A speaker-independent system cannot just accept "uno" in place of the word "one." Users must conform to the system's expectations of the speech patterns of the language they are using. For the workforce on a factory or warehouse floor where a wide variety of accents and languages are the norm, this may not be practical.
cover story Warehouse Management their native-born counterparts to be employed in production, transportation and material-moving occupations (16.4 versus 11.5 percent). This reality has enormous implications for the world of logistics, validating what most distribution center and logistics leaders have known for some time. Technology has come a long way in improving productivity and performance in the DC/warehouse. While there are many different types of technology applied, one solution in particular has a special niche to play in addressing this multi-language aspect of human beings working together – voice. This article will examine the merits of voice in the DC for supporting multiple native languages. Voice, Defined But first, what exactly is voice, and how does it work? In a voice-directed DC/warehouse, employee assignments are sent via Wi-Fi from a warehouse management system (WMS) to a lightweight, battery-powered computing device worn or held by the worker. Once received by the device, the work assignments are converted into a series of discrete verbal commands, which the worker hears through a headset. The instructions direct the employee to an aisle/section and slot location. Once there, the employee confirms he or she is at the proper location and completes the task by speaking into the headset. The worker’s words are recognized by the speech recognition software running on the device, which translates the spoken response into data and sends those data back to the WMS. The WMS issues the next assignment and the process repeats itself. in a Multicultural DC/Warehouse A sound solution for building productivity and performance By Tom Upshur oday’s distribution center (DC) and warehouse labor T landscape is infinitely different from that of previous generations. Nowhere is change more evident than in the proliferation of different native languages being spoken within an individual distribution center. With the continuing globalization of business, multinational companies face a variety of challenges in managing their supply chain across multiple languages and countries. According to a March 2009 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008, 24.1 million persons, or 15.6 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force age 16 and over, were foreign-born. The study found that foreign-born workers are more likely than 34 Supply & Demand Chain Executive August/September 2009 Warehouse Management cover story By rep
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