With any technology implementation there are a list of things that will make or break a project. After completing hundreds of voice implementations, we have seen a few common mistakes that tend to hold back voice implementations – or bring them to an abrupt end. Read on to find out the five most common mistakes that are made when implementing voice, and what you can do to make sure you don’t make them.
1. Choosing a voice solution based on price rather than functionality
There are a variety of voice providers, all providing their own versions of voice-directed software and claiming the same results. So all voice is the same, right? And if all voice is the same, you should just go with the cheapest option.
Unfortunately, all voice solutions are not created the same, and choosing based on price will often leave you short on some of the functionality and results you are looking for. Some solutions may struggle to recognize your workers voice if there is a forklift going by, or if they have a strong accent. Others may sell a base solution that isn’t modifiable, meaning you are stuck with the stock version they sell everyone, regardless of the needs of your warehouse.
While these solutions may cost less in the beginning, they often show their flaws when you are counting on them the most, like during your peak seasons. The price tag may be enticing, but the long term results and functionality should not be ignored.
2. Failing to create a change management plan
The human side of any technology implementation is incredibly important, but since voice tends to directly impact those who work on the warehouse floor, their participation will be key. Failing to recognize this can lead to employee resistance, union roadblocks, training inefficiencies, and ultimately, a delayed ROI.
3. Not considering the migration ability of voice
In mistake number one, the differences between voice solutions was clarified. While most of the differences focus on functionality, there is one major difference that tends to impact voice investments 5-10 years after they have been installed- adaptability.
The right voice solution is adaptable, scalable, and is set up for long term use, which means it may outlive your other business systems. If you choose the wrong voice system, or one that is specific to a certain ERP or WMS, you may find yourself with a voice system that can no longer integrate with your supply chain software, and your investment will be lost.
4. Inability to measure success
The inability to measure success is a mistake that tends to cripple projects entirely, and often change voice from a profitable project into a loss. For the most part, this happens to companies that have heard about voice, read about the improvements it can create, and decide to implement voice without doing the work to make sure it is a good fit for the operation.
Having a solid understanding of current metrics and problems that voice will solve are the key to justifying the investment, and without clear targets (like a 25% increase in productivity or 80% reduction in errors), there is no way to build a clear ROI in advance.
As a result, when the company is pressed to justify the original purchase, expand voice into new locations or workflows, or even motivate employees, there is no sufficient proof that voice made any difference. This often leads management to believe the project was a waste of time and money, regardless of the untraceable savings that may have occurred.
5. Failing to get buy in from upper management
Many companies see voice as a warehouse solution, and assume that decisions should only involve warehouse personnel. While involving warehouse personnel is incredibly important, getting upper management’s approval will make or break the project.
Since they tend to have large decision making power, failing to include them in the implementation planning can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and ultimately having the project called off.