Author: Gemma Randazzo
Posted by Gemma Randazzo
I recently read that logistics are as essential to the “holiday season as the Christmas tree and the Menorah.” I don’t think I need to do too much convincing at this time of the year for you to appreciate just how true that is. Just open your inbox and you are immediately reminded that if you want your holiday packages delivered before the festivities you better get a move on. As I write this an array of “final hours” emails bombard my inbox.
According to eMarketer “online shoppers in the United States will spend $54.47 billion this holiday season, up 16.8% from $46.63 billion last year.” That is a staggering number and only accounts for one country. It is easy to see why companies like Amazon are expanding fulfillment centers and opening a new 1-million square foot facility (yes, 1 million square feet) in Washington State. With the trend of online shopping only growing, fulfillment centers around the globe will continue to see their business models change to reflect that of the online consumer. Today’s online consumer appreciates the diverse number of stores they can purchase from without leaving home and driving several miles, but it also means that the instant in-store gratification is no longer there. Just because it isn’t there doesn’t mean consumers don’t still want it and for instant gratification you need logistics.
Transportation and logistics companies get items where they need to be as quickly as possible. To minimize hiccups a vital part of this process is managing the hand-held devices that get the packages to your doorstep. From the warehouse where the items are picked, packaged and shipping labels are then printed, to the logistics company picking up the package, scanning the label and then flying and/or driving it to where it needs to go. The whole time this package is tracked using a hand-held device so you can monitor its progress. If a device goes down or experiences a malfunction you aren’t going to care because you just want your package. But to businesses managing these devices is a critical component of their job after all customer satisfaction is number one. A total mobile device management effectively keeps these devices secure and up and running from anywhere in the world. In any given day there are many different “fires” for businesses to put out and with a reliable device management solution, managing and tracking all their hand-held devices is one less “fire” they need to worry about.
And with that I must go – someone changed their mind on which of the latest video games they wanted and to avoid rush-shipping charges I need to hit purchase.
Okay, it may be a stretch to say that this holiday season you want voice technology wrapped in a red bow but it isn’t a stretch to say from your professional point of view, “let’s make my life easier”. We can’t wrap it up in a pretty little bow with a nice shiny car but we can give you five good reasons why voice technology can improve efficiency in your operation.
- Go Multi-Modal: The ability to accept voice in addition to barcode scanning, RFID and keyboard entry expands the flexibility of application design by providing a cross-check to error-proof data. It also gives you the freedom to select the type of data input that will improve workflow that maximizes productivity. For example, the input of longer identifiers, such as serial numbers, is accomplished more efficiently with barcode scanning. When you can quickly use a variety of methods to check on the accuracy of an order it improves customer service and retention levels while eliminating costly mistakes.
- Increase productivity: With a well known 15 – 20% (or more) gain in productivity, hands-free operation allows for simultaneous action that increases productivity, such as the handling of product while receiving and/or providing information to and from the application in voice form. The voice entry is confirmed by the system, eliminating the need to look at the screen to verify data, further reducing cycle times and improving worker efficiency. (more…)
There are a lot of terminal emulation products on the market and all of them basically fulfill the same need, and for many companies they don’t think about terminal emulation as tool that can also provide an additional boost to their productivity. It’s a tool to manage, access and maintain connections and bring back-office automation to the mobile worker, but where else can it streamline my business operations?
Sometimes it is just the little things that increase productivity. Traditionally, on a ruggedized mobile device you have your black screen with green text communicating actions or information to the end-user. These screens can be very difficult to read and often times have lots of information that isn’t necessarily relevant to all end-users. By adding a simple WYSIWYG screen editor called a Screen Reformatter to your emulation tool, administrators are able to capture emulation screens and then reformat the screens to optimize the user’s experience. You can personalize the end-users experience based on the ruggedized hand-held device and work environment.
With a Screen Reformatter an administrator can change the background color on the device to something different, like the color white for example, and change the font color to, say, black making it easier for the end-user to see what they are doing. Administrators can even remove unnecessary fields and/or screens that users have to cycle through to get to the information they need. Likewise, with functions, administrators can remove certain functions that show-up on the device that isn’t relevant for a particular group of workers or individuals. Maybe they just need to go to a certain bin and pick a quantity but on the device they don’t need it to say “pick quantity” they just care about the actual quantity. By removing unnecessary information it frees up the limited screen space enabling administrators to increase the text size of more relevant information making it easier for end-users to do their job.
Through the use of a Screen Reformatter you can provide an improved user experience, therefore making it easier for someone to do their job that much quicker. Through increased productivity you’ll see gains that help you meet your businesses goals.
