VoIP or traditional voice: Which solution is better?

Which voice technology solution is right for your facility?
By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
March 01, 2011 - MMH Editorial

Datria argues that because its solution uses off-the-shelf phones that cost considerably less than traditional voice hardware and operates over a WiFi network, it is a less expensive solution. 

Steve Banker, director, supply chain management, for ARC Advisory Group, is impressed by Coke’s implementation, but is not sure that VoIP is right for everyone.
“There were some unique characteristics to the Coke implementation,” Banker says. The most important of those was that Coke had made a commitment to use voice corporate wide and not just in the DC. In addition, he says, Coke had an experienced IT staff. While the bottler did have to beef up their WiFi infrastructure and add a number of access points, Banker says that it made sense for Coke.

“If you’re standardizing on voice across your company, there’s a very good argument for this approach, especially if you have an experienced IT staff,” Banker says. “At the same time, I’m not sure it makes sense for the warehouse that doesn’t have an infrastructure in place and wants to implement a simple and reliable solution.” Or, if a company has just one or two facilities, remember that CCR has been able to leverage its investment across 100 facilities to date.

That said, Banker points out that the traditional market is more dynamic than ever. “Despite new players and more competition, I believe Vocollect is stronger than ever, as is Lucas Systems,” Banker says. “At the same time, we’re seeing solutions like the one from Aldata in France that uses a Nuance speech engine and doesn’t lock you into using proprietary hardware.” 

In short, for the company implementing voice, there are more choices and solutions than ever before.

Coke’s new take on voice technology
To revitalize its distribution processes, Coca-Cola Refreshments U.S.A. implemented a VoIP-based voice technology that enables 3,000 warehouse associates in 100 facilities.

How VoIP works at Coca-Cola
The system uses wide area and local area networks to direct operations on the floor of warehouses across the enterprise.

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.

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