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Voice Technology in the Warehouse 2009-2019:
Has Anything Really Changed?

The reasons behind businesses moving to voice technology revolve around squeezing improved performance from existing operations. That was the case in 2009 and it remains the core business rational today. Yet while the added value aspect of the use of voice technology has changed very little for the warehouse worker over the last decade, the business environment, shopping/buying experience and technology options have evolved or even changed quite considerably. Our white paper focuses on the use of voice technology and looks at some of the key changes we’ve seen since 2009; in particular within the distribution center sector, where the impact of e-commerce growth is especially felt.

Voice Software in the Warehouse 2009-2019: Has Anything Really Changed?

Our industry perspective white paper focuses on voice technology, some of the key changes we’ve seen since 2009, and explores how voice solutions are adapting to embrace the reality of today's warehouse. In addition, it addresses some of the key changes in the software and hardware technology landscape and the impact being felt within the distribution center from e-commerce growth.

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The core value proposition for voice in the warehouse has always been about:

    • Increased Productivity - More tasks completed in less time or lower costs per transaction
    • Improved Accuracy - Enhanced customer experience and reduced returns management costs
    • Increased Safety - Associates are hands-free and eyes-free and now, possibly headset-free
    • Improved Demand Management - Faster, more productive workers allow for greater capacity utilization of existing storage space
    • Empowering Employees - More confident workers are happier workers; reduces turnover
    • Faster New Employee Onboarding - Reduced training time for full-time and temporary workers
    Core Benefits of Voice

    Voice Software in the Warehouse


    Workers are provided clear and concise voice directions with an optimized workflow driven process. As a worker completes an assignment or moves through the distribution center, the worker can focus on what they are doing, walking to a new pick location, using a forklift to get a pallet, or counting inventory slots. There are no intermediate needs to turn their attention away, stop to read, or get off the forklift to confirm a pallet. All interactions with voice-enabled mobile computing device are internal to the motions of the workers’ activity, saving valuable time.



    Because the worker is enabled to move about freely, without having to stop and read a document, look down at a small screen, enter data or pick-up and re-holster a scanner, the worker’s focus is always on the task at hand. As a worker approaches a pick slot, they hear the location and can look for it at the same time. A worker confirms the location (via a check-digit) as they are picking the product. The opportunity to look away and forget, or misread a location/product is minimized therefore, increasing accuracy.


    Because the entire process is driven by voice, there is no need to train workers on reading printouts, knowing when/where to apply labels, or confirming information through a keyboard. Once a worker attends training and creates their voice templates, which on average, takes about 30-45 minutes (which often has to be repeated monthly to further reduce worker productivity). The entire process is driven step-by-step through voice commands. Workers are typically up and running in about 50% less time than other methods, because they have one tool to use, versus paper for one task and scanning for another.



    Because focus is never removed from the task at hand, instances of product damage or worker injuries are greatly reduced. A worker has no need to take their eyes off the box cutter or off the racking as they place a pallet in a tight spot. As a result, there are fewer injuries, dropped products, and punctured pallets, providing a direct reduction in overall costs.


    Existing voice customers who recently upgraded to Lydia Voice reported

    • An 11% increase in productivity vs. their older voice solution
    • Eliminating the older voice template training process
    • A total cost savings of around 35%

    Increase of Productivity



    Error Rate



    Employee Satisfaction



    Customer Satisfaction