Training a new warehouse employee takes, on average, 6-8 weeks to get them up to speed, which means warehouses are spending thousands of dollars on onboarding costs per new hire. With labor at its highest cost ever, warehouse picking accounts for 60 percent of operational costs - millions of dollars per year, per warehouse.
heads-up display technology
Your order fulfillment speed and capacity have a huge impact on your supply chain and long-term sustainability. Automating and optimizing your workforce and inventory can not only reduce your costs, but increase your customer satisfaction and competitive edge.
Over the last year, retailers have had their resiliency and supply chains tested in response to COVID. As online orders surged with stay-at-home mandates, companies struggled to meet demand with a decreased workforce and broken supply chain. Over a year later, as cities open back up, many retailers are wondering "what's next?"
Voice picking, also known as voice-directed picking and Pick-by-Voice (PbV), is a super-efficient hands-free order picking method where the picking associate wears a microphone-equipped headset, used to verify items and their quantities. The multi-modal functions mean that 2-way communication is often enabled, so pickers can respond to operator queries when necessary. This high-demand picking method is being adopted by retail distribution centers.
With more retailers embracing eCommerce and the omnichannel experience, warehouse sizes are becoming more dynamic. There are massive warehouses like Walmart’s latest 630,000 square foot distribution center, and smaller modular warehouses called micro-fulfillment centers, built for the sole purpose of fulfilling in-store deliveries and curbside pickups.
The rise of buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), microfulfillment centers, and eCommerce has many companies rethinking their fulfillment strategies to ensure they remain competitive. Speed, accuracy, and efficiency issues compound as order increase, making it more essential than ever for companies wanting to increase business to adapt.
Order picking accounts for 55% of the annual $60 billion spent on warehouse operations in the United States. Reducing human-induced errors in the order fulfillment process can save warehouses and distributors significant costs. We investigate a radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based verification method wherein wearable RFID scanners, worn on the wrists, scan passive RFID tags mounted on an item’s bin as the item is picked.
This method is used in conjunction with a heads-up display (HUD) smart glasses to guide the user to the correct item. We compare this RFID verification method to pick-to-light with button verification, pick-to-paper with barcode verification, and pick-to-paper with no verification. We find that pick-to-HUD with RFID verification enables significantly faster picking, provides the lowest error rate, and provides the lowest task workload.