03 May

Reaching New Heights: The Benefits of Multi-Modal Data Collection

The New Age of Warehouse Technology

If you’re not familiar with multi-modal data collection technology in the warehouse, here’s a quick overview to get you up to speed.  A multi-modal application involves the use of two or more technologies to perform a variety of tasks, allowing the user to execute these tasks virtually hands-free.  This approach includes a wrist-worn mobile computer with a touchscreen, a headset for voice-directed operations, and a ring-style barcode scanner to collect data.  All devices have the option of communicating wirelessly, giving the user complete flexibility to perform the required tasks.  RFID technology may also be part of this equation, offering another opportunity for users (i.e., forklift operators) to perform tasks hands-free and minimize unnecessary steps by placing RFID portals in doorways or pathways where operators will be traveling.  The portals sense the tag on the items being moved and collect/record that data accordingly.

Operations may include picking, packing, or other inventory management operations.  With multi-modal technology, users can perform these tasks with ease and greater accuracy since all necessary equipment is at the point of work.  Traditional execution of these tasks requires the worker to travel to and from a ‘home base’ (i.e., their desktop computer or even a laptop on a cart).  If voice-directed commands are part of the functionality, the user will wear a headset and receive directions as to inventory location, line item quantity to pick or pack, and so on.  You can read more about voice-directed solutions in our recent blog.

Solution Leaders

If you’re looking for more efficient workflows in your warehouse operations, then you may want to explore Zebra’s Total Wearable Solutions, a family of wearables that include a wrist-worn mobile computer, ring scanner and headset that make jobs like scanning and picking more accurate, more comfortable, more productive and even safer than ever before.  Voice-directed commands provide the information users need to pick, pack or scan with improved accuracy and swiftness without the distractions that typically come with traditional picking and packing tasks.

Multi-Modal Technology Benefits

  • Increased order processing – Users have experienced boosts in productivity by as much as 15%; this is due to a smoother flow to the process and fewer interruptions during travel back and forth to a desktop. Users are more focused in their efforts.
  • Improved picking accuracy – Errors can be reduced by as much as 39%; related, in part, to voice-directed commands to guide the worker as well as a higher level of user confidence when operating with a mobile computing device.
  • Minimizes worker fatigue – Along with a reduction in employee accidents, hands-free operation means users can move swiftly without having to constantly stop and start.

Who are the players?

There are any number of variations when it comes to multi-modal technologies, but the main components include:

  • Zebra WT6000 Android-based Industrial Wearable Computer – the WT6000 fits comfortably on any size wrist and is light weight, making it easy to use two hands to pull parts or carry boxes.
  • RS6000 Bluetooth Ring Scanner – This rugged ring-style scanner is designed to be reliable across the board when it comes to tasks in the industrial space. From the warehouse, to the factory floor, out to the loading dock and more.
  • HSX100 Rugged Corded or Bluetooth Headset – Durability is the start, with comfort and reliability following closely behind.  Even in the noisiest environments, the HS family of headsets brings the voice-directed value add to multi-modal operations.

Concerned about durability?  These devices were designed specifically for industrial environments.  In a warehouse, there’s bound to be drops to concrete, dark corners, dust & dirt, and maybe even fluctuating temperatures. These devices are built to last.

View this video from Zebra Technologies to see these devices in action:

Ready to learn more?  Simply email us or call 937-498-2700 to set up a no-cost consultation.

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