New Report on Warehouse Voice Recognition Systems

Latest Supply Chain Review from ProLogis states that VR is most important technological breakthrough in warehouse operations since advent of barcode scanning

Denver — March 13, 2006 — ProLogis, a global provider of distribution facilities and services, today released the latest edition of the ProLogis Supply Chain Review entitled, Voice Recognition Systems — Technology at Work in Today's Warehouse/Distribution Facilities.

The report, authored by Kenneth Ackerman, a warehousing and logistics consultant, contended that VR systems are arguably the most important technological breakthrough in warehouse operations since the advent of barcode scanning.

Ackerman explains that VR enables two-way communications between computerized warehouse management systems and warehouse workers equipped with special headsets. It can be used to automate command-and-control of a variety of tasks, including order selection, receiving, sorting and truck-loading. Unlike alternate technologies, such as barcode scanning or so-called pick-to-light systems, VR leaves employees' eyes directly focused on their assigned task and their hands unencumbered.

According to the report:

  • VR systems generally result in a wide variety of operational improvements, including lower error rates, higher productivity, reduced customer returns and more accurate inventory accounting;

  • The core technology behind VR systems has been around long enough that most major bugs have been eliminated;

  • Contrary to widely-held assumptions, warehouse workers are generally receptive to using the technology.

Most vendors indicate that an investment in a voice recognition system will be paid back in 12 to 18 months, wrote Ackerman. Typical testimonials call for a 60 percent reduction in picking errors, productivity increases ranging from 11 percent to 40 percent over six months, reductions in training time from days to hours, and a substantial improvement in inventory accuracy.

Leonard Sahling, ProLogis first vice president of global research, noted, Ken Ackerman is an astute observer of the warehouse industry, with years of experience monitoring its ongoing evolution. We're pleased to present his findings in this new report, which provides a detailed look at how VR systems are applied in warehouse settings and the benefits they can deliver to facilities operators.

Sahling said ProLogis' Global Research Department monitors, analyzes and reports on trends and dynamics in both real estate and supply chain management, drawing from industry data and primary research conducted by company analysts and a network of affiliated academics and other professionals.

Past issues of the Supply Chain Review have focused on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, redesigning supply chain networks, offshore outsourcing and other related topics.



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