Page 1



The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications


Also in this issue: OCTOBER 2013

The factory of the future is nearer than you think Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013: Leading in a Digital World Giving Voice to the pharmaceutical industry The spreadsheet dilemma For the latest news and to subscribe to the Manufacturing and Logistics IT weekly newsletter visit



The Dolphin 70e Black enterprise hybrid device successfully combines the size, stylish form factor and optimal communication of consumer grade devices with the durability, integrated scanning and long life cycle of traditional ruggedized mobile computers.

Interested in the enterprise hybrid mobile device? Contact us on www.dolphinblack.com or call +31 40 7110 041 to learn more. Š 2013 Honeywell International Inc.



October 2013


Your choice We have been hearing quite a lot over the past year or two about Choose-Your-OwnDevice (CYOD) – where the organisation owns the SIM/contract, but allows employees to choose their own device – and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – a mobile device policy that allows employees to connect their personal smartphones and/or tablets to the organisation’s network. In the case of the latter option, some business-to-business mobile device manufacturers or distributors have argued that such devices designed primarily for the consumer marketplace can offer up a number of problems, including lack of ruggedness resulting in easy breakage, unattractive warranty packages in many cases compared with those offered by business/industry device suppliers, and the possibly lack of adequate security, which within the business environment can prove to be a very costly shortcoming. In addition to the two deployment models above, let’s not forget that there is of course the more traditional organisation-owned device policy, sometimes referred to as Don’t Bring Your Own Device (DBYOD) – whereby device choice and ownership is strictly controlled by the employer. So, in the real world, what is the current state of play with regard to the use of mobile devices at work? According to an independent study of ICT decision makers conducted by Shape the Future (commissioned by Azzurri Communications)*, CYOD is currently regarded as the most appropriate strategy for meeting organisations’ communications needs in both practice and reality. While BYOD has attracted much attention in recent years, it would appear that significant adoption is yet to take place. While token adoption of BYOD – where fewer than 10 per cent of employees can connect their private devices to the network – has increased considerably in popularity over the past year (growing from 43 per cent to 58 per cent), company-wide adoption of BYOD (where 75 per cent or more of employees are included) is faring rather poorly. Deployment of company-wide BYOD has grown at half the rate of CYOD (BYOD increased by 6 per cent while CYOD grew by 12 per cent). Significant CYOD policies are now in operation in under one third (31 per cent) of UK organisations as compared to BYOD in only 17.2 per cent. Organisations are however appearing to be warming to the idea of employees using a single mobile/work device. However opinion still remains in favour of corporate provision. When asked to rate out of 5 whether they support the idea of employees using a single mobile device under a range of different scenarios (with 5 being ‘completely supported’ and 0 being ‘strongly opposed’), organisations still favoured policies in which they owned the device and/or contract. For example, support for a single device ‘if the business owns the device’ has risen from 3.7 to 4.3. However support has grown in all scenarios since 2012, including those of a BYOD nature, suggesting that firms are shifting their views in favour of shared ownership. For example, support for a single device ‘If the employee owns the device’ has risen from 2.8 to 3.3 since last year.

Ed Holden Editor

The lack of BYOD adoption is reflected in the perception that BYOD is the least suitable for most organisations – 60 per cent of organisations say CYOD is the best option for them versus only 13 per cent who say the same about BYOD. So besides concerns about device strength, security and the overall costs involved, BYOD would still appear to be a non-viable option for many businesses. As Rufus Grig, CTO of Azzurri Communications, remarked: “…it is only natural that they prefer to stick to what they know.” *A total of 224 organisations across the whole of the UK were polled during August and September 2013. 97 per cent of the respondents were defined as ICT decision makers. For further analysis of the sample, refer to page 4 of the report.



October 2013



IT October 2013



CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT October 2013 The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Special Technology Report 6

Warehouse Management Systems

Editor: Ed Holden

Warehouse Management Systems Contributors:


Karin Bursa, Logility

Vanderlande Industries for solutions that fit the fashion industry Advanced Business Solutions provides top ten predictions on the future of third party logistics

Roger Cooke, Shire Systems Matt Parker, Zebra Technologies Europe Anton du Preez, VoiteQ

Special Technology Report

Andrew Southgate, Zetes Darrel Williams, Vocollect


Publisher: Dean Taylor

Voice-directed Picking

Voice-directed Picking

Designer: Ian Curtis, First Sight Graphics


Customers voice approval for Heavey RF Group Next-generation Voice systems allow 20 per cent re-distribution of costs within the average DC

Production: Carolyn Pither

BCP: Thomas Ridley benefits from Accord Voice WMS

Circulation: Carole Chiesa

topVOX: Bartlett brews up success with Pick-to-Voice system

Vocollect: Giving Voice to the pharmaceutical industry

TouchStar: Voice solutions deliver real business results

IT Manager: Peter West



Accounts: Sarah Schofield

Rubber and plastics Converter LJA Miers takes on SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA

Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd Latimer House 189 High Street, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 5DA, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1707 664200 Fax: +44 (0) 1707 664800 Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com

Oriflame selects SharePoint solutions from Din ERP to simplify business processes in their global operation Shire Systems: Mobility in the maintenance world Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013: Leading in a Digital World

Planning 52

Sumida finds the right planning & scheduling component in Preactor

Printed by: The Magazine Printing Company plc, www.magprint.co.uk

Logility: The spreadsheet dilemma

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. No liability is accepted for any action arising from the contents of this publication; readers are advised to check any manufacturer始s or supplier始s claim for products. The publishers do not endorse opinions expressed in any article by an outside contributor. While every care is taken over photographs and illustrations, which are returned when requested, no liability can be assumed by the publishers for the loss of such materials.

Printing & Labelling 56

Zebra Technologies Europe: The factory of the future is nearer than you think

Automatic Data Capture 58

Box Technologies helps to provide greater mobility and increase flexibility at Poundland DPD selects Honeywell mobile computers to improve delivery speed and accuracy Honeywell始s new Dolphin 60s Scanphone delivers durability, scanning performance and


connectivity at an affordable price





October 2013

International exhibition for solutions and toolsto optimise theflowofgoods

26-27 November 2013

Cnit Paris La Défense Hall Marie Curie √ 32 conferences & workshops √ 100 exhibitors √ 3,500 professionals


Q 4 session cycles: food processing, aerospace, e-commerce, specialised distribution-hear from supply chain experts including Vente-Privée, Sephora, Kuehne+Nagel and more.

Q Best practices and innovative approaches


Organised by

Transport & Logistics


with the support of

Special technology report

Warehouse management

Stock in trade Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of spokespeople from the warehouse management solutions community about recent – and possible future – developments in this all-important technology space. smooth-running warehouse or


especially important in dynamic workforce

WMS integration with effective carrier

distribution centre has always


management systems is critical to giving the customer flexibility in how they receive their

been critical if all the related elements within the supply chain

Additionally, Eppert maintains that the increase

goods. Kay adds that, historically, the supply

are to run smoothly – and this, of

of e-commerce business is influencing WMS

chain, and particularly the warehouse, has been

course, always will be the case. Nevertheless,

development. “Customer orders are getting

seen as a cost centre in which to minimise

the methodologies put in place with the aim of

smaller and the expected throughput time is

spend. “What we’re increasingly seeing is how

achieving best practice can always be further

getting shorter,” he said. “Same-day delivery is

the introduction of appropriate automation

developed, as indeed can the technology

seen at the horizon. The WMS has to support this

technology leads to a rapid return on investment

backbone required to keep things flowing in and

development with suitable planning and

when combined with a WMS that can make the

back out of the warehouse environment. So,

scheduling functionalities to maintain warehouse

best use of it,” he said.

amid this backdrop, what are some of the most

efficiencies.” Tony Hampson, managing director, BEC

important current business and operational talking points within the world of warehouse

Derek Kay, business development director,

(Systems Integration) Ltd., believes there is now


Logistex, also considers that the burgeoning

more of a requirement for real-time interfaces into

eCommerce industry has brought a number of

these systems. “Real-time integration is now the

Martin Eppert, product manager at Vanderlande

topics to the fore; how best to handle smaller

norm and what's expected, rather than offline

Industries, considers that one of the most

orders and later cut-offs, management of returns

batching up of information and reporting after the

interesting topics concerning warehouse

and minimising final mile delivery costs, the

event,” he commented.

management system (WMS) development at the

traditional bulk warehouses need to adapt to

moment is how to present the right information in

meet these new requirements.

Graham Gittins, product manager Supply Chain Management at Advanced Business Solutions,

the right way to the system. “More and more graphical dashboards are seen in systems

He believes the latter of these is without doubt

reflects that few processes within the world of

nowadays, even combining WMS-related

the biggest talking point at the moment and

warehousing are new. “They largely revolve

information with process information from other system; for example, the lower control levels in case of automation,” he said, adding that doing this in a good way enables the supervisors to make the best use of the available resources and in this way reduce costs. Eppert also made the point that there is an increasing demand for ergonomics. “Optimally, this is achieved by a combination of fit-for-use user interfaces and optimised physical workstation setups,” he said. “Good working conditions have a positive impact on the motivation and performance of workers and can reduce their sickness absence times. An ergonomic and easy user interface will also have shorter learning curves for the staff, which is





October 2013


Warehouse management

Tony Hampson, BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd

Special technology report

around the fairly

said. “The result has been a huge surge in

standard practices of

single-line item orders which need to be

Making the connection

bringing items in,

efficiently processed through the warehouse

Have ways of best integrating WMS with other

putting them away,

for delivery. Many WMS suppliers are still

systems developed to any notable degree over

and retrieving them

struggling to catch up. The best way to keep

the past year or two? Hampson believes that

again quickly and

ahead of the game is to work with customers

the requirement for seamless, real-time

accurately at the right

to anticipate the next market requirement and

solutions is on the increase as customers are

time,” he remarked.

ensure the WMS is ready before the problem

forever seeking the tighter, integrated seamless

“So it’s a case of

has manifested itself.”

solution as opposed to batched/timed uploads

constantly striving to

– thus providing data transfer dynamically and

improve these existing

Brorsson has also witnessed a surge in e-

enabling clients to see updates in up to the

processes. However,

commerce activity, and observes that these

second, real-time mode. He added that BEC is

a lot of the current debate is about how to get

types of suppliers have slightly different

also seeing the uptake of leasing as opposed

the best out of the increasingly vast amounts of

demands than the average wholesaler or

to capex requirement within this technology

data in order to improve warehouse performance

retailer. “There is large volume of very small

space, and believes this to be a positive

and supply chain visibility for the company.”

orders, major variations in the order flow,

financial step forward for both the suppliers and

delivery of the product to a private consumer

customers alike.

