08 Dec Research Shows Automation Trailing eCommerce Surge
Findings from the 2020 Warehouse Operations and Trends – an annual survey conducted by Peerless Research Group – reveal that investments in warehouse automation technology are lagging the recent surge in eCommerce activity. However, respondents understand the need for such solutions and many plan to invest in automation in 2021 in response to the challenges faced over the past year.
Survey findings echo what Voxware has heard from its prospects throughout 2020 – companies have been scrambling throughout the year to make adjustments, keep employees safe and manage growing customer demands.
For the second consecutive year, the top challenge (53%) faced by those surveyed was the ability to attract and retain quality hourly employees. The second most frequently cited issue impacting current operations was challenges tied to the surge in eCommerce (37%). Those two issues combined have forced companies to quickly realize manual processes are not a long-term solution for delivering a superior customer experience.
Distribution center technology that had been planned for a future investment in accuracy and speed has suddenly become urgently essential to business success and survival. Voice automation consistently helps warehouses operate 30 percent more efficiently.
Voice technology is proven to optimize workflows and employee performance for all distribution center functions. From receiving and put away to packing and loading shipments for delivery (and all processes in between), voice-enabled workflows remove time and errors from warehouse activities. Not only must companies ensure that supply chains can execute shipments on time and accurately, but they must also be able to ensure fast and convenient returns processing.
Voxware automates all aspects of the supply chain through its multimodal Voice Management Suite (VMS). The flexibility of a multimodal solution allows workers to use the best tools for the task and individual, whether that be voice, scanning or augmented reality.
Voice automation also produces a drastic reduction in training time for new employees and seasonal hires. Through VoxTempo™, Voxware’s Natural Language voice recognition technology, Voxware enables new hires to complete onboarding and time to full effectiveness in minutes. Without the need to train a voice profile, workers can be on the floor working their very first day on the job.
Another area that significantly increased year-over-year for survey respondents is the use of data and metrics. Overall, 63% are using data collection to gauge productivity, up 7% from last year. The complexity of the supply chain makes it an ideal use case for discovering competitive advantages through data analytics tools. Considering the crucial role that the supply chain plays in a company’s cost structure and profitability, the insights gleaned by this data represents noteworthy implications to the bottom line.
Supply chain analytics are particularly adept at helping distribution center operations react to changing conditions quickly and adjust staffing as necessary. Voxware’s enterprise supply chain analytics software, VoxPilot®, aggregates and analyzes internal and external data sources and presents real-time and past DC activity, predicts future events and helps users navigate the right course of action to immediately resolve problems that may surface.
VoxPilot helped Puerto Rico Supplies Group address a number of inefficiencies in its distribution operations. Not only did it improve performance management issues, but it also achieved greater productivity numbers. Through VoxPilot’s integration with Puerto Rico Supplies Group’s routing system, the company eliminated manual tasks and reduced routing staff needs by 25 percent.
While the pace of change in distribution centers has been increasing for years, the dramatic growth of eCommerce activity in 2020 has forced many companies to ramp up their efforts to meet customer demands.
If your organization is struggling to meet overall customer demand, the time is now to contact Voxware for an evaluation of how voice automation and a robust analytics program can streamline your operation.