Let’s get straight to the point: warehouse and distribution center safety is extremely important because unsafe work environments slow down operations, create labor issues, and hit the bottom line directly.
Many warehouses and DCs use traditional handheld devices for picking operations. However, it might surprise you to know that handhelds aren’t the safest or most productive way to run a warehouse.
Handheld Devices Aren’t As Safe As You’d Think
With decades of combined experience improving operations in every kind of warehouse, our implementation team has consistently seen and identified the following three safety issues with handheld devices:
- Injury risk
- Handheld devices increase the risk of injury because they are an extra barrier a picker must work around. For example, a picker arrives at their destination and needs to pick items. The picker is forced to tuck their handheld device under their arm or use only one hand to pick up the items. This greatly increases the risk that the picker pulls a muscle, drops and breaks product, or otherwise creates a safety hazard.
- Use of handheld devices while moving
- Ever bumped into someone on the sidewalk who had their head buried in their phone? Walking and using a handheld device is no different, but with all the added hazards of a busy warehouse. Even worse, using a handheld device while operating heavy machinery carries the same sorts of risks as texting while driving. Many warehouses implement policies or rules that ban moving or operating machinery while using a device even though this ultimately harms productivity
- Communicating safety hazards
- Handheld devices are not the best way to communicate safety issues in a rapidly changing environment. For example, how do your employees know that a forklift incident has made a certain aisle unsafe? Sure, you could send out a message to the handheld devices, but the employee might not check it until they have already put themselves in a dangerous situation.
A 3-in-1 Solution?
Voice is by far the safest method of warehouse picking. Mountain Leverage Voice easily solves all three safety issues of handheld devices because Mountain Leverage solutions are Hands-Free, Eyes-Free™. With our voice solutions, workers hear their instructions in real-time through a wireless headset that stays out of the way. Workers respond verbally so they don’t have to waste time or lose their focus by manually entering data into a handheld device. The hands-free component of our solutions means that workers do not have to awkwardly work around their picking guides, they can work with it! And because our solutions are eyes-free, workers’ eyes are always up and aware. In the case of a hazard, it is easy to immediately let impacted employees know, without interrupting operations.
Mountain Leverage Voice Solutions Do More
Mountain Leverage voice solutions offer other safety and productivity benefits beyond resolving common handheld device issues. For example, when pickers are wearing their headset, it means they won’t be easily distracted by things like two coworkers on break talking about the game yesterday. Our rugged voice hardware is also designed to be incredibly easy to clean so workers don’t have to worry about sharing sweat or germs, unlike handheld devices with sensitive screens or too many buttons.
Plus, studies have repeatedly shown that working in a safe environment increases employee satisfaction and retention. Implementing safety measures, like voice, can cut down on hiring costs.
Hands-Free, Eyes-Free™: It’s A No-Brainer
At the end of the day, you can think of safety measures as a sort of insurance policy. You hope to not need them, but when something goes wrong, a small investment over time in safety can return big in mitigating unnecessary worker’s compensation payments, avoiding needing to find labor to cover shifts for injured employees, and keeping employees satisfied with their work environment.
When you add in the fact that Mountain Leverage voice is actually more productive than handheld devices – for example, employees don’t need to stop what they’re doing to input data – the risk becomes not having voice!
It’s not uncommon to see a 12% to 26% increase in productivity, an outbound order accuracy in the 99.9%+ range and the nagging loss time accidents from improper lifting go to near zero, after deploying a voice directed workflow that keeps the workers eyes and hands free from distractions or unnecessary tools.”
Doug, ML Sr. Business Consultant
Ready to make your warehouse or DC safer and more productive? Book a free discovery call with our experts today.
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