Mikael Brorsson, product manager, Consafe

who is not always home to receive the goods,

Logistics, considers that flexibility to stay current

large quantity of troublesome returned

Kay reflects that system interfacing has always

with ever changing demands is key. He also

goods,” he said. “It’s one thing to sell the

been the area that has required customised

cites the need for transparency and traceability

product and collect payment via an attractive

code, and he believes that hasn’t really

in the supply chain as something that, while not

website; it is quite another matter to pick,

changed. “Better specifications and tools like

new on the user’s wish list, remains very much

package and transport the product to the

XML schemas have meant that defining the

within the top five key requirements. “The key to

customer, when the customer is home,

interfaces is much improved, but in reality you

success for integration is connected to process knowledge,” he added. “To be able to understand the advantage with integration no matter the size of the company you have to understand what processes the company needs and demands. This type of deep knowledge is collected through experience from implementations in combination with deep

The requirement for seamless, real-time solutions is on the increase as customers are forever seeking the tighter, integrated seamless solution as opposed to batched/timed uploads – thus providing data transfer dynamically and enabling clients to see updates in up to the second, realtime mode.” – Tony Hampson, BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd.

logistics competence. We see that our customers who are in generation 4 or 5 of their WMS focusing on enhancing their existing

without the seller being knocked out by costs.

rarely come across two identical interfaces even

solutions with new functionality such as Yard

E-commerce logistics is very different from

when dealing with two ERP implementations from

Management, Workforce Management, TMS etc.

traditional logistics. It is characterised by

the same supplier,” he said. “Having

For customers in generation 1-3 the WMS itself is

large volumes of very small orders, and is

comprehensive and clearly defined interface

in focus and any a rolling out a working solutions

completely different from picking and

requirements for the WMS at least means that

to more warehouses and additional countries.”

packaging a pallet or two for a store.”

faced with the same from the ERP supplier it should just be a case of mapping the data rather

Gittins believes the main drivers for better

than writing something new.”

Reasons underpinning development

utilisation of supply chain-related data are improved performance, visibility and

Hampson points out that customers have

And what are some of the reasons behind

cooperation. “The better all the people

demanded that their systems become more

many of the above trends and developments?

involved in the supply chain are able to

open and accessible . “They don't want to have

In the case of e-commerce, Kay’s view is that

cooperate though the more efficient use of

to go back to their ERP provider for every

the requirements themselves have come

data, the greater will be the business and

change and may want to do more themselves or

about from fact that the UK is the biggest

operational benefits for the company,” he

choose who to partner with for different aspects

adopter of e-commerce retailing in the world.

said. “Improved processes can also have a

of the solution,” he remarked.

“The UK public has enthusiastically embraced

large impact on cost control and profitability

Internet shopping both from home and ‘on the

which is key in supply chain organisations

Gittins has observed that more and more people

go’ through tablets and smartphones,” he

where margins are often very tight.”

are now aware of the benefits of reliable




October 2013



Special technology report

Warehouse management

integration between

voluntary level rather than through legislation.

solutions market so far? “Only in that people

core systems,

However, I understand that European legislation

keep asking about it,” said Hampson. However,

including WMS. “With

will come into force within the food industry in the

he believes there are two sides to this. “Do they

such integration in

near future.”

want the hassle of managing the system themselves or do they just want a known cost

place companies can more effectively take

In terms of the technology, Eppert sees a trend

per month for managing and maintaining that

the risks out of data

towards the reactive online type of interfaces

system. Most companies don't want to pay for

sharing,” he said.

instead of classical and less reactive batch-

this upfront – they would rather lease it.”

“Dual keying was

oriented communication. “This allows for closer

always a risky process

process integration, e.g. being able to

Gittins comments that he has observed some

in the past, now that

automatically print and add a delivery

WMS vendors promoting a SaaS version of their

process isn’t really

note/invoice and shipping label reflecting the

offering as their core model. “I’m not sure that

necessary. As well as avoiding much of the risk

latest pick results and measured parcel

the SaaS model is going to change the world

of using inaccurate or outdated information,

weights,” he said.

overnight,” he reflected, “and think that the SaaS

Mikael Brorsson

integration can also help the staff to work more

model applied to WMS is still largely in its

productively and more accurately. The modern

According to Eppert, customers are becoming

formative years. However, the whole area of

ways of interfacing have resulted in major

more and more aware of the value of their

Cloud raises the question about general

improvements to the process of data sharing

software solutions and the risks, if they don’t

deployment models; for example, the potential of

within warehousing and the wider supply chain.”

work as expected. Therefore, he observes that

a SaaS-based software package to save on

upfront testing of the integration of a new system

upfront capex and provide a level of functionality

Gittins adds that Internet technology continues to

into the customers overall IT landscape has

that could be of benefit to the organisation.

evolve. “Web services can now make common

become more important. “This is achieved by

Interestingly, the 3PL market has relied on a

information of all kinds available to people within

setting up special test environments including

multi-tenanted environment for some time. So the

a social, consumer or business environment,” he

remote connections, mimicking the dynamic

concept of software deployment in a Cloud environment is not strictly new.”

The Cloud concept allows more companies to invest and to start small to be able to grow with the solutions, adding the functionality that they need, when they need it.” – Mikael Brorsson, Consafe Logistics.

Brorsson’s view is that increased demands on flexible delivery and payment models are boosting interest in SaaS WMS offerings. “For us, the Cloud concept allows more companies to

said. Similarly, Gittins points out that common

behaviour of the connected MHE system, to test

invest and to start small to be able to grow with

libraries are starting to become available. “For

a proper integration before the software goes live

the solutions, adding the functionality that they

example, the standards organisation GS1 will

on site,” he said. “More and more customers are

need, when they need it,” he commented.

soon start making supply chain-related data

participating during this integration test phase in

resources more publicly available,” he

the test lab, which gives them an excellent

Eppert reports that he has seen very few serious

commented. “In so doing, organisations will have

opportunity for training with their new system and

requests for a SaaS model so far, stating that in

access to better quality information rather than

being well prepared for a smooth commissioning

the context of automation projects the WMS is

having to rely on something of a mixed bag that

and ramp-up phase later on.”

seen as an additional investment to the usually more expensive equipment. “For a ‘public Cloud’

we have at the moment.” Eppert also makes the point that the

approach we have seen little interest so far,” he

One area that can be enormously improved

heterogeneous world of logistics still requires

added, “but for small- to mid-size systems we

through greater levels of reliable integration is

suppliers to be flexible with integrations that

see increasing interest and opportunities in

traceability, according to Gittins. “This continues

connect to the existing IT landscape of the

‘private Cloud’ solutions, having the benefit of

to be a hot topic within the supply chain world.

customer. “This hasn’t changed so far,” he

reduced IT setup and maintenance costs. This is

Somebody’s finished goods are somebody

added. Brorsson currently sees more demands

enabled by the general progress in

else’s raw materials. And one food product could

on flexible integrations and more detailed

communication and virtualisation technology.”

run through 20 or 30 processes before it arrives

demands for solving problems in specific areas

at your dinner table. Most recently we had the

of the supply chain.

Kay observes that SaaS as a payment model, available from most WMS vendors, has given

horsemeat scandal. It’s a shame that the subject

customers an alternative option for purchasing

of tracking and traceability most often seems to get attention when something goes wrong.

At your service

the WMS. However, he believes it can be a

Tracking and traceability remains one of those

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS) model had

double edged sword. “Initially it might seem

things that companies opt into but only at a

any notable level of impact on the WMS software

great to avoid capital expenditure, especially for





October 2013


Warehouse management

Special technology report

a fledgling business. However three years down

Kay makes the point that a busy warehouse can

wherever they are, so

the line when you’re dependent on the WMS and

be a very harsh environment for mobile devices

they don't have to be

you still have to pay every month just to use it, it

that haven’t been designed for rugged use. “The

at their desk or in the

might seem like a false economy.”

reason most handheld devices used for picking

premises. “They can

are so bulky is because they are designed to

get it at any time of

Kay adds that, in his view, Cloud technology has

withstand rough handling,” he said. “Tablet PCs

the day, wherever

been over hyped. “It certainly has its place, but it

and smartphones are most useful for providing

they are,” he said.

doesn’t actually provide a better solution than an

management information both within the

Hampson recognises

on-premise WMS system, often quite the

warehouse and externally. The ability for an

that data security is a

opposite,” he remarked. “Recent glitches with

operations manager to check the current status

potential issue with

Cloud technology have caused downtime for

of his pick operation whilst off site is obviously a

regard to mobile

Instagram, Netflix, Amazon, Intel and Google. If

useful feature. Smartphone alerts for operational

devices. However, he

those companies can’t guarantee a reliable

alarms also mean personnel can react more

makes the point that

connection to their services what hope does a

quickly to problems and consequently resolve

when people get these devices stolen or they

UK SME using a Cloud WMS have?”

them more rapidly.”

leave them somewhere, systems integrators

Graham Gittins

such as BEC need to integrate services such as Gittins observes that mobility is certainly a very

geo-fencing into their offering. In this way,

On the move

hot topic at the moment within the world of WMS.

devices can be quickly locked down and wiped

Are mobility solutions such as mobile computers

“Advanced Computer Software has just won an

so that any sensitive information is removed.

and tablet PCs having an impact or influence on

award in the US for developing a new mobile

WMS systems? Brorsson believes this is

application for calculating an individual’s

undoubtedly the case. “Users want access to

expenses. And if you have people using their

The big question

data/information anywhere. And our mobility

own mobile phones to do their expenses there’s

Is Big Data having an impact on the world of WMS solutions? Eppert believes the answer is a

Rather than basic data warehouses, what’s needed is cubes or matrices of information that have already got the type of data companies require presummarised and cross referenced. This may be an expense but it’s also a technology that I think more people are becoming familiar with.” – Graham Gittins, Advanced Business Solutions.

definite “yes”. “The WMS is asked to deliver more detailed internal process data to the BI platform to facilitate deeper data analytics,” he said. “Especially combining process data from various views of the warehouse can give a better insight in improvement potentials. For example, monitoring the timestamps of when delivery

applications bring this possibility to our users.”

no reason why they wouldn’t also be able to use

orders were downloaded to the WMS can help to

Eppert also believes mobility solutions will have a

their own mobile devices to do various question

find out why deliveries were issued later than

big impact on WMS systems. “The progress of

& answer-type tasks related to their company’s

expected in addition to just looking at their

this technology enables new possibilities also

WMS. For example if sales staff speaking to

priority.” Eppert added that he believes the

within the warehouse,” he said. “For example, if a

customers want to gain permission to release

correct interpretation of the data will stay a

service technician has to solve an equipment

stock in order to satisfy an order more or less in

human task for the time being and will not

defect, he benefits from having all related

real time, there’s no reason why a service

become fully-automated in the near future. “In

information immediately available at the spot on

module couldn’t be provided in a format that

this sense Big Data should be understood as the

his tablet. Furthermore if he needs remote

could be fitted onto a mobile device. By using

approach to take good decisions based on good

assistance, he wants to illustrate the problem

such a device field sales

with his mobile video camera while discussing

personnel could receive

the situation with a specialist, potentially sitting

confirmation from the

thousands of miles away in his office (see, for

warehouse that either stock is

example. the new EYE4U solution of

or isn’t currently available.

