Voice Picking and Put-Away
Voice Data Collection – UX on the Edge
Supply chain operations managers rely on ERP systems to manage their complete warehouse operations more effectively.
87% of managers in a recent study by Zebra Technologies indicated the need to increase warehouse productivity just to stay competitive. Changes can be slow and costly to implement. Where can a warehouse operations manager turn to within their operations to wring out even more speed and productivity from their baseline operations?
The Mobile User Experience (UX)
An Untapped Advantage
One area of ERP workflow that is ripe for productivity gains is the User Experience on the mobile data-entry device, or mobile RF barcode scanner. These mobile devices may be handheld barcode scanners, forklift-mounted barcode scanners, rugged tablets, wearables, or other mobile computers employed to interface with your ERP system. Although your ERP system is providing the back-end logic to control all operations, it is on this mobile device UX (“the Edge”) where the rubber meets the road. These mobile devices determine how, when, and where material handlers move product through the supply chain. Therefore, making this UX more efficient can extract huge productivity gains from existing ERP implementations.
An Example of Common Challenges
Assume a material handler is in the warehouse using a traditional barcode scanner to connect to the ERP system. In many cases the user interface is HTML or browser-based. As such, the handler’s interface to the ERP system is via some type of HTML browser on the mobile barcode scanner.
Right away this presents several challenges. First off, the screen real estate on all barcode devices is radically different from a PC or laptop screen. As such, the workflow screens presented on the barcode device are limited to fit only a select amount of information on the screen. This means material handlers may need to scroll or advance the screen to find the parts of the page they need to execute their current workflow. In some cases, time spent by the material handler navigating on the device is NOT productive, and back-end automation may not be permissible.
Many standard ERP workflow screens supplied by the ERP solution itself are generic, meaning they present ALL options to a worker or handler that may only need specific options at a certain step. This leaves the material handler struggling to remember exactly which menu option to select at a given step, and also again increases the likelihood of introducing errors—errors that cost time and money.
For these reasons and many more—including generic keyboards that only degrade productivity—huge gains can be realized from re-creating the UX on the mobile barcode scanner at the point of entry for the material handlers. These gains have been proven to increase speed, reduce error rates, and even cut training time completely
To further facilitate productivity with new mobile devices and processes, data capture must be streamlined. You don’t want workers pinching and zooming due to page-fit issues, as this takes them away from the task at hand—whether they’re working with a handheld barcode scanner, lift-mounted device, or enterprise tablet. What’s more, many warehouses employ seasonal workers to manage peaks and troughs, often not operating in their primary language, and it’s evident that warehouse digitization is at a tipping point, and could cause more problems than solutions. For optimal productivity, businesses need accurate WMS integration to help ensure shipments come and go on time to maintain customer satisfaction.
On modern mobile barcode devices, the Ivanti Velocity software toolset presents a more efficient and productive UX on SAP ECC 6.0 and SAP S/4HANA IM, WM, and EWM Telnet (SAP Console) and ITSmobile (HTML) applications. It provides all the following and more:
- Changing the UX from a key-based interface to a touchscreen-friendly user experience.
- Creating enhanced screens on Android, iOS, and Windows 10 mobile devices.
- Removing unneeded screen items to keep material handlers on task.
- It can even voice-enable SAP IM, WM or EWM workflows to make the entire experience voice input/output.
Sophisticated Automation and Integration
The Ivanti Velocity software toolset further enables BCCD to customize SAP mobile software transaction screens for users. This personalized formatting helps reduce redundant menu options, reducing scroll times and rescuing users from being overwhelmed with options. In a warehouse or factory setting, users may only need one or two choices. Paring down what’s on screen helps focus attention, and prevents mistaken clicks that slow the picking process considerably. This can be a particular challenge in mature warehouse operations, as many operatives don’t like change. But with such an easy-to-use interface, they face no teething problems in their day-to-day operations. With the additional benefits of voice integration with the Ivanti Speakeasy software toolset, which doesn’t require training time to recognize different accents, dialects, or languages, BCC Distribution and Ivanti offer the tools to make your digitization achieve best-in-class status.
The move to modernize facilitates this even further, as the Ivanti Velocity software toolset is much more customizable than Windows. This means businesses can choose to remove buttons that don’t serve a purpose for the job at hand, making it easier to log on or make data entries by having the numeric or alphabetic keyboard appear when automatically needed, and highlighting certain buttons by increasing their size and color. This intuitive display minimizes training time while simultaneously improving pick and put-away rates.
This enhanced mobile user experience and display can also help seasonal or temporary workers who may not be as familiar with what certain picking or put-away functions look like. BCCD’s mobile data collection software solutions leveraging Ivanti’s toolset and with direct SAP integration, there is also the opportunity to display additional pictures, if applicable, to help operatives identify the correct item.
As a very basic example, if a box of oranges is selected to be shipped, an image of oranges can be displayed in addition to the item number and location in the warehouse. To do this, the Ivanti Velocity TE Client reads the article number from the SAP console, accesses another database where corresponding images are stored, and plays the corresponding image back to the end device. This is a huge advantage for users and can be implemented with the SAP software at the client-side. This functionality works both ways—and can therefore help with documenting damaged goods—by enabling users to send and store a photo of the damage on the system.
BCCD and IVANTI WAVELINK Trust the Market Leaders Trusted by SAP S/4 HANA
Since the inception of the barcode, Ivanti Velocity has been providing warehouse solutions to enterprises, taking their operation to the next level. Despite warehouses increasing in size and complexity, BCCD can make your operations easier thanks to our experience, expertise, and vast knowledge. We can help you save money, drive productivity, and reduce errors with SAP integration, thanks to our fast and reliable direct-connect and real-time software that delivers solutions simply not possible with other providers.
BCC Distribution is an SAP Silver Partner with SAP Certified solutions using SAP console and ITSmobile, so we can work with you to help find-tune your picking and put-away operations. Whether you’re using Terminal Emulation or Web Browser-based applications, or just looking for a more modern and innovative solution, the Ivanti Velocity framework delivers the needed technology for BCCD to automate and achieve your warehouse of the future.
Contact BCC Distribution to learn how voice can improve Picking and Put Away for your warehouse logistics.