Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Alexa and other voice applications have become a staple in the home. Mainly used to turn on appliances, adjust the heat, or look up the weather – households rely on it to make their lives easier. Like households; warehouses have begun using voice applications to cope with the increase demand of shipping products. As demand continues to surge warehouses are looking at new ways to accelerate the supply chain process without reducing productivity and efficiency.

While speech recognition software like Alexa and Google Home may not work in all warehouses, it’s finding success in quieter workspaces where it serves to eliminate excessive manual labor. As this idea becomes more lucrative; technology is scrambling to catch up. One such company that is set on disrupting the supply chain and logistics market is ShippingEasy. Integrated with Alexa or Google Home; ShippingEasy allows businesses to download orders and track shipments. The same way you may ask Alexa to check the time; an employee at a warehouse could ask Alexa to print a shipping label or to purchase postage. Voice recognition software can also help schedule pick-ups and deliveries; send an automated email to customers if a delivery is held up – all by a voice command. “It supports the entire pick, pack and ship process,” Kevin Nuest, VP of product at ShippingEasy explained.

Voice application software has been shown to increase productivity in employees and ensure that products get shipped and delivered on time. Ten years ago, it would be common to wait 5-7 business days to receive a shipment in the mail; now 2 day shipping has become the norm – leaving little room for shipping error or lag time.

Another benefit to voice application software is that they are relatively inexpensive. A quick search on Google shows that an Amazon Echo is $130 on Amazon.com while a Google Home is only $99 at Best Buy. This allows a business to purchase a considerable amount of devices.

While there are many upsides to voice commands; there are still some logistics that need to be worked out before they become universally accepted in the supply chain industry. For instance, a voice recognition software would not work in a loud and crowded warehouse. In order to ask Alexa to print a shipping label, a worker would have to be right next to the device- which isn’t always the case. Another issue is that voice recognition softwares take a while to learn a person’s diction and accent. If the employer doesn’t speak slow and concise, the software may have a hard time understanding what it’s being asked to do resulting in wasted time.

As the supply chain industry demands faster shipment and procedures; the need for voice recognition software will intensify. Similar software have been proven to be beneficial to small, relatively quiet warehouses where employees are responsible for much of the day-to-day tasks like; printing shipping labels, purchasing postage, and customer service. Voice recognition software can modernize the processes and resolve time-restricting obstacles that these organizations face – ending in a process that works for both business and consumer. 

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 Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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