Voice Technology is speaking loud and clear


Jennifer (by LUCAS) is the leading voice directed warehouse solution for open, industry standard mobile computers. Jennifer supports voice picking and other warehouse tasks, helping associates work faster with fewer errors.

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
July 20, 2010 - MMH Editorial

I had a chat today with John Schreifer, a marketing executive with Lucas Systems, that was a reminder of just how far the voice technology industry has come in the last few years.

Going back about ten years ago, I used to hear a constant refrain: This is the year that voice is really going to take off. Except that it never did. It was like that sign in the bar window that reads “Free beer tomorrow.” Ask the bartender when you can get your free beer, and the answer is always tomorrow and tomorrow never came.

When it comes to voice, tomorrow has arrived. Not that long ago, it was the rare DC that had voice-directed picking when we put together our monthly cover stories.

Now, it seems as if a majority of the facilities are using voice to direct at least some portion of their picking.

What prompted my dialogue with Schreifer, one that I intend to continue down the road, was a story by Maida Napolitano, my colleague at our sister publication Logistics Management. 

Maida highlighted how three companies - Coca-Cola, Christian-publisher Zondervan and Pierre’s Ice Cream – are using voice in ways that vary from the norm to solve their distribution challenges.

As Schreifer and I talked about the story and some of the developments that Lucas is working on, I realized how mainstream voice has become over the past ten years, and how many different options and providers there are in the marketplace today.

Just a few weeks ago, I spoke to someone from Intelligrated about their voice offering, and Dematic recently announced a picking solution that combines voice technology and robotics. Getting voice from your automated materials handling systems provider is different. And, as Schreifer pointed out, Lucas is increasingly combining voice with other modes of data collection, such as the voice and barcode scanning solution I wrote about at Longo’s, a Canadian grocer and Lucas customer, in July of 2009.

Voice really is beginning to speak loud and clear in the warehouse.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in October at 135.7 (2000=100) was up 1.9 percent compared to September’s 133.1, and the ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment was 139.8 in October, which was 0.9 percent ahead of September.

The average price per gallon of diesel gasoline fell 3.7 cents to $2.445 per gallon, according to data issued today by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). This marks the lowest weekly price for diesel since June 1, 2009, when it was at $2.352 per gallon.

In its report, entitled “Grey is the new Black,” JLL takes a close look at supply chain-related trends that can influence retailers’ approaches to Black Friday.

This year, it's all about the digital supply network. In this virtual conference, we will define the challenges currently facing supply chain organizations and offer solutions designed to transform linear operations into dynamic, automated networks that offer seamless communication, visibility, and the ability to respond and optimize processes at any given time.

In his opening comments assessing the economy at last week’s RailTrends conference hosted by Progressive Railroading magazine and independent railroad analyst Tony Hatch, FTR Senior analyst Larry Gross said the economy continues to slog ahead at a relatively tepid pace, coupled with some volatility in terms of overall GDP growth. And amid that slogging, Gross said there is currently an economic hand-off occurring between the industrial sector and the consumer sector.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484 or email [email protected].


Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.