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How technology can transform the worker experience

By Matt Dermody,
How technology can transform the worker experience

In a previous article, we covered Unified Distribution Control (UDC) which gives managers access to worker performance data throughout the day. Today, we’ll discuss ways to take that a step further and engage workers with direct feedback in real time through the use of modern warehouse mobile platforms.

Devices built on the Android platform have opened up new possibilities for worker tools. Android can be utilized in any industry-specific or use form factor, small or large, ruggedized or wearable. The differences between the new interface and the legacy, green-screen devices are growing by the day. The advanced platform and modern tools are changing the work experience, leading to more worker engagement, better performance and higher employee retention.

Helping workers help themselves

Many employee engagement tools deliver reports after the fact. But real-time performance data is much more impactful. New, more powerful devices, combined with an intuitive interface, present a range of data, including up-to-the-moment worker performance.

Employees see digital scoreboards that show how they rate against the rest of their team, the rest of the warehouse, how each team compares to others and more. Using gamification design principles, user motivation is boosted through the use of badges and achievements that often come with tangible rewards or incentives attached.

Because allowing workers to view their performance data can present a potential distraction, employers still have control over their access to ensure productivity is maintained. Companies also dictate what is measured, essentially defining performance as they see fit. For example, simply counting the number of picks may lead to inaccuracies. So, an employee score can be the number of picks along with another variable like accuracy or safety. If there’s an area that needs improvement, supervisors can even customize specific challenges for teams to raise those metrics.

One device, multiple functions

For the past 20 years, workers have been using single-purpose, RF devices based on Windows Mobile technology. Recently, there has been a move to the more powerful Android operating system. Devices are no longer a single-purpose tools. They can be used for a range of things. For example, workflow instructions like picking and packing are combined with functions like push-to-talk or team-specific audio communications.

Android also enables an expansion of voice recognition and voice enablement capabilities. On specific screens, rather than having to enter a key press, a worker can simply give a voice command. The modern platform results in less onboarding for new employees and a more-intuitive user experience. In turn, that means a more enjoyable work environment, better productivity and higher employee retention.

Work reinvented

Today, there’s an opportunity to create a new vision of work tools and user experience in the warehouse. The right technology can merge multiple workflows and data streams on a single device. Labor data can be transformed into employee engagement tools delivering timely feedback.

Manhattan Associates WMS 2018 integrates with a range of software and hardware solutions – like UDC, TouchWarehouse and Performance at Work mobile engagement tools – to reinvent your workflow. It’s an approach that helps workers perform their best, supervisors get the most from their teams and operations perform better than they have before.

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