News | May 25, 2022

DLA Distribution modernization efforts continue as more centers are equipped with voice pick technology

By By Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Voice pick technology was first piloted at Defense Logistics Agency Distribution San Joaquin, California, for nine months in 2019. After its success and deployment at DDJC, voice pick was incorporated into the DLA strategic plan as a fully funded enterprise solution.  

Voice Pick technology implemented at DLA Distribution Hill
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Hill, Utah, has been using voice pick technology in warehouse high traffic areas since February. Warehouse Specialist Bettina Throndson uses the mobile printer on her cart to print the required paperwork, typically done at the at the end of the pick process.
Voice Pick technology implemented at DLA Distribution Hill
Voice Pick technology implemented at DLA Distribution Hill
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Hill, Utah, has been using voice pick technology in warehouse high traffic areas since February. Warehouse Specialist Bettina Throndson uses the mobile printer on her cart to print the required paperwork, typically done at the at the end of the pick process.
Photo By: DLA Distribution Public Affairs
VIRIN: 211105-D-D0441-7654

Distribution is in the second fiscal year of voice pick deployments with noticeable gains in productivity and efficiency. Along with DDJC, the following sites are actively using voice pick technology:  DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, DLA Distribution Hill, Utah, DLA Distribution Red River, Texas, DLA Distribution Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, DLA Distribution Warner Robins, Georgia, DLA Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, DLA Distribution Jacksonville, Florida, DLA Distribution Cherry Point, North Carolina, DLA Distribution San Diego, California, and DLA Distribution Guam.

It takes one week to deploy voice technology to a site, which consists of setting up the hardware, training supervisors on how to manage the voice link software used to assign work and training users on how to complete assigned work. One additional week of post go-live observation is provided by DLA Headquarters Information Operations and the vendor to ensure that everything is working properly.

“With any new technology there is an adjustment period,” said Naim I. Al-Qaadir, program manager at DLA Distribution Headquarters. 

“It seems to take about one month on average for most employees to completely settle in. Employee feedback has been extremely positive and continues to increase with their familiarity and use of the system. We regularly hear employees praise efficiency, accuracy, and the streamlined process that voice technology provides,” said Al-Qaadir. 

The team at DDSP has embraced the voice pick technology from its inception said Supervisory Distribution Facilities Specialist Danielle Oehm. 

Distribution Susquehanna implements voice technology in its Eastern Distribution Center
Lisa Peterson (left), distribution process worker supervisor, and Calandra Black, distribution process worker, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, review assigned tasks in the warehouse Distribution Standard System. Black (right), wearing a headset, receives ticket information via the voice technology system operating within DSS. (Photo by Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs)
Distribution Susquehanna implements voice technology in its Eastern Distribution Center
Distribution Susquehanna implements voice technology in its Eastern Distribution Center
Lisa Peterson (left), distribution process worker supervisor, and Calandra Black, distribution process worker, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, review assigned tasks in the warehouse Distribution Standard System. Black (right), wearing a headset, receives ticket information via the voice technology system operating within DSS. (Photo by Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs)
Photo By: Diana Dawa, DLA Distribution Public Affairs
VIRIN: 200124-D-WD427-8883

“We leverage the voice link capabilities to ensure priority work is first, especially during times of high workload. It is very easy to keep eyes on workload and adjust assignments as necessary to meet competing priority work,” said Oehm. “We went from printing literally thousands of paper tickets each day, sorting by priority and distributing workload amongst the team, to managing workload via voice link, where supervisors and leads can monitor and assign work within seconds, and employees can start their first pick within 15 minutes of their start of shift, not to mention the cost savings on paper and supplies previously incurred.”

“Voice pick has been a huge success for DDSP and our employees,” she said.

DLA Distribution and the vendor remain on track to deliver voice pick technology to 15 distribution centers by the end of fiscal year 2022.