Vanderlande Industries). We will see more of

Then, they can relay that

these applications in the future, as the mobile

information to the customer as

technology evolves quickly. In general there is a

soon as they receive it.”

big common cultural trend towards being online everywhere. People’s expectation is that this is

Hampson’s perception is that

possible with any kind of modern software,

people now have an

including WMS.”

expectation that they can get their enterprise information




October 2013



Special technology report

information,” he said.

Kay’s view is that Big Data is only useful if you

integration easier for some of the smaller WMS

“A challenge for the

have good tools to turn it into it big information.

vendors. Then, there are the specialist

future will be to

“What is important is to ensure the WMS records

technology suppliers whose systems are

elevate media

all the important information separately from the

integrated within the suite of systems you find in

information like

operational database otherwise you run the risk

many modern warehouse environments. For

pictures and movies

of the reporting tools impacting the performance

instance, Voice-directed picking systems, RFID

taken from the

of the WMS operation itself,” he commented.

technology and mobile devices of various types

processes in a

“Having historical reference data can allow you

– truck-mounted terminals for use in the

warehouse to the level

to identify trends that can in turn allow more

warehouse, smartphones or tablets with touch-

of data analytics.”

Derek Kay

Warehouse management

Gittins points out that he has spent 16 years on the software side of warehousing and has realised first-hand the amount of data available

What is important is not to compromise the WMS by trying to make it a Jack of all trades. Keeping the data and BI reporting separate from, but fed by, the real-time operational WMS gives you the best of both worlds.” – Derek Kay, Logistex.

today compared with what used to be around just a few years ago. “And much of this data is

efficient use of equipment and the workforce.

screen technology for use by sales staff in the

tied up with dashboards and business

What is important is not to compromise the WMS

field. It’s all about ensuring staff are given the

intelligence, with people analysing it in order to

by trying to make it a Jack of all trades. Keeping

means to work as effectively as possible.”

better understand historical, current and future

the data and BI reporting separate from, but fed

trends,” he said. “The danger is that rather than

by, the real-time operational WMS gives you the

Mikael Brorsson’s view is that most WMS are

resulting in companies being able to make more

best of both worlds.”

similar to each other, with few differences. “We create additions to our WMS that fit our existing

informed decisions they can very easily get to

customers perfectly, such as Warehouse 3D, a

the point where all they’ve really got is ‘analysis paralysis’. If they end up spending more time

What’s the difference?

solution for layout planning your warehouse in

analysing data than using it to business

What are some of the main functionality

3D,” he said. Brorsson also cited the

advantage they’ve got a problem.”

differentiators within the WMS vendor

functionality Adaptive multi-cycle, that minimises


empty driving in the warehouse, using the

This, states Gittins, is where Big Data comes

Gittins reminds us that at the larger end of the

forklifts more efficient in adaptive task

in. “Rather than basic data warehouses, what’s

market, there are those companies who do a lot

interleaving. Additionally, he points to Dynamic

needed is cubes or matrices of information that

more of the hard integration, suppliers of

location allocation, for better use of space and

have already got the type of data companies

conveyors, sorting systems, robotics, etc. “I think

less administration.

require pre-summarised and cross

that as things progress this type of automation

referenced,” he remarked. “This may be an

may become increasingly more commonplace,”

For Eppert, the ability to integrate in an optimal

expense but it’s also a technology that I think

he said. “Fortunately, there are some third-party

way into the specific IT context of the customer

more people are becoming familiar with. And I

components available that can make that type of

is crucial. “The existing IT setup usually reflects

think as Big Data becomes increasingly recognised for the advantages it can offer, the more companies will value the expertise that can be provided by people who understand how to filter out the data chaff and focus on the information that is of direct benefit to the organisation.” Brorsson maintains that there are very few companies that have control of their data in full. “It is more common that our customers need to do a vast internal work in order to ‘clean’ data before implementing an WMS,” he said. “When the WMS is in use, customers request solutions to support their need for analytics in retrospect analyses for their warehouse operations and for proactive operations planning.”





October 2013


Warehouse management

Special technology report

Big Data. “We will

a significant investment, which has to be safeguarded,” he said, adding: “Having a state-

Moving ahead

hear a lot about Big

of-the-art and future-oriented development

What might be the next

Data and its benefits.

platform is important, as WMS setups are

innovations/developments to look out for in the

The part mobile

usually in service for many years. Additionally,

world of WMS software over the next year or

devices play in

Eppert considers that a good support of

two? Brorsson points to truly zero modification

making end-to-end

mechanised processes should be part of the

deployments and customers’ requirement for a

track and trace and

WMS as well, as there is the steady tendency

standard WMS with basic functionality in order


towards further automation for cost and quality

to enhance implementation speed, quick

communication more

reasons. Eppert also maintains that ergonomics

integration and usage of the system. Brorsson

seamless will continue

in the software and the workplace setup is

adds that over the next few years he believes

to develop. Overall

crucial, as it influences the performance of the

that new advanced technology will partly drive

supply chain visibility will continue to improve,

workers and the supervising staff, as well as

the development of WMS functionality. For

with real-time monitoring and real-time events

their learning curves.

example, he considers that usage of Google

becoming the norm for a lot of warehouse

Martin Eppert

Glass in a warehouse would be a way of

professionals. Greater levels of flexibility will also

According to Eppert, the facilities of the WMS to

incorporating new technology. Brorsson also

continue to improve. For example, if plan A isn’t

easily manage and supervise the warehouse

foresees other new ways of working in a

considered to be the best option, plan B,C or D

processes are very important as well. “A good

traditional warehouse operation, and believes

can be put into action in its place as part of a

WMS assists the supervisor by presenting the

that usage of dashboard solutions in warehouse

largely automated process. Increasingly, we will

important information in an easily accessible

operations will be more frequently used.

see functionality built into the system that can compensate for certain events not going to plan.

way,” he said, adding that, besides the functional aspects, it is important to look at the

Eppert believes one key development in the

So computers, through their ability to analyse

organisation of the WMS supplier as well – for

area of WMS to look out for will be the

information quickly, will increasingly be able to

example at their experience in the customer’s

integration of new solutions such as automated

do analytical and comparative thinking in an

business area, their development processes

shuttle systems; allowing for scalable storage

automated way.”

In general there is a big common cultural trend towards being online everywhere. People’s expectation is that this is possible with any kind of modern software, including WMS.” – Martin Eppert, Vanderlande Industries.

Generally speaking, Kay believes we are likely to see movement in two key areas; storage of key information and increased accessibility to that information, wherever you are in the world. He added: “Recording of information regarding warehouse operations, order profiles and KPI’s

and ability to deliver. “For a successful long-

solutions or automated mixed palletising

coupled with good business intelligence tools

term relationship it is important to find the right

solutions. These solutions, he says, ask for

will allow managers to more effectively manage

partner,” he added.

specific support at WMS level to get the most

their teams and monitor trends to ensure

benefit out of the system.

continuous improvement in their operations. Access to this information via mobile devices

Kay believes the majority of the vendors remaining in the marketplace all have a good

Eppert added that he sees a future challenge

understanding of how to run a standard

for the WMS software world in the burgeoning

and easy to use app’s is going to be critical.”

warehouse operation. “They wouldn’t still be

conflict between the impressive innovation

As a general reflection on the WMS industry,

around if they hadn’t,” he remarked. However,

speed and release cycles on the consumer

Kay’s view is that the recent recession has seen

Kay’s view is that the differences are between

market on the one side and the demand for

a number of WMS suppliers merge with, or be

what could be described as the ‘Enterprise

future-proof investments in the world of logistics

taken over by, businesses whose focus is more

WMS’ suppliers who have substantial financial

on the other. “For example, mobile terminals in a

commercially biased. “As logistics professionals

backing – but consequently higher price tags

warehouse are often in operation for many

will know, trying to run a warehouse with an

and whole-life costs – and the independent

years, while the capabilities of usual

accounting system does not necessarily provide

WMS suppliers who can provide effective WMS

Smartphones and its applications are improving

the best results,” he remarked. “Those specialist

solutions for manual operations. “WMS systems

monthly,” said Eppert. “For me as product

WMS suppliers who have been strong enough

that can support automation ‘out of the box’ can

manager it’s an interesting task to assist in

to survive the past four years and continue to

give a complete solution with the ability to

introducing these new technologies into our

provide innovative and comprehensive solutions

enhance warehouse operations with

logistics world.”

are key to supporting an industry facing the major changes brought on by the growth in e-

appropriate automation as and when needed,” he said.


Looking forward, Gittins returns to the subject of




October 2013



Warehouse Management



A perfect Storm By Derek Kay, business development director, Logistex Ltd. eteorologically speaking, as Clouds get bigger and more unwieldy it’s often a sign of a storm approaching and this can significantly impact upon those affected by the sudden downfall. In IT terms, Cloud technology refers to applications or software systems that run on servers hosted remotely from the people using them. Users connect to the applications over the Internet.


The benefits argued are that companies don’t need to purchase, maintain and upgrade their own hardware. Combined with a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) payment model, Cloud Technology appears to offer an ideal solution to the ever changing world of IT. Many will argue that Cloud technology is now robust and that Internet connections are so reliable that you can run business critical applications on the Cloud without fear of their prolonged failure adversely affecting your business. The question is, have too many suppliers moved to Cloud technology too quickly, leading to the beginnings of a perfect storm in the computing nursery that is known as Cloud Technology?

albeit at present for short periods of time. In August 2013, Instagram, Vine and Netflix were all adversely affected for several hours by software problems at one of Amazon’s Cloud datacentres. Earlier in the same month, the Amazon website itself went offline for about half an hour, with a cheery, ”Oops! We’re very sorry” message being broadcast to frustrated shoppers. Have too many suppliers moved to Cloud technology too quickly, leading to the beginnings of a perfect storm in the computing nursery that is known as Cloud Technology?

