Why Multi-Modal Tech is the New Shipping and Packing Industry Trend

With today’s warehouses facing increased pressure from customers to fulfill orders faster, one innovation that’s helping them cope is multi-modal technology.

Multi-modal technology combines multiple mobile and warehouse technologies to help workers perform tasks faster, more efficiently, and more accurately.

For example, multi-modal solutions are used in voice-directed picking, where workers wear lightweight mobile computers on their wrist, a headset to receive voice-enabled instructions from their picking software, and a wireless ring scanner to scan barcodes.

This approach keeps workers’ hands free to pick and pack goods while accessing an array of mobile functions at their fingertips. The end results are major gains in efficiency and accuracy.

For example, our partners at Zebra Technologies conducted a series of warehousing tests using a similar configuration, and Zebra found that pickers using multi-modal technologies were able to pick 16.7% faster, reduce order processing time by 15.4%, and make 38.5% fewer errors.

With these results, it’s no wonder that by 2020 nearly 60% of warehouses will be using multi-modal solutions for barcode scanning, RFID, and mobile computing.

Adding Voice Direction and Visual Prompts to Multi-Modal Solutions

When building a multi-modal solution, voice-directed workflows and visual prompts are important components. Speech direction provides more ways for workers to collect and access information by hearing and responding to voice prompts. These prompts help them follow the right steps, find information on their mobile computers, locate and verify the right items, scan barcodes, capture RFID tags, and more.

You can also use visual on-screen prompts and allow workers to choose their preferred mode for maximizing efficiency. For example, some workers might prefer to hear instructions, while others might prefer seeing them on a mobile computer display. Some might choose both.

You can use these voice and visual prompts to create applications and streamline any warehouse process—from receiving to picking and shipping.

Creating Voice-Directed Workflows with Zebra’s TekSpeech

Zebra makes it easy to create voice-directed workflows with its TekSpeech Pro 4 software. TekSpeech delivers all the benefits of voice-directed workflows while providing an integrated development environment (IDE) called WorkFlow Builder. This makes it easy to create custom workflows and maximize your productivity and efficiency with Zebra’s multi-modal technologies.

TekSpeech includes an advanced voice recognition engine that delivers outstanding speech accuracy, flexibility, and control. Prompts and responses are delivered in near real-time, with no training required.

It’s also 100% speaker-independent. Users can speak naturally, regardless of accent or speed of speech, and the high-quality voice synthesizer responds in natural-sounding human-style male and female voices.

TekSpeech also allows you to incorporate multiple languages within a single prompt, such as having your workflow in one language and a product or item name in another.

In addition, Zebra’s Speech Process Analyzer (SPA) captures time and event information from multi-modal speech-directed processes, giving you visibility into which commands are used, their frequency, and the time it takes to complete specific tasks. This helps you continuously improve your workflows and compare productivity between different shifts and locations, as well as identify workers who could benefit from additional training.

Building a complete multi-modal solution typically requires the right hardware and integration with a software solution for receiving, picking, and/or packing.

At Supply Chain Services, we can help you decide if multi-modal technology is right for you and help you choose the right hardware and software integration to get maximum results.

You can come and see some of these technologies first-hand at the MinnPack conference from October 30th through November 1st in Minneapolis. We’ll be in booth #631. Or you can contact us directly at 866-205-4310 or info@supplychainservices.com.

Yes! I want to track and move materials more efficiently

Our team of experts can show you how to leverage the latest technology and equipment to manage your business. Send the form and we’ll be in touch.

Or, call 866 205-4310