Voice Technology is speaking loud and clear

image

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 November was up 3.5 percent compared to October, which was up 0.5 percent over September at 136.8 (2000=100), marking the highest SA on record.

UPS said that through this acquisition it will augment its healthcare expertise and network in Europe, specifically in the fast growing healthcare markets in Central and Eastern Europe.

Carloads were up 12.1 percent at 312,271, and intermodal at 280,337 containers and trailers saw a 4.5 percent annual gain.

Total November POLB volumes were up 2.1 percent year-over-year at 581,514 TEU, and POLA volumes in November decreased 3 percent compared to November 2013 at 663,346 TEU.

When railroads are doing business with a larger than large customer like UPS, it stands to reason, it can often be the best, and worst, of both worlds, depending on how things are going. That was one of the main takeaways from a presentation by UPS Vice President of Corporate Transportation Services Ken Buenker at this year’s RailTrends conference in New York.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. Contact Bob Trebilcock.

Comments

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