Intel, Google and Ebay have also recently been hit with downtime due to failures in the Cloud technology that supports them. It’s easy to sit back and say, “well it was only a few hours, it didn’t make that much difference”, but those delays were experienced by some of the biggest companies in the world; how quickly would the problem have been resolved for a UK SME who depends on a Cloud-based Warehouse Management System (WMS) to run their operation?

hosting of business critical applications doesn’t necessarily make sense in a world where customers expect earlier and earlier cut-offs and guaranteed deliveries. Benjamin Franklin famously flew his kite into a thundercloud as an experiment, with so many kites being flown into the IT Cloud, how soon before someone gets a serious shock?

What is the impact to service levels when your eCommerce website can’t get access to accurate stock levels because the server farm where the WMS is hosted has a ‘glitch’? How many of your customers would smile when told “Oops! We’re very sorry, we can’t even pick your order, let alone deliver it.”?

High-profile failures In the global press recently we’ve been seeing a number of high profile Cloud failures, 12




October 2013

When you combine the recent reports of Cloud technology failures with slow or intermittent failures in broadband connections, remote

At Logistex we’ve been developing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) for over 30 years and our flagship product, LWS Reflex, is a fully featured WMS which has the capability to run both manual and automated warehouse solutions. Customers who use Reflex in a manual operation know that as their business grows, they can take advantage of the use of appropriate automation to improve the effectiveness of their operation, without having


Warehouse Management



means that when automation does become necessary to meet rapidly increasing throughput, the network infrastructure has the response speed to cope. It’s also nice to know that while you’re running a manual operation your warehouse teams are getting the instant responses on their mobile terminals that can only come from a real time, on-premise WMS.

Logistex has been developing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) for over 30 years and its flagship product, LWS Reflex, is a fully featured WMS which has the capability to run both manual and automated warehouse solutions.

to replace their WMS or buy a third-party control system and pay for expensive interfaces.

The response speed to cope With server costs dramatically reduced in the


past 5 years, the security of knowing your operation is not subject to the vagaries of an Internet connection is a small price to pay. Usually deployed on a pair of servers hosted on premise, in a primary and warm standby arrangement, Reflex provides a WMS resilient to hardware failure. On premise servers also

Having on-premise servers doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from SaaS payment models, Logistex has the advantage of being able to offer the security of dedicated on site hardware, paid for either through a rental (SaaS), lease purchase or capital purchase agreement, whichever best suits the customer. Our customer portfolio includes many household names and growing small businesses and our experience has demonstrated we can provide the best solution on day one and ensure it’s still the best solution 25 years later. 



October 2013



Warehouse Management


Company insight

Vanderlande Industries for solutions that fit the fashion industry oday’s warehouses and distribution centres face a lot of challenges: increasing labour costs, less available space and frequent small orders with short delivery times. It is a constant search for solutions that reduce operational costs, generate higher productivity, optimise space utilisation and enable high service levels. Vanderlande Industries understands these challenges and has a fitting solution for all of them. It is therefore not surprising that big fashion names as Zalando, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters, Timberland and Nike executed their warehouse projects with Vanderlande in the past few years.

located close to her customers and their markets. Vanderlande Industries can help companies to optimise their fashion logistics. Vanderlande has the knowledge and expertise to address the specific issues facing fashion companies, such as:

For the last century the fashion industry has grown immensely. Due to the possibilities of technological progress and the invention of the sewing machine, the making of clothes became mass production instead of tailor- and hand-made. With the rise of the mass production also the fashion industry grew and brands arose. Buying and wearing fashion came within reach of most social groups in both Europe as the US, followed by the Far East and other developing regions in more recent years. With the rise of this industry also new challenges came to life, in distribution for example. And with new developments such as e-commerce and economical growth in countries like China, Brazil and India (and thereby increasing labour costs) fashion companies and distributors have to break new grounds.

• •


• • •

Effective handling of 'push' and 'pull' flows. Handle an ever larger

Vanderlande Industries fits to the requirements of (potential) customers in the fashion industry.

product range. Setting up highly responsive supply chains. Efficient and effective e-fulfilment. Store-friendly deliveries.

capacity for unpredictable future growth. Vanderlande Industries was able to offer the level of engineering competence and integration expertise that this mammoth project required. Vanderlande Industries’ experience and versatility tipped the scales in its favour, resulting in an order for the complete conveying technology and PLC system package at main contractor level.

Solutions and products Vanderlande products and solutions for fashion companies include: • • • •

• •

Automated storage and retrieval systems, especially automated carton stores. Goods to man systems. Batch picking systems. Sortation systems (cross belt sorter 700 for unit sorting either in chute or direct in shipping carton), sliding shoe sorter). Cross docking systems. Combinations of systems (hybrid).

References Valuable expertise The expertise of Vanderlande Industries can be of valuable help on the way to efficient fulfilment. Efficient fulfilment is key to delivering a high service level with fast, accurate order handling. Vanderlande Industries, a worldwide top-five player in material handling, understands this process like no other. Whether it is about direct to consumer-delivery (e-commerce) or distribution to retail outlets. Also Vanderlande Industries knows and understands the challenges of their (potential) customers. Due to different customer centres around the globe, the company is always 14




October 2013

Vanderlande Industries fits to the requirements of (potential) customers in the fashion industry. Our references speak for themselves. Zalando – For Zalando for instance Vanderlande designed and implemented a system with maximum flexibility for the warehouse in Erfurt, Germany. This warehouse is the linchpin in Zalando’s process. Requirements of total reliability, maximum availability and redundancy as well as high flexibility and modularity have resulted in the creation of a system that is capable of handling the demanding logistic challenges of a volatile market and also offers adequate

Nike – And with Nike Vanderlande Industries has a long history in working together. Nike operates an automated warehouse for apparel (opened in 1994) and footwear (opened in 1995) in the Antwerp sub-urb of Laakdal. This is home to Nike’s Logistics Centre of Excellence, the heart of Nike’s distribution operations for the EMEA region. At this site, Vanderlande built the material handling systems, as well as the two fully automated high bay warehouses for pallets and cartons (opened in 1998). Systems were extended by Vanderlande several times to accommodate Nike’s strong growth. Latest extension is an automated carton store with 12 miniloads. To this day the relationship between Nike and Vanderlande Industries remains.

And there’s more... Other fashion companies who choose Vanderlande Industries to design and implement their logistics system are: Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters and Next. Big names and good references in Eastern Europe are TVOE and LPP. To find out what Vanderlande can do for you visit us at www.vanderlande.com/fashion 



LET US HELP YOU TO: Reduce operational costs - Optimise space utilisation - Improve accuracy Reduce through put time - Provide ergonomic working conditions for employees

Find out what we can do for you at: www.vanderlande.com

Warehouse Management



Advanced Business Solutions provides top ten predictions on the future of third party logistics he third party logistics (3PL) landscape has altered significantly in the past decade and is tipped to experience further growth and change as mobile technologies and ‘smart’ working practices develop. With growth in 3PL markets forecast to be as high as 15 per cent in *South America and the Asia Pacific regions, the demand to service these markets in 2020 will generate fierce competition. A greater consumer demand for 24/7 services and reduced costs means efficiency and accuracy will be crucial for the future of a successful 3PL firm. Businesses will remain keen to drive down their own operational and labour costs by outsourcing to 3PLs but success will hinge on their willingness and






October 2013

ability to adopt new technologies. Simon Fowler, managing director of Advanced Business Solutions (Commercial division) takes a glimpse into the future and offers his top ten predictions for what the 3PL industry will look like in 2020:

based portals and access to the systems of the 3PL.

1. More collaboration – logistics companies will rely heavily on technology to collaborate, connect, and engage with customers. Electronic data exchange will be critical, not only for the performance and integrity of the data, but the flexibility and speed of change. Vendor managed inventory – where the supply chain vendor monitors the buyers inventory and makes periodic resupply decisions – will be common in even the smallest 3PL via web-

2. Increased visibility – Methods such as continuous replenishment and inventory management will be commonplace. A more holistic approach to the entire supply chain will be typical, with more emphasis given to external visibility. Collaboration with manufactures will assist with visibility of production schedules with supplier and ensure raw material availability, but also with sales channels so that demand is connected with availability. 3. Rise in mobile use – Paper records in warehouses will be a distant memory, and everything in 2020 will be focussed around


Business Solutions

Warehouse Management has Advanced. Shouldn’t you?

OpenWMS from Advanced will make sure you stay ahead - not left behind. Advanced’s Warehouse Management System (OpenWMS) gives 3PL’s the tools and functionality to automate processes, manage complex operations of multiple clients and support a variety of customer system interfaces.

OpenWMS will help you to: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Boost productivity Reduce costs 6KRUWHQRUGHUIXOÂżOPHQWWLPHV Increase overall customer satisfaction

If you’re interested in how you can become more Advanced:

Call: 01582 714 810 or visit: www.advancedcomputersoftware.com/abs Think you know Advanced? Think again. Advanced Business Solutions is a market-leading business applications and services provider with more WKDQ\HDUVÂśH[SHULHQFHSURYLGLQJDUDQJHRIEDFNRIÂżFHVROXWLRQVWR8.RUJDQLVDWLRQV $GYDQFHGÂśVVRIWZDUHV\VWHPVFRPSULVHFRUHDFFRXQWLQJÂżQDQFLDOPDQDJHPHQWSURFXUHPHQWVXSSO\FKDLQ management, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document PDQDJHPHQWDQGEXVLQHVVLQWHOOLJHQFHVROXWLRQVWRH[WHQGWKHYDOXHDQGHIIHFWLYHQHVVRIWKHÂżQDQFH human resource and payroll departments.

