25 Nov 2015
Over the next five years, nearly 9 out of every 10 distribution centers and warehouse are expected to incorporate voice directed mobile technology to their operations, according to to a survey released recently. And that’s if they aren’t using this technology already.
The survey, commissioned by the technology giant Honeywell in conjunction with research group YouGov, polled hundreds of material handling decision makers in the US and Europe. It found that the industry consensus is that voice-directed mobile technology — such as wearable smart devices — are going to be an integral part of practically every operation in the future.
Keeping Up with Industry Demands
Right now, there’s essential an arms race among retailers — both online and in the real world — when it comes to making it simpler for consumers to order products and delivering them in as little time as possible.
This has created not only an increased demand for products but higher consumer expectations for faster and more accurate delivery, according to Bruce Stubbs, Honeywell’s director of industry marketing.
“Consumers want their purchases delivered as quickly as possible, which puts extreme pressure on distribution center operators to deliver the right products to the right place at the right time,” Stubbs said in a news release announcing the survey results. “Connected workers using mobile solutions with data capture technology such as those delivered by Honeywell offer higher accuracy and productivity and have a positive impact on the bottom line.”
Rise of Mobile Technology
Each year, distribution centers lose an average of $400,000 due to picking errors. That’s serious money.
By investing even a percentage of that amount in such thing as mobile computers, printers, and scanners featuring more reliable data capture technology, warehouse and distribution operators can reduce mistakes, streamline operations, and increase productivity.
Workers using wireless headsets that connect them with dispatchers and managers who provide direction can improve both picking accuracy and speed.
Benefits to Omnichannel Distribution
According to the survey, about two-thirds of distribution centers already have converted to omnichannel distribution, which is when a single warehouse or distribution handles delivery to stores as well as directly to consumers. Data capture and tracking systems make it easier to fulfill orders from both retailers and consumers buying the company’s products online.
About a quarter of all distribution center worker worldwide don’t speak or understand the local language, according to the survey. So many companies are looking for technology solutions that can account for multiple languages and facilitate rapid onboarding and training of new non-native speaking workers.
Other survey findings include:
- 84% of information technology managers agreed that data capture technology has made a positive impact on their omnichannel distribution strategy.
- Warehouse and distribution centers in France have the highest percentage of sales coming from e-commerce consumers (54%).
- The highest percentage of respondents who said they plan on converting to voice solutions within the next five years came from Germany (94%), followed by the US (87%), the UK (82%), and France (78%).