Honeywell recently announced that the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency has awarded the company an indefinite delivery or indefinite quantity contract to implement its voice-directed system for workers at distribution centers. The program is currently in its initial configuration phase, which involves designing and testing the technology before implementing a pilot.

Upon a successful configuration and acceptance, workers at potentially 24 distribution centers around the world would use the Honeywell Vocollect voice solution to pick orders to support the U.S. military’s supply chain and readiness needs. The solution, which enables workers to listen to instructions and speak back responses, helps to simplify the user interface, reduce training times, increase safety and enhance productivity.

The Defense Logistics Agency manages the global supply chain for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and other federal agencies. The organisation supplies 86 per cent of the military’s spare parts and employs more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel around the world.

“We’re honoured to support the Defense Logistics Agency as well as the men and women providing mission critical services to U.S. defense operations,” said Taylor Smith, president of Honeywell’s Workflow Solutions business. “We believe this could be the largest government deployment of voice picking technology globally. This opportunity reinforces our industry-leading position in providing productivity and accuracy gains to distribution centers using our innovative voice technology.”

The Honeywell Vocollect voice solution comprises a headset with a software platform that connects to an existing warehouse management system. Warehouse workers receive voice prompts that guide them through their tasks of locating and picking inventory from shelves. Workers use voice commands to interact with the system to streamline and standardise work processes. The system supports more than 30 different languages and replaces the use of paper-based checklists and screen-based mobile applications, which can be prone to human errors.

Distribution centers that deploy Honeywell’s voice solutions can also access advanced labour management analytics to better plan and schedule labour with the integration of Vocollect into the company’s GoalPost labour management software. The system can extend the productivity gains from the voice technology while increasing overall warehouse labour productivity and efficiency.

Voice-directed solutions have been proven to simplify the worker training process, helping to speed up the onboarding process for temporary or seasonal workers. Warehouse workers will use the system for a range of workflows, including replenishment, picking, inventory and auditing.

Honeywell’s Connected Distribution Center offering provides customers with machine-level sensors, smart controllers and connected devices to achieve maximum throughput, day-to-day flexibility, future-proof scalability and business intelligence. Honeywell offers a range of solutions – from worker productivity technology to automated material handling equipment – to both labour-intensive and machine-automated distribution centers. By collecting critical, real-time data on asset health and facility performance, Honeywell helps customers make the digital transformation to increase reliability, improve utilisation and maximise productivity.