Warehouse Management

agility through mobility. Mobile devices will be commonplace and used right across the board at all 3PL firms. With the potential for RFID enabled devices to hold data so that the items carry information with them e.g. product and providence for identification and traceability. Customers will be able to order and process anytime, anywhere, 24/7. 4. Workflow automation – Information previously generated by people will increasingly be automated and systemgenerated, and data will flow out of increasingly sophisticated stock sensors. Inventory will count itself, and containers will be able to detect their own contents. GPS technology will allow pallets to report in if they end up in the wrong location allowing delivery errors to be put right while still in transit. 5. Smarter technology – Firms will see the benefits of investing in smarter IT and software systems which can deliver rapid ROIs. Software, such as Advanced’s Warehouse Management System (WMS), will drive cost and time saving, increasing efficiencies. Voice picking will be standard in the supply chain process, such as stock enquiries. Improved speech recognition software will also allow workers to communicate directly with their WMS to improve stock recording, speed up order turn-rounds and shorten staff training periods. 6. Diversification – Outsourcing to 3PLs has seen fierce rivalry between businesses and only those which are able to add value to the services they offer, with differentiators, will survive. Those who make it will have morphed from commodity distribution services to more complex organisations offering online ordering, returns processing, product assembly and kitting, documentation and inventory management. Integrating customers with a broader range of solutions will become a way for 3PL firms to form longer lasting partnerships and become more profitable in the future. 7. Big Data and sharing information – Cloud-based technology will be used by the majority of logistics companies as they embrace the new age of Big Data. 3PLs





October 2013



will recognise the need to allow clients access to their own systems to improve efficiency in areas linked to seasonal trends and the demands of flexible operations. Shared data will also allow the traceability of an item in the supply chain. 8. Better management – While commercial success will largely depend on staff, an all-encompassing warehouse management system will encourage better employee management. Staff will be more accurately measured against KPIs from time per task, picking routes and over/under performers to staffing levels required for specific orders and picks.

consumption and transport costs. Expect companies, even direct competitors, to share transport in order to reduce overheads, including fuel and maintenance costs. The 3PL industry will face many challenges in the future, but by 2020 the sector will have grown dramatically, largely down to the massive expansion of emerging global markets. Technology will continue to be vital to the sector, mobile devices and business intelligence solutions playing a big part in streamlining the industry. Those firms that are the most agile and are quicker to invest in new technologies and adopting smarter ways of working, will be

Smarter technology, 24/7 mobile working, Big Data and a global outlook will be key.”

9. Globalisation – In 2020 the world economy will be more integrated and 3PLs will be expected to work on a larger scale with a distinctly global outlook. Distribution will expand globally with more opportunities opening up in other parts of the world including the Far East and South America. 10.Sustainability – As businesses identify new ways of working to increase efficiencies, sustainability will be key. This will impact on the buildings and equipment used by the 3PL companies, which will look to green-friendly technology to deliver efficiency savings in areas such as energy

the 3PL companies leading the field in 2020. *Armstrong & Associates predict North America will have a 3PL growth rate this year of between five and seven per cent, Europe about two per cent, the Asian Pacific region around 12 to 15 per cent while South America will hit between 15 and 18. See more at: http://www.canadiansailings.ca/?p=6579#sthas h.7iuh4C5v.dpuf

Advanced Business Solutions at a glance Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced) provides integrated business applications and services that enable public, private and third sector organisations to retain control, improve visibility and gain efficiencies whilst continually improving corporate performance. Advanced comments that it prides itself on getting close to its customers by understanding their businesses and responding to their evolving needs. Advanced’s software systems comprise core accounting/financial management, procurement, supply chain management, human resource and payroll systems, integrated with a range of collaborative, document management and business intelligence solutions to extend the value and effectiveness of the finance, human resource and payroll departments. Management information systems for school and academies are also provided through Advanced’s subsidiary, Advanced Learning. Advanced also provides specialist vertical solutions for the not-for-profit and legal markets. All solutions can be delivered as a managed or bureau service. Customers are from both the public and private sectors and include Companies House, Newcastle City Council, NHS Scotland, Norfolk Constabulary, Edge Hill University, WH Smith, Royal Bank of Scotland, Aer Lingus, National Express Group, DFS and RSPB. Advanced Business Solutions is a division of Advanced Computer Software Group plc, a supplier of software and IT services to the health, care and business services sectors.


Voice-directed picking

Special technology report

Listen up Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke with a number of spokespeople from the Voice-directed picking solutions vendor and systems integration community about a number of current key talking points. These include areas of development that are providing even more compelling benefits for the end user, and possible further innovations that could surface over the next year or two. oice-directed picking solutions


activities (ensuring the correct locations or

starting to provide value outside

continue to become increasingly

quantities) and scanning or RFID for data

the traditional four walls of a

attractive to end users in a number

collection (unique batch information).” He adds

warehouse in areas such as

of vertical sectors such as

that the recent acquisition of Vocollect/Intermec

inspection. The increasing availability

warehousing and retail. And since

by Honeywell illustrates that the AIDC industry

of voice recognition on consumer

its initial introduction a few years ago this

recognises that this harmonisation of

devices will drive user awareness and further

technology space has seen a number of notable

technologies best meets end-user requirements.

broaden the range of Voice applications in the market.”

leaps forward. So, bringing our Voice technology up to date, what are some of the

Another main current discussion point,

current main points or discussion within the

according to Darrel Williams, is about optimising

du Preez adds that it is important to distinguish

Voice-directed solutions space? Ronan Clinton,

your resources. “In an ideal world one resource

the requirements for industrial, line-of-business

CEO of Heavey RF Group, believes the world of

should fit every purpose. Voice technology goes

Voice from those of a consumer. “The return on

Voice logistics over the past couple of years has

some way to achieving this. As well as

investment of line-of-business applications is

very much become the solution of choice for

delivering the expected productivity and

based on shaving seconds off a repetitive

busy and growing warehouses. In his view, one

accuracy benefits, Voice must address the

process and this demands high performance,

of the chief reasons for this is the ongoing

needs of a multi-national, diverse workforce. It

highly accurate recognition – any repetition or

developments and production of the recognition

goes without saying that every spoken language

mis-recognition means those saved seconds

components and the ability for operators to use

and dialect must be

Voice as an effective data inputting tool. “This

accommodated in any

continues to be a key element in the operation

and all combinations.

of any application which uses Voice as the

Likewise, a company’s

medium,” said Clinton. “This, coupled with more

equipment and people

innovatively developed off-the-shelf software

need to be able to fulfil

allows customers to choose a less expensive,

every task, in any

higher performing solution that deliver all of the

environment assigned to them, with a

place and we see consumer-grade voice

benefits that Voice has to offer.”

consistently high level of performance.

recognition simply expanding the overall Voice

Vocollect’s simple, directive Voice solution


are lost. Consumer

The world of Voice logistics over the past couple of years has very much become the solution of choice for busy and growing warehouses.” – Ronan Clinton, Heavey RF Group.

applications need to deal with a far wider vocabulary and are not as time critical. So both approaches to voice recognition have their

According to Darrel Williams, regional director

enables all workers using a single hardware

Northern Europe & South Africa at Vocollect.

platform to execute every warehouse process,

Tim Williams, distribution divisional director at

integration of scanning and Voice technology is

without the need for task-specific training

BCP, believes it is now all about having full

resulting in a flexible multi-skilled workforce.”

control of the warehouse with Voice (wall-to-

a key talking point.

wall Voice) rather than just using Voice for

“It’s no longer an

Ronan Clinton

‘either/or’ scenario.”

Anton du Preez, group sales director at VoiteQ,

picking, in order that the benefits of Voice can

he says. “We are

considers that, at a broad market level, some of

be delivered right across the warehouse

seeing clear situations

the key developments are: the expanding

operation. “Until recently Voice was virtually

where certain tasks

number of industries that are adopting Voice-

synonymous with Voice picking,” he remarked,

are best fulfilled by

directed work, the application of the technology

“but now more and more vendors are

Voice technology and

to process tasks beyond picking and the

developing Voice functionality for other

others through

‘consumerisation’ of voice recognition. “We’re

warehouse operations – and there’s a trend

scanning – Voice for

seeing an upward trend in the use for Voice in

towards full Voice WMS (warehouse

all productivity, focus

stock movement processes such as Putaway

management systems) rather than bolting a

and validation

and Replenishment,” he said. “Voice is also

Voice pick system onto an existing WMS.”




October 2013



Special technology report

Mikael Brorsson

Voice-directed picking

Tim Williams also

ERP etc. “Real-time integration is now the norm

at Zetes, there are five key topics currently

considers that there is

and what's expected, rather than offline

being discussed within the Voice technology

increasing awareness

batching up of information and reporting after


that warehouse

the event,” he said. Mikael Brorsson, product

operations are often

manager at Consafe Logistics, believes that

more complex than

although traditional picking is the most common

the ability to choose between speaker-

generally perceived,

methodology, some ‘Voice mature’ operations

independent (untrained Voice systems)

and that a fully

now look to utilise Voice in other areas such as

whereby the user does not have to train a

integrated WMS

put-away, cycle counts and packing etc.

voice template profile for the system is a

1. “Trained versus untrained systems: Having

designed around

significant development because it is highly

Voice can deliver

Jon Hall, group operations director at Touchstar

beneficial for companies with a highly

much more

Technologies, comments that during these

seasonal workforce.

functionality and flexibility. “It’s something we, at

difficult economic times, end users have been

BCP, identified right at the start and, as a result,

put under increased pressure to reduce costs

2. “Vendor-independence: this is another hot

we’ve been delivering wall-to-wall Voice WMS

whilst remaining operationally effective. “With

topic and is a strength of Zetes’ MCL

solutions since the beginning, implementing the

budgets constrained it has been difficult to

platform, because it means customers are

first UK wall to-wall Voice solution in the UK food

justify implementing any form of technology

free to choose any hardware vendor they

& drink industry way back in 2002,” he pointed out. Additionally, Tim Williams believes there is an increasing

Multimodal technology will become more prevalent to manage more complex processes.” – Mikael Brorsson, Consafe Logistics.

demand for more

upgrade,” he remarked.

want and are not tied into a particular

“Voice can deliver on


average an ROI within 12 months and its

3. “Voice in the Cloud: The concept of Voice

business case can be

software in the Cloud is another hot topic

easily built by way of a

and this is also totally device-independent –

simple warehouse

there is no need to purchase a new

sophisticated statistics to help effectively

walkthrough. Whereas Voice-directed solutions

software licence if you change to a different

manage the warehouse workforce and for

were typically applied to picking scenarios,

hardware platform. For instance you may be

systems to be ever more easy and intuitive to

warehouse and logistics operators are now

running an MCL Voice picking application

use and maintain. This, he maintains, is another

realising productivity improvements of between

on a Motorola device and then in the future

driver for a single Voice WMS to manage all

10 and 35 per cent, with up to 99.9 per cent

wish to switch to Intermec devices; there is


operational accuracy across the full spectrum of

no requirement to buy an additional MCL

warehouse processes. An increased awareness

licence for the Intermec device, since the

Andreas Finken, president of topVOX Inc. (US)

of the technology and potential benefits the

licence cost is based on a monthly

and managing director of topVOX Ltd. (UK),

solutions can bring to the wider warehouse

subscription and will continue running as

reflects that Voice picking started in picking

operation has certainly increased the awareness


sector and has become a reliable solution for

and interest in the technology.”

other applications in the logistics sector. “New

4. “Financial models: The pay per month/ pay

solutions that we provide to other branches, e.g.

