The UK’s Retail Business Technology Expo came to a close in London yesterday.
Kelly Ungs Presents at Retail Business Technology Expo 2012
In its second year there is no doubt that the event more than doubled in the number of exhibitors, space and sessions over last year. Aimed at UK and European retailers, the event melds all manner of end-to-end solutions for multi-channel, e-commerce, marketing, merchandising, EPoS, supply chain, store systems, loss prevention, finance, payments and CRM. Phew, that’s a lot of ground to cover!
Last week, Multichannel Merchant had a great article that focused on how to improve warehouse productivity. He had nine tips for doing so ranging from creating a picking path to listening to employee feedback.
We’d like to add a tenth – using your voice.
Voice picking isn’t new to the warehouse. In fact, our voice picking product, Speakeasy, has been around for years, but just within the last couple of years companies have really started to implement it and see huge returns.
Take Goya Foods for example. They have been using Speakeasy in their Prince George facility. Within the first few months of using Speakeasy, they noticed improvement in three areas – accuracy, efficiency, and safety. Like Goya, most companies see the following:
Mispicks can lead to significant expenses, costing most companies anywhere from $5 – $50 per error. With that in mind, you can see how the savings quickly add up. (To see for yourself, contact us for a copy of our Speakeasy ROI Calculator)
On average, pick teams will complete their tasks much faster than before. With voice, pick teams move from sequence to sequence in rapid time.
With voice commands, pickers move from point to point more safely. This makes plant managers much more at ease.
Another thing to point out is that management costs of Speakeasy are minimal because the product is advanced enough that pickers don’t need to go through technical training to calibrate it for their own use.
Not to mention it is really easy to use, as our own Greg Berger demonstrates for Warehouse IQ at ProMat last year.
First impressions on NRF 2012: that was a busy show! Hopefully the traffic and interest translates to good things for retailers in 2012 and beyond. The show was a tremendous success for the Wavelink team, as we were constantly busy showing voice-enabled applications with Speakeasy, smart device management with Avalanche, and the introduction of Velocity, which we believe will usher in the next generation of mobile web applications. In addition to the interest in our products, it was GREAT to see the sea of blue Wavelink scarves roaming the aisles! We even got Miss America in one (picture below)!
We were able to get some pictures (after the break) from the show, and we hope you enjoy them. If you have any pictures of your own you’d like to share, feel free to let us know in the comments, or even on our Facebook page.
Our good friends at BCI, a Wavelink Platinum Partner, recently shared an article on the possibilities of voice applications not having much of an impact. When asked about our thoughts, we said, “well sure.” But there is a big “but” that followed our response and I wanted to point out some very critical points when discussing voice. The biggest issue is the issue of cost, which all companies are concerned with, and this is 100% true with traditional voice systems.
“[Bill Kuipers, president of operations consultancy Spaide, Kuipers & Co] thought he was in the minority about pick-to-voice technology. “I’m not surprised based on my own observations, but I thought I was in the minority. Lots of clients consider but ultimately reject it (usually due to the cost of hardware, and the required software integration). It tends to be more expensive than comparable RF Scanning devices.
‘Plus, you almost always have to buy some sort of intermediate software system, whereas most applications already support basic bar code reading – or can easily incorporate it.’”
This is the fundamental problem with yesterday’s voice technology. It requires you to buy new devices and servers, deal with lengthy implementation times, a replacement of existing business processes, and an overhaul in training. In that case, who would want to deal with it?
And that’s where the value of a voice application like Speakeasy comes in. It doesn’t require new hardware, can be implemented in as little as 30 days, works with your existing applications, and as such, is easy for workers to learn. If you’re curious about the differences, I highly suggest checking out the recent webinar we held entitled, “Say Goodbye to Legacy Voice.”
As some of you may have seen last week, Goya Foods was recognized with a Mobilizer Award for supply chain operations by Mobile Enterprise magazine and their use of Speakeasy. The award highlights trends that we’ve seen for a while now, in that more and more companies are trying to leverage their applications while maximizing as much productivity out of them as possible. An easy way to do this is by voice-enabling applications without having to redo the entire application. Goya tapped into this and the early results are telling.
Look for us to have more and more information on the Goya example in the coming weeks and months. Additionally, if you’re looking for more information on Speakeasy and voice products, we recently held a free webinar that you can view on-demand.
Retail Asia 2011 is in the rear view mirror after a successful show in Hong Kong. By now, it should be evident to all that retail and technology are intertwined very tightly, and that successful retailers need to stay in tune with the latest thinking to optimize and insure their profits.
Wavelink spotlighted Speakeasy with a live system collecting data and responding and directing workers in Mandarin Chinese. Speakeasy supports a wide range of global languages, even with regional accents or variations. Retailers are quick to understand the benefits of Speakeasy in several of the key retail functions, especially the lack of need for user specific training, speech processing functions local on the device, and the ease of integration and use. They agreed it would improve floor staff productivity and flexibility audibly guiding workers through their tasks looking at mobile device displays only when necessary.
This show also included a lot of different electronic shopper hardware and software, it was highlighted by a number of intelligent video display panels. The panels actually watch the viewers and react by changing programming based on how many people are watching, whether they are moving closer or farther away, which direction, the viewers sex, and I even saw one where the panel evaluates the mood of the shopper. I’m told none of the data is saved due to privacy concerns, but using it on the spot allows the store to change its look and interaction with shoppers to buy what they came for, and keep ’em coming back for more. Mobile technology was well represented by several key global and local software and hardware providers and distributors. Most of the high tech hardware companies were present as were the ERP and WMS system providers in some fashion.
As I said earlier, retailers recognize the advantages provided by good, new technology and move quickly to capitalize on the benefits. They are now quickly learning the good things Wavelink Speakeasy, on top of Terminal Emulation and Wavelink Industrial Browser, can do to improve their operations and profits. Thanks for checking in!
Greetings! We’ve been on the road for the past few weeks, including our annual trip to Oracle OpenWorld. This year we were demonstrating Speakeasy, and how you can quickly and easily add voice to Oracle WMS transactions. In addition to adding voice to other common transactions, such as those currently utilizing Wavelink Terminal Emulation and SAP, enterprises using Oracle as their preferred WMS solution can now voice enable tasks. We had a chance to film a few short demo’s, which are below, as well as some photos from the show.
Check them out and tell us what you think! If you were also at Oracle, tell us what you found interesting at this years show!
Today we announced that we’ve added a Real-Time Telecom Expense Management service to Wavelink Avalanche. This is something we are very excited about, since it allows companies to not only manage traditional aspects of enterprise devices, such as OS updates, remote control, etc., but also allows companies to monitor and proactively respond to usage on those very same devices.
Now, if IT has to deploy 100 iPad tablets, they can extend Wavelink Avalanche to configure and manage the devices, AND also manage data usage, roaming charges, etc. You can read more about the product on the webpage or the press release, but we also have some pictures from Retail Asia, where several members of our team are in attendance for. If you’re there, stop by booth J05 and say hello! We’re demonstrating Speakeasy, so come by and take a look.
We’re on the road again this week in Chicago attending ProMat 2011. During show hours on Monday, the folks from Warehouse IQ stopped by and filmed our very own Greg Berger demonstrating Speakeasy. We’ve posted it below as well as a few pictures from the show. If you’re at the show, stop by and see it for yourself!