By now you’ve heard us talk about the mobile ecosystem quite a bit; its importance within your organization and how no two companies will have the same mobile ecosystem. (Not sure what makes up the mobile ecosystem? Check out this useful diagram.) With lots of interconnecting pieces including devices, locations, back and front-end processes and systems, it’s important to assess each area of your business and take a look at the overall health of your organization. Fitting all the pieces together can be overwhelming. After all, what you care about is the bottom-line; where the efficiency is, the increase in productivity and a return on your investment.
If we take one piece of the mobile ecosystem at a time it is easy to make small changes that add up to big returns. Let’s take the warehouse, and more specifically, the back-end of the warehouse and your warehouse management system (WMS). A simple and fast way to see an immediate increase in productivity is to add voice to your WMS in less than 30-days. It’s that simple.
No, really it is that simple. Within the last five-years alone, voice has evolved at a substantial pace. There is no longer one option, no longer additional servers, new hardware or undue burden on the network. Now companies can utilize existing hardware and enable workers (including seasonal workers, with little to no training) to just pick up any device and begin using voice-directed picking immediately. By focusing on just one piece of the ecosystem at a time it becomes manageable and by implementing voice, whether it is in the warehouse or in mobile inspections, field services or yard management, you can achieve dramatic results.
When you utilize voice as part of your overall ecosystem, you add one more tool to keep your enterprise evolving with the growing demands of today’s supply chain.
Joe [Wilson] gearing up for solution demonstrations at RedPrairie’s RedShift: LATAM event in Mexico City
The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently penned the question “Who owns mobile in your company? Does it reside with your e-commerce team? Does it fall within marketing? Perhaps IT? Or is it a team made up of representatives from across the organization?” As Vicki Cantrell states it is a “mobile conundrum” and its impacting your brand.
At LANDesk and Wavelink, we spend a lot of time discussing this mobile conundrum and where the responsibility for it falls. The reality is today it isn’t just a one department answer. Today’s instant gratification, super cool technology is evolving quicker than a business knows what to do with it. They just know they have to keep up, and it’s no clearer than where the average consumer spends the majority of their time – the retail space. Retail defines cool, and it’s where slick marketing and graphics can create such buzz that every high school kid wants to dress like an Abercrombie model. On the flip side, it’s also where negative buzz and press can create a backlash so that those same kids then decide they don’t want to wear Abercrombie because the Situation said so. You have to stay on-trend, or run the risk of hurting your brand.
Posted by Gemma Randazzo
At this point, it’s a universal truth that technology changes the moment you hit purchase, and in today’s ever changing technological world it’s almost a guarantee that your iPhone 3 will just happen to die a month before the iPhone 4s’ unveiling. Not only is this slightly frustrating, it renders you powerless because, really, can you go an entire month without your beloved smartphone? Could you really go back to your old Blackjack sans apps, sans video capability and don’t even get me started on trying to type! We are no longer in the age where progress is relatively “slow”. We are no longer talking about going from a floppy disc to a zip drive. With the rate of technological advancement we are getting ever closer to the reality of a hoverboard (and not just a replica).
Is MDM as exciting as cruising to work on a hoverboard, well that’s debatable. But, the enterprise is changing at a rapid pace. Therefore, organizations need to keep up with the ever growing list of devices, security concerns, deployment needs and even the speed at which apps run (let’s face it we are an inpatient society). Organizations need to stay on their toes, but overhauling and replacing costly investments into MDM software isn’t exactly always feasible. So what is this best way to approach managing your enterprise once you’ve made the initial investment into MDM?
Like building a house, a solid foundation will allow you to build upon your investment and make improvements as you go. For example maybe you aren’t worrying about BYOD yet but you can see your colleagues eyes light up when the newest shiny tablet is unveiled. You probably know the path that will take – “but I’d be so much more productive with the tablet future-tastic I promise!” – You’ll end up with an influx of tablets that need to be managed and secured.
The entire Wavelink suite of products was designed to be built upon. With Avalanche you can add additional security, control devices remotely, shut down a rogue device and pinpoint the exact geographical location of any device in your enterprise. With Wavelink Terminal Emulation you can voice enable warehouse operations, deploy applications, and ensure consistent web rendering across all devices no matter the device or their OS. The beauty of layering products means you can do it as your budget allows and by using a foundation product you’ll be able to ensure you have the budget to continue growing as your enterprise needs change.
It’s all part of Wavelink’s wireless ecosystem and just one more way we are committed to ensuring your mission-critical operations don’t get stuck in the floppy disc era.
ReadWriteWeb recently highlighted Wavelink’s Infographic on the evolution of voice and speech recognition from the Brazen Head to Apple’s Siri. Take a closer look at the significant developments that paved the way for voice in the enterprise.