Hall added that the ergonomics of the Voice-

as you go formula for buying Voice is also

for check by Voice for the maintenance sector

directed hardware has also developed

attractive for people who want to invest in

or manufacturing industry, are based on a

tremendously over the years – more

new technology using operating

speech dialogues with an enhanced

specifically, he makes the point that the size

expenditure (opex) rather than capital

vocabulary,” he said. “As topVox provides a

and weight of batteries in comparison to their

expenditure (Capex). This makes it possible

speaker-independent system it is easy to

power has allowed Voice terminals to become

to react more quickly to requirements and

implement new Voice solutions in other business

smaller lighter and work for longer between

allocate a monthly fee rather than have to

branches. Besides our customers and

charges. “Operationally this has contributed

embark on a lengthy capex approval

prospects look for Voice solutions that are

significantly to productivity increases and user


hardware independent and that can be used

acceptance of the technology,” he said. Also,

even with iOS and Android based devices.”

Hall reminds us that Bluetooth wireless

“This model is particularly attractive for 3PLs

technology has become an integral element

because it is so flexible and means they can

Tony Hampson, managing director of BEC

of Voice directed solutions, in part due to the

have access to Voice technology and a pool

(Systems Integration) Ltd., considers that there

reliability of Bluetooth as a Voice-streaming

of hardware devices for the duration of a

is now more of a requirement for real-time


contract in order to make it more profitable. If

interfaces into systems such as Voice, WMS and

According to Andrew Southgate, sales director

the contract comes to an end, the 3PL has





October 2013


Voice-directed picking

Special technology report

the option to re-use

According to Tim Williams, a prime motivator

Mikael Brorsson sees one of the drivers for

devices at other sites

has been the failure of some simple Voice

deployment as a desire for multimodal user

without being tied in

picking solutions. “Warehouses are often more

interfaces such as the combination of Voice and

or simply return the

complex than generally perceived and solutions

mobile devices. Hampson comments that

devices to Zetes. This

need to be sophisticated and flexible enough to

customers have demanded that their systems

is an important

deal with the idiosyncrasies of different

become more open and accessible. “They don't

marketing innovation

operations,” he said. “On the other hand, the

want to have to go back to their ERP provider

for 3PLs because it

success of Voice in the picking operation has

for every change and may want to do more

allows them to invest

also prompted demand for its use elsewhere –

themselves or choose who to partner with for

in technology in a

and the demand for one solution across the

different aspects of the solution,” he said.

financially efficient

warehouse rather than bolting on one solution


for picking, another for stock, and so one. It’s

In Hall’s view, the maturity of the mobile

more cost effective, simpler to maintain.

technology market coupled with the increased

Moreover, many warehouses don’t have

competitiveness within the logistics market has

printing, RFID, AGVs now also synergy with

operators dedicated to one task. Rather, they

continued to drive the requirement for a more

pick to light modules is another important

Andreas Finken

5. “Integration with peripherals: e.g. scanners,

innovation. For example it is possible to combine Voice picking with a trolley equipped with light modules. This allows the operative to pick multiple assignments simultaneously and identify the correct location on the trolley with a light at each

[People] soon come to the conclusion that a trained Voice solution is just so out of date and massively limits flexibility as temporary staff spend the first half a day trying to get used to it after training and then the next week retraining their Voice template.” – Andreas Finken, topVOX.

stage. The light is displayed at the relevant

move between different tasks as required. So it’s

cost-effective and streamlined operation.

location where picked products are

much easier for them to have to just learn one,

“Logistics professionals are more aware of

dropped and this helps to make the whole

rather than several, systems.”

Voice and better educated in the technological advances available to them,” he added.

process faster and more accurate. In du Preez’s view, changing end-user

“Logistics professionals continue to drive the

“When Voice picking is integrated with

requirements are a factor. “For example, retailer

evolution of this in order to achieve the

AGVs this can improve productivity by an

demand on consumer goods manufacturers for

productivity, accuracy and competitive

additional 25 per cent above and beyond

smaller, more frequent deliveries requires these

advantage they seek.”

original levels because a new pallet can be

manufacturers to handle product at the case

automatically commissioned at the same

level rather than just full pallets,” he said, “Since

Hall also considers that poor battery life and

time as the full pallet is dropped off.

Voice is ideal for case picking, this is driving the

length of use has always been a challenge.

Previously this stage could waste up to 25

adoption of Voice in this market.” du Preez adds

“Continuous operation is critical in delivering the

per cent of total picking time.”

that the maturation of the warehousing Voice

productivity and ROI Voice promises, therefore

market is a factor in the expansion of Voice into

battery technology plays a very significant part

other processes. “Companies that have realised

in ensuring this,” he said. “The latest lithium

Drivers for change

the benefits of Voice in their picking operations

polymer batteries are using powerful processing

What has driven the types of changes and

over a number of years are now

developments cited above? Clinton considers

seeking to broaden that benefit,

that as Voice becomes a more widely

particularly when they look to

accepted ‘must have’ for the warehouse, the

refresh their handheld or vehicle-

market is seeing it spread further throughout

mounted devices in other areas

the supply chain bringing it into more

of the warehouse. Vendors and

demanding environments. “In doing so, the

integrators are also seeking

race is on for solution providers to differentiate

further growth and although there

themselves from the pack,” he said. “The ever

is still a very large portion of the

increasing demands throughout the supply

warehousing market that has still

chain for accuracy, productivity and most

to benefit from Voice, investment

importantly, information – has significantly

is being made in taking Voice

pushed forward the drive for technologies such

beyond the warehouse.”

as Voice and its effectiveness.”




October 2013



Special technology report

Tony Hampson

Voice-directed picking

technology to

Finken considers the general developments of

I.P. to create IDEs that utilise openly sourced

optimise charging

the hardware and software market. “Regarding

development tools and languages. By offering

and cell conditioning.

the hardware, we developed a new solution that

these to a range of partners around the world,

This optimises power

can be used on iOS and Android devices,” he

we enable diversity in both architecture and

and prolongs life and

said. “Moreover we are aware of the

solution type to suit each market and region.”

keeps the power-to-

development of WMS or ERP systems. When

weight ratio high.”

SAP launched the new EWM system topVOX

Hall observes that middleware is becoming

Additionally, Hall

developed a smart Voice solution that directly

more sophisticated and ERP vendors are

makes the point that

integrates into the new SAP system.” Finken

ensuring that they are providing better interfaces

headset cable

adds that some developments are customer

for Voice-directed solutions. “There are plug-

snagging that

resulted in damaged cables was a major headache for a Voice user historically. “The advances in Bluetooth wireless headsets was driven by this need and has a critical part to play in the evolution of the ruggedness overall reliability of Voice,” he remarked.

Do [users] want the hassle of managing the system themselves or do they just want a known cost per month for managing and maintaining that system? Most companies don't want to pay for this upfront; they would rather lease it.” – Tony Hampson, BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd.

driven. “In our last customer survey we were

and-play systems which are brilliant sales tools,

asked to integrate a wireless telephony function

however in reality the payback for Voice only

Darrel Williams comments that Vocollect’s

into our Voice solution and so we did. This kind

comes when the processes are optimised for

R&D spend as a percentage of revenue is

of telephone is used by customers that run large

Voice,” he said. “Any attempt to short cut this

substantial. “Voice solutions should be

warehouses to save time when they need to

optimisation results in a poor implementation

simple,” he said, “so evolution as opposed to

contact a single picker or a group of workers.”

that is prone to failure (or at best gives little

revolution means that we have consistently

improvement in productivity).”

made small, incremental benefits to ensure continuity of business for our customers. For


Clinton comments that Heavey RF has seen a

example, the advanced microphone array on

Looking in more depth at the theme of

significant amount of pressure placed by

the new Vocollect SRX2 headset.” Darrel

integration briefly referenced by some of our

customers on the WMS companies to provide

Williams added that Vocollect’s key motivation

commentators above, have ways of best

simpler integration methods. “Matching this

has been to ensure its technology

integrating Voice-directed systems with other

with the latest integration standards has made

development is driven by end-user business

systems (eg. systems such as WMS, ERP,

it considerably easier for customers to avail of

needs and not vice-versa. “These include

supply chain management, etc.) developed to

taking into account current issues such as

any notable degree over the past year or two?

economic pressures and the increase of the

Hampson believes the requirement for

immigrant workforce, to enable an optimum

seamless, real-time solutions is on the increase

working experience for all,” he pointed out.

as customers are forever seeking the tighter, integrated seamless solution as opposed to

According to Southgate, the benefits of Voice

batched/timed uploads – thus providing data

are now well understood, so changes have

transfer dynamically and enabling clients to see

arisen through an interest in sub optimisation;

updates in up to the second, real-time mode.

i.e. the optimisation of peripheral processes

According to Hampson, BEC is also seeing the

and activities or a desire to further improve

uptake of leasing as opposed to Capex

the process using additional technology. He

requirement within this space. “This is a positive

also believes the post downturn economy has

financial step forward for both parties – both the

had an inevitable effect as companies adapt

suppliers and customers alike,” he said.

to the challenges of obtaining finance for technological investment and the need to

Darrel Williams points out that Vocollect Voice

minimise risk. “Therefore models that support

integrates with any WMS or ERP, and comes as

greater flexibility – through having open

standard with many leading systems. “However,

access to hardware in the future or the ability

with the diversity of EU business systems there

to scale up and down quickly – are

remains a strong argument for bolt-on

immediately desirable,” he said.

middleware solutions,” he added. “We apply our





October 2013


Voice-directed picking

Special technology report

the benefits of middleware without sacrificing

business logic; not just downloadable pick

Clinton reflects that

the functionality of the WMS,” he said. “This


although Heavey RF

also enables customers to benefit from both

has the ability to

WMS experts and Voice experts, instead of

Southgate points out that Zetes has not seen

provide its solutions

one trying to fulfil the other’s shoes – a method

any recent significant changes with regard to

in a SaaS model, this

which has produced less than optimum results

integration. “There are still two primary ways to

is not something that

for early adopters.”

