts with Receiving
A common disruption to picking proficiency is overlooking the steps preceding it. If receiving, put away and replenishment are executed improperly, inventory could be placed in incorrect locations. This lack of inventory accuracy will hinder picking efficiency and if not corrected prior to shipping will most likely result in customer satisfaction issues.
As the first stage of inventory entering a distribution center, the importance of properly streamlining receiving cannot be understated. Utilizing multimodal solutions can ensure that receiving is performed correctly. Benefits include improved accuracy with voice as well as the ability to scan and image capture serial numbers, measurements and notes.
Using multimodal technology in put away and replenishment allows distribution centers to prioritize tasks, batch multiple tasks, avoid shorts and skips, perform added verification for 100% accuracy and identify pallets or products.
For example, Voxware is implementing multimodal solutions for a company facing significant inventory management challenges. Their existing process involves employees haphazardly finding an open location for products, writing a note of where it has been placed, walking to a computer station, inputting the information, printing a label and finally walking back to affix the label to the product location. Beyond being inefficient, this process also presents many opportunities for human error and is a direct cause of the substantial accuracy deficit they are facing in picking.
The Voxware VMS solution being implemented automates receiving and put-away. The enhanced system allows the employee to scan and capture a location, record quantity, then scan the SKU for validation at the put. In those series of actions, the location, quantity and SKU are sent to the warehouse management system as an immediate update.
By addressing the time spent getting the item to the correct location and the fact that it is inventoried correctly, the benefits put the picking process in the position for success.
Supporting Multimodal through Analytics
The implementation of an analytics solution like VoxPilot to allow for real-time management of productivity can further bolster the efficiency of receiving, put away and replenishment, optimizing all subsequent warehouse operations including picking, packing, loading and cycle count.
Designed to make sense of the information gathered from the automation technology like voice, scanning and vision, VoxPilot provides diagnostics to reveal the why behind what’s going on, predictions to inform about what’s to come and prescriptive suggestions as to what you should do.
Supervisors using VoxPilot can access worker productivity metrics through a management console and coordinate activity, assign work, receive alerts if an employee’s output drops below their norm and oversee the entire workforce’s efficiency in a quick, easily digestible format. VoxPilot can even provide an opportunity to respond to predictive data like future weather and traffic reports to help the distribution center manager adjust picking, packing, loading and shipping appropriately.
Combining analytics with multimodal technology can ensure that the stages of receiving, put away and replenishment are streamlined for maximum efficiency, which leads to similar success in later stages of picking, packing, loading and cycle count. Interested to learn more or try a product demo to see how Voxware solutions can make your job easier? Contact us today to see how we can help.