Submitted on Wed, 2014-06-04
By Jim Laverty

Maximize the potential for greatness in all warehouse employees by investing in technology that supports every language.

Multilingual Warehouse Technology

Increasing revenue and growing your business means that you have to find ways to continually raise the performance level of each employee. One of the most challenging aspects to creating an atmosphere where each of your employees can succeed is often communication. Most warehouses today employ a diverse workforce where at any moment there could be 10 different languages spoken on the warehouse floor. While your management may be able to overcome language barriers, the tools and systems used to manage your warehouse are likely not able to communicate in a language that all of your employees easily understand.  

Language does not have to be a barrier in your warehouse. Advanced cloud platforms that run warehouse managements systems, like the irms|360 Enterprise Cloud Platform, will automatically translate the words and characters in your system into the language most comfortable for each individual employee.

 

Every User Can Choose a Different Language

In a cloud-based WMS, language is controlled by login. Each employee logs into the system with their specific username, and the system will automatically display in the language of their choosing. Now, a four-person team in your warehouse consisting of native Spanish, Polish, German, and Chinese speakers, will now operate as one cohesive unit.

 

The Cost of Not Supporting Multiple Languages

Not addressing the language barrier in your warehouse hampers productivity, decreases accuracy, and increases headaches for a warehouse manager. Technology is not strictly an expense for a warehouse, it is an investment in creating a bigger and brighter future for your company. The money lost by not giving employees every chance to succeed is strictly a cost though. Slow or incorrect picking, and limited opportunities for your best employees to advance based on language will have a direct impact on your bottom line.

We recently came across a quote about the impact a WMS that cannot adapt to its users has on job roles from an old DC Velocity article that caught our attention:

 

"Our order profiles are very complex, with a lot of line items, SKUs, and regulatory requirements. And all of our documents are printed in English," Scott Hothem, President of PACAM, explains. "If an employee is not able to read cartons or work with our WMS [warehouse management system], that opens us up to chargebacks and noncompliance claims." For that reason, the company assigns employees with limited English proficiency to positions where written communication is less important, such as unloading containers.

 

Most operations may be using technology that their workforce cannot effectively interact with. It forces those workers into menial positions, limiting their potential and your business’s potential.

 

Empower Every Member of Your Workforce

A warehouse management system that understands the wide range of languages spoken in your warehouse takes away all barriers to productivity.

 

"If you're having difficulty with the language, then your productivity and accuracy can decrease. But if you can go back to a language that you are comfortable in, you can be as productive as the guy next to you who's speaking English," he says. "This helps build employees' confidence in the system and in their ability to work in that environment." - Larry Sweeney, VP of Business Development, Vocollect

 

Using technology that can adapt to each user and allow them to pick the language they interact in, gives them the best chance to succeed. All your employees are operating at 100% effectiveness, allowing the most gifted workers to rise to the top regardless of the language they’re most comfortable speaking.

It’s entirely possible that your best employee is underperforming because of a language issue. Don’t limit that potential for greatness by mistaking a lack of proficiency in English for general incompetence. Implement a smarter warehouse management system today, with multilingual support built right into it, to get the most out of every member of your workforce.


 

Blog Type: 
IRMS WM Blog
Innovative Technology Solutions