integrate Voice – the direct interface and using

has been demanded

middleware,” he says. “In the latter case, the

or is viewed as

Continuing the middleware theme, du Preez

business logic required for picking is

practical for the

observes that the vast majority of successful

controlled by the Voice system.” Andreas

company’s Voice

Voice solutions still operate via middleware

Finken explains that topVox provides standard

solution customers. “It

execution systems or via direct WMS

interfaces to all common WMS and ERP

is sometimes

interfaces. He makes the point that one

systems. “Middleware is only included if the

discussed within the

notable development in the integration of

customer requires that,” he added. “New is

sales process, but as

Voice with back-end systems has been the

our SAP-certified Voice solution Lydia

of yet there is no strong drive that we can see to

introduction of screen-to-Voice solutions where

Connector 7.0 for Voice that integrates directly

push Voice Solutions into a SaaS model,” he

an existing text-based handheld or PC screen

into SAP business modules like SAP WM or


is Voice-enabled – speaking the prompts to

EWM without any middleware. With Lydia

the user and entering their verbal responses

Connector 7.0 for Voice the complete

Southgate has witnessed that the concept of

into the screen; as if typed or scanned. “This

application logic of the Voice solution still

Voice software in the Cloud is starting to have a

has the advantage of not requiring any

remains within the SAP business module(s). All

significant impact on users who week ways to

change or integration to the back-end

standard processes – such as receiving,

reduce the risk of investment and avoid any

Darrel Williams

lock-in with hardware manufacturers. “Apart

SaaS remains an option for Voice that stimulates interest but doesn’t always deliver the best results.” – Darrel Williams, Vocollect.

from the scalability and maintenance benefits, Cloud-based Voice systems are totally device independent – there is no need to purchase a new software licence if you change to a different hardware platform – which makes them very

system,” he said, “but does limit the Voice

picking, replenishing, put-to-store, cross-

cost-efficient and easier to manage the total

workflow to that of the existing screens. These

docking, cycle counting and returns

cost of ownership,” he commented. “For

screens can be sub-optimal for Voice and

management – are supported by Lydia

instance you may be running an MCL Voice

therefore the business benefit would be lower

Connector. Even VT-based systems can now

picking application on a Motorola device and

than that of a fully optimised Voice system.” du

benefit from Voice easily with our new Lydia

then in the future wish to switch to Intermec

Preez also points out that integration of Voice

VT Connector.”

devices; there is no requirement to buy an additional MCL licence for the Intermec device,

with back-end systems is a core competency

since the licence cost is based on a monthly

of established Voice providers and that there are a range of open, standards-based

The SaaS debate

subscription and will continue running as

integration options available. “Of much greater

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS) model


importance are the operational improvements

had any notable level of impact on the Voice

and the associated business case,” he added.

space so far? Not really, reflects Tim Williams.

du Preez’s view is that SaaS and the Cloud has

“Several of our Voice WMS customers have

not had a noticeable impact on the Voice

Tim Williams reflects that integrating Voice

been operating private Cloud systems to

market. “External hosting or the centralisation of

into WMS is not as easy as it is often

manage multi-depot operations for years, but

Voice systems in a customer’s network has

represented. “And I believe this underlines

our own research/experience shows that

been in place for many years,” he points out.

the movement towards tightly integrated

customers prefer being able to see their own

“However, due to the time-critical nature of a

Voice WMS rather than bolting middleware

hardware and control their own data. There’s still

warehousing Voice application, many customers

Voice solutions into existing WMS,” he said.

an inherent discomfort about the data ownership

remain reluctant to fully outsource this as even

“It’s less risky, much more robust and

issue which comes with the SaaS/Cloud model.”

minor degradations in performance – that might

delivers more functionality.” Brorsson

Brorsson doesn’t see any real impact of SaaS

not be an issue for a PC-based application –

comments that there is a requirement for

on Voice per se, but makes the point that during

can have a significant impact on the

tighter integrated WMS versus Voice solution

the upcoming year Consafe Logistics will deliver

performance and business case of a real-time

for better use and access of existing

its Voice solutions as Cloud solutions.

Voice-directed operation. The commercial SaaS




October 2013



Special technology report

Voice-directed picking

model of ‘pay as you go’ is likely to gain some

SaaS and Cloud model, but the company’s

services such as geo-fencing into their offering.

traction in the market, particularly for those

experiences show that large and even small

In this way, devices can be quickly locked down

customers for whom a lower up-front capital

companies like to keep all software and data in-

and wiped so that any sensitive information is

investment outweighs the longer term

house. “The small companies even prefer our


subscription costs.”

Plug&Play solution that covers all standard warehouse processes and that comes along with

Darrel Williams considers that, at its simplest

Darrel Williams points out that the term ‘SaaS’

standard interfaces,” he said, adding that if these

level, Voice is another user interface. “It is the

has been around for many years and its

customers face seasonal increase they just rent

evolution of AIDC, improving on speed, human

interpretation is somewhat fluid. “To some it

new devices and licences for this short period.

ease of use and driving better results than more

means renting licenced software, to others it

user-intensive interfaces, such as tablets and

represents having a hosted system run by

However, Finken thinks SaaS models will

mobile computing devices. Voice enables end

someone one else,” he said. “Vocollect has

become more and more prevalent over time as

users to do what their business requires of them

been able to provide hosted systems across the

they are not a capital-intensive purchase. “And

in the best possible way, rather than their being

airwaves for many years with a variety of

as more e-commerce businesses develop, this

encumbered by technology.”

licensing models. However in order to maximise

is something that can gain them the benefits of

returns, Voice solutions often need to be

the very latest technology very quickly at both a

du Preez explains that the open nature of newer

personalised to individual requirements, and as

price and payment plan that will suit their

software architectures, such as Vocollect’s

such the astute client will usually invest in a

needs,” he said. “After all, e-commerce

VoiceArtisan, enables Voice terminals to easily

solution that differentiates him in his market,

companies operate in the Cloud, and as such

integrate and interact with other mobile devices.

whilst delivering an ROI, typically within a year.”

they have no fear of it.” That said, Finken

“An example of this would be the provision of

Darrel Williams added that SaaS remains an

explains that topVOX is currently finding that

user training via the user’s mobile phone rather than paper or a PC application,” he said, adding:

One of the benefits derived from a real-time system is real-time data. It is imperative that we use this real-time feedback to act on issues as they arise.” – Jon Hall, Touchstar Technologies.

“Integration with back-office systems is generally provided by the existing Voice applications, however more sophisticated Voice solutions include web-based dashboards and reports that can be viewed by users and supervisors on phones, tablets and PCs.”

option for Voice that stimulates interest but

these companies are still very interested in

doesn’t always deliver the best results.

topVOX’s Plug&Play solutions simply due to the fact that this is a low cost, quick and easy to

Clinton comments that Heavey RF’s focus is

Hampson points out that people have been

deploy ‘out of the box’ solution that fulfils their

within the four walls of the warehouse and it has

asking about the SaaS deployment model,

needs. “Two that we deployed recently provided

not seen tablets or mobility influence Voice

however he adds that there are two sides to this.

a 50 per cent productivity increase and virtually

logistics solutions. However, he adds that the

“Do they want the hassle of managing the

eliminated all pick errors for just a little over a

company has seen them complement these

system themselves or do they just want a known

picker’s salary,” he added.

solutions by providing interfaces that can give

cost per month for managing and maintaining

performance statistics and alerts via tablet or

that system? Most companies don't want to pay for this upfront; they would rather lease it.”

smartphone to key management personnel.


“This is purely complementary and not an

Are mobility solutions such as mobile computers

influencer,” he said.

Hall doesn’t believe that ‘true’ Cloud-based

and tablet PCs etc. having an impact or

technology will have any impact on the Voice-

influence on Voice systems? Hampson’s

Finken points out that

directed systems market in the short term.

perception is that people now have an

topVOX is receiving

“Voice-directed solutions are fast moving real-

expectation that they can get their enterprise

more and more

time applications. It is vital that data is

information wherever they are, so they don't

requests to provide

accessible locally, as any break in access

have to be at their desk or in the premises.

tablet PCs that work

would be detrimental to the operation.

“They can get it at any time of the day, wherever

with its Voice

Realistically, a real-time middleware application

they are,” he said. Hampson recognises that

solution. “This poses

sitting on a local server to hold this data locally

data security is a potential issue with regard to

no issues for us as

will still be necessary to ensure real-time

mobile devices. However, he makes the point

we provide a


that when people get these devices stolen or


From the technical perspective, Finken explains

they leave them somewhere, systems


that topVOX’s Voice solution is available as a

integrators such as BEC need to integrate

solution,” he





October 2013

Jon Hall


Voice-directed picking

Special technology report

remarked. “We

effective Android tablets into the logistics market

enable real business enhancing decisions to

operate on all

may impact on the uptake of Voice systems in

be made,” he points out. “When you have


the logistics market. “These do not offer any real

down-to-the-second analysis of everything that

applications as well

technical advantage to the end user, but due to

happens in your warehouse, you have to

as iOS and Android

budgetary constraints, they are perceived as a

ensure that you manipulate the correct data for

platforms. Providing

cheap alternative when users look to refresh their

the best decisions and not simply get bogged

the device can

current hardware estate. These are not suitable

down in massive amounts of data. This fine-

connect to either a

for a demanding warehouse logistics

tuning process will become more a feature of

tethered or Bluetooth


Voice as we move forward.”

work with it. We have

Southgate considers that the mobility question

Hall explains that TouchStar focuses on

a couple of

relates to two wider trends, which are currently

provision and presentation of this data,

customers who use such devices for product

hot topics in the world of enterprise IT – the

allowing staff at all levels to monitor and

pictures from the web for final recognition

consumerisation of IT and bring your own device

manage their operation efficiently and

purposes and even for Goods In processes

(BYOD). Southgate does not see this having an

effectively. “One of the benefits derived from a

as well as for more visual control over

impact on Voice systems because Voice picking

real-time system is real-time data,” he said. “It

warehouse locations. In a more field-based

is an industrial process and tends not to be

is imperative that we use this real-time

application we also have them deployed in

performed using consumer devices. What has

feedback to act on issues as they arise.”

