Page 34 - LBIT Spring 2016 Cover.indd

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oday’s supply chain manager must
meet some of the highest consumer
expectations for accuracy and
efficiency in history. According to recent
Voxware research, the consequences of
delivering a single incorrect or late order
can result in customers severing their
relationship with the offending company.
With stakes this high, supply chain leaders
must implement technology to improve
speed and accuracy in the warehouse.
Over the past decade, one technology
has firmly established itself as a critical
standard for distribution centre process
execution: voice automation. Voice
has served an increasing number of
organisations during the past decade,
and Gartner has tracked it along the hype
cycle of supply chain innovation through
the Slope of Enlightenment and onto the
Plateau of Productivity. Along the way,
voice has evolved to offer customers
increasingly advanced functionality. Here’s
a look at how voice has evolved from its
earliest days—and what customers can
expect from the latest versions.
How voice has evolved
The first voice automation products helped
companies reduce the inefficiencies of
paper-based processes by providing
work orders and confirmation via mobile-
enabled audio headsets. Today, voice
automation technology has evolved to
offer even greater mobility and multi-
modal functionality. Voice can now be
combined with a scanning or keyboard
system so that users may easily toggle
between voice and other systems to use
the tool that fits best for each task. In
addition to multi-modal mobility, today’s
voice also offers the flexibility of hardware
independence. The latest technologies
allow companies to leverage voice on the
go regardless of device or operating system
and are available to users who use both
Apple iOS and Android tablets. Armed with
mobile access to real time data, warehouse
managers can counsel team members,
manage exceptions, and perform a variety
of important functions in real time away
from the office.
The most advanced voice providers
have added additional flexibility to voice
solutions by offering them as Cloud-based
solutions. Though Cloud-first strategies
touted by major companies may make
headlines today, voice providers have
already championed Cloud-based delivery
for some years. Cloud-based voice
providers host all necessary infrastructure
off-site and deliver voice automation
technology as a scalable subscription
service so that companies don’t need
to build or host on-premise supporting
technology infrastructure. As a result,
companies like Smiffy’s, a UK-based
retailer of costumes and fancy dress, can
add and remove users to meet changing
seasonal demands.
Finally, voice providers have also
evolved to offer supply chain managers
comprehensive and sophisticated
data and analytics to drive further
operational improvements. Artex, a
UK-based manufacturer and distributor
of construction materials, used voice
to gather item-specific data. With the
The Changing Face
of Voice
By Keith Phillips,
President and CEO, Voxware
analytics collected through voice, Artex
was able to determine pick and pace rates
for items of various sizes to drive further
operational improvements. Companies that
collect data from voice in this way will also
be better positioned to take advantage
of new predictive analytics tools that pull
data from multiple sources into a single
platform to enable better decision-making.
Voice helps companies
stay ahead of the curve
For companies of all sizes and from all
industries, today’s voice automation
technology offers multi-modal mobile
flexibility, Cloud-enabled scalability,
and rich data insights that were out of
reach only a few years ago. As consumer
expectations continue to rise, the most
successful companies will be those that
invest in advanced voice automation
Voice Scalability