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MICA: A mobile support system for warehouse workers

: Prause, C.; Jentzsch, A.; Eisenhauer, M.

International journal of handheld computing research : IJHCR 2 (2011), Nr.1, S.1-24
ISSN: 1947-9158
ISSN: 1947-9166
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Thousands of small- and medium-sized companies world-wide have non-automated warehouses. Picking orders are manually processed by blue-collar workers. However, this process is highly error-prone. There are various kinds of picking errors that can occur. These cause immense costs and aggravate customers, too. Even experienced workers are not immune to this problem. In turn, this puts a high pressure on the warehouse personnel. We present a mobile assistance system for warehouse workers that realizes the new Interaction-by-Doing principle. MICA unobtrusively navigates the worker through the warehouse and effectively prevents picking errors using RFID. In a pilot project at a medium-sized enterprise we evaluate the usability, efficiency and sales potential of MICA. We find that MICA effectively reduces picking times and error rates. Consequentially, job training periods are shortened, while at the same time pressure put on the individual worker is reduced. This leads to lower costs for warehouse operators and an increased customer satisfaction.