Switzerland to perform vehicle checks similar

changed, according to Southgate, is the

to the MoT in the UK.”

expectation of users. “They want software

Tim Williams

headset, we can

Tim Williams’ observation is that tablet devices are being used at senior levels for management of the warehouse, to quickly identify hotspots, such as empty pick faces, for example. However, he adds that there’s no real movement in this direction on a day-to-day operational

Southgate considers we have yet to see any

Until recently Voice was virtually synonymous with Voice picking, but now more and more vendors are developing Voice functionality for other warehouse operations – and there’s a trend towards full Voice WMS rather than bolting a Voice pick system onto an existing WMS.” – Tim Williams, BCP.

basis. “Indeed, this would go completely against

applications that are more intuitive and easy to

real impact of Big Data on Voice systems.

the whole ‘hands-free, eyes-free’ ethos that

use, and we have addressed this with the

However, he believes we can be sure that in

underlines Voice technology in the warehouse,”

introduction of speaker-independent

the future the data a Voice system provides –

he said.

recognition,” he said. Brorsson considers that the

inventory information or cycle counting, for

world of mobile devices has had no real impact

example – could be a feed to Big Data

Having seen a move away from vehicle-mounted

on Voice solutions as yet, but believes this may

systems. “But this has not influenced the

terminals in favour of handheld terminals, Hall

change in the future.

design or functionality of Voice system itself,”

explains that TouchStar is now witnessing a

said Southdate. “What is most likely is a

move back to using vehicle-mounted terminals

scenario in the future where Big Data could help organisations to further refine and

damage-prone alternative. He adds that the

Big Data within the Voice world

trend back towards vehicle-mounted technology

Is the much talked about trend of Big Data

is still a way off.”

has also influenced the development of Voice-

having an impact on the world of Voice

directed solutions. “Vocollect’s vehicle-mount

solutions? Darrel Williams’ view is that we should

du Preez considers that while data from the

‘Talkman’ solution means users are now able to

rather ask ‘Are Voice solutions having an impact

Voice system might be included in an overall

adopt Voice across the full spectrum of

on the world of Big Data?’ “Voice technology

collection of corporate data sets appropriate

warehouse activities,” he said.

enables businesses to collate detailed data at an

for Big Data analysis, Big Data is really on

unprecedented level, allowing them to make fully

scale beyond what would typically be required

Hall added that, for data provision, there is

informed decisions from the most

for a Voice-directed application. That being

always a place for tablet PCs and laptops to

comprehensive data-set ever,” he comments.

said, he adds that sophisticated Voice

which, says Hall, is seen as a safer and less

facilitate visibility and effective reporting/auditing

optimise their warehouse processes – but this

applications provide detailed and highly

at management level for Voice. However, a major

Clinton believes Big Data is crucial to current

valuable Business Intelligence insights and

consideration here, in Hall’s view, is the

and future Voice deployments. “It is the

analytics of warehouse operations in the form

ruggedness of any of the tablet solutions. Hall

manipulation of massive amounts of significant

of web-based dashboards and tabular reports.

also made the point that the influx of cost-

data and simplifying it into formats which




October 2013



Special technology report

Voice-directed picking


breadth, depth and flexibility of offerings,” he

What are some of the main functionality


differentiators among the Voice-directed system vendor community? Clinton’s view is that one of

From an integrator perspective, Hall believes a

the key differences between Voice vendors is the

key differentiator for an effective Voice vendor

focus (or lack thereof) on the physical processes

is that it has the tools to facilitate ease of

carried out by Voice. “For example, most

integration into ERP and WMS systems. “The

vendors have multi-transactional solutions,” he

availability of a comprehensive training and

said, “but the physical execution of these tasks

support portfolio to accompany this is as

in the warehouse need as much analysis and

important as the solution itself, guaranteeing a

optimisation as the solution itself. For example,

successful implementation and business

there are many telnet emulation-based Voice

benefits,” he said.

replication systems which, while functional, do not deliver the same results as a proper process

Darrel Williams comments that Vocollect has

driven solution. This is the main difference

created and driven the Voice market for the

between Voice vendors as I see it.”

past 30 years by understanding the functional needs of businesses and applying technology

du Preez believes the broad business processes

to enable operators to naturally execute their

such as picking, stock movements, cycle

roles. “Vocollect exceeds and excels in Voice

counting and so on are generally offered by

recognition, getting it right the first time, every

most vendors. “As is often the case in life, the

time, in any language, and without the use of

Future innovation

devil is in the detail,” he said. “Anyone who has

anchor words,” he said. “Simply put, it provides

What might be the next

worked in the warehousing sector will know that

the most natural conversational experience

innovations/developments to look out for in the

the terms ‘picking’ or ‘put-away’ are simply too

available from Voice technology today that is

world of Voice-directed systems over the next

generic to describe the specific processes in

embraced and appreciated by almost a million

year or two? Tim Williams believes we will see a

any given warehouse. Vendors that don’t invest

Vocollect users around the world.”

reduction in the cost of the hardware element of

in gaining a thorough grasp of these processes

Voice solutions as the market grows and

and then optimise them with Voice will not

For Southgate, the ability to offer customers the

demand increases, while Southgate considers

achieve the best result for their customers. So

choice between speaker- and vendor-

companies should watch out for greater support

when evaluating vendors, it’s important to assess

independent is a significant differentiator. In

for other warehouse processes and Voice

their understanding of, and solution to, your

addition, he cites the ability for host system

playing larger role going beyond picking

particular processes.”

integration, the level of flexibility available to

functions. “For example, we are expecting

From a technology standpoint, du Preez believes there is certainly differentiation among the vendors with regard to the ergonomics and ruggedness of Voice devices and more recently, the introduction of high-quality wireless headsets and near-field communications has provided

Anyone who has worked in the warehousing sector will know that the terms ‘picking’ or ‘put-away’ are simply too generic to describe the specific processes in any given warehouse…So when evaluating vendors, it’s important to assess their understanding of, and solution to, your particular processes.” – Anton du Preez, VoiteQ.

additional differentiation.

Anton du Preez



Tim Williams cites

implement an optimised process that is unique

greater use of Voice for inventory management

plug-in, middleware

to a specific DC and the ability to offer Voice

functions; i.e. cycle counting, replenishment,

Voice picking

systems on a SaaS basis. Hampson comments

Voice-directed put away and also directing

solutions compared

that, as a systems integrator, BEC provides

reverse logistics processes,” said Southgate.

with full wall-to-wall

door-to-door Voice functionality, as opposed to

“We also anticipate greater variety of bespoke

Voice WMS solutions

focusing on a single process such as picking.

applications, maybe even new ‘servicing’

which can cover all

For Finken, the main differences between the

applications which are guided by Voice

operations from goods

Voice vendors are still the speaker-dependent

technology – but there is also still a lot of

inward to despatch.

and independent solution. On the hardware

untapped potential in the logistics market.”

“With the latter there’s

side he believes it is still the proprietary

great variation in the

solution versus the open standard solution.



October 2013

Brorsson maintains that multimodal technology


Voice-directed picking

Special technology report

will become more prevalent to manage more

the past. “Voice will continue to advance and

when people get to

complex processes. Southgate agrees that true

improve with more natural speech synthesis,

use it they realise the

multimodal functionality will become more

more accurate speech recognition with a wider

power of it,” he said.

widespread. However he also observes there is

vocabulary and intelligent interpretation,” he

“They soon come to

currently a misconception in the marketplace


the conclusion that a

between multimodal and multipurpose.

trained Voice solution

“Multimodal applications using Voice are quite

Darrel Williams comments that Voice technology

is just so out of date

distinct,” he said. “They enhance the process

is about being simple, so making small,

and massively limits

using additional devices. For example, they use

incremental changes. “Up until recently I would

flexibility as temporary

a touch screen to introduce an additional

have said that developments for the future

staff spend the first

verification stage showing the picker that they

would have been the integration of other

half a day trying to

have selected the right type of item (colour of

functionalities, such as scanning, screens and

get used to it after

apples for instance, or unit of measurement)

RFID, into a Voice-led device,” reflected Darrel

training and then the next week retraining their

which is very different to multipurpose, whereby

Williams. However he adds that this is no longer

Voice template.”

the user can select a variety of devices for a

a futuristic vision since as of this month (October

Andrew Southgate

According to Finken, one of topVOX’s

Apart from the scalability and maintenance benefits, Cloud-based Voice systems are totally device independent – there is no need to purchase a new software licence if you change to a different hardware platform – which makes them very cost-efficient and easier to manage the total cost of ownership.” – Andrew Southgate, Zetes.

customers hosted a reference site visit for the company recently where topVOX had two prospective customers looking at the solution. “They had both been told how ‘unreliable a speaker-independent solution was’ by another provider and had reservations until they realised that the operator they were following on the day, who was operating at full operational speed,

task. Multimodal working could also be used to

2013) this concept has become reality with

had only started in the business two hours

help guide a worker through the ideal path in a

Vocollect’s A700, a hands-free Voice and

before they turned up. They have both

warehouse, according to the combination of

scanning device. In terms of other future

implemented our solution since.”

items to be picked.” Additionally, Southgate

developments, Darrel Williams sees clients

expects much greater adoption of the Cloud

pushing the application of Voice into areas such

Clinton reflects that despite the initial impression

model because he believes it offers so many

as Voice-operated machines and field service.

that there are a lack of options within the Voice

cost reduction advantages.

industry, the reality is that there are many and In the next year or two, du Preez expects to see

varied options and methodologies. “It is

Clinton believes that Voice as an input medium

examples of current Voice technology being

important that a business looking to adopt a

will become much more widespread across

applied to applications outside the four walls of

Voice solution thoroughly investigate – and

many different technologies and disciplines over

the warehouse – in areas such field service,

validate – the different choices and options

the next two to three years. “Be it Voice-

inspection and in-store. He also expects

available to ensure the best outcome possible,”

dedicated devices, multi-modal handheld and

headset technology to continue to evolve with

he said. “For example, a 10 per cent increase in

vehicle mount solutions, tablets, PCs etc., the

wireless headsets becoming the norm and

productivity may be hailed as a success by

ease of use on many applications will improve

headset ergonomics continuing to improve. And

some companies; however they may be missing

resulting in even wider adoption,” he remarked.

for existing Voice customers, du Preez expects

out on much greater gains and shorter returns

“I expect to see voice used in more retail

to see continuous improvement in user training,

on investment by selecting a better paired

applications as well as much heavier industrial

ease-of-use, asset management and operational


and manufacturing environments for productivity


and accuracy, as well as health and safety benefits.”

Darrel Williams believes Voice is all about Finken’s view is that mobile devices will be more

improving what we do today and providing a

compact, smaller and easier to handle, while

vehicle for future innovation in process

Hall believes the awareness of the real business

Voice systems will support new operating

execution. “It is imperative that Voice technology

benefits that Voice can derive will be applied to

systems such as next-generation Windows.

fits the needs of businesses but does not try to

new business processes and continue to drive

Finken also believes we will see speaker-

dictate or limit the direction in which to go,” he

innovation. He adds that the use of pen/paper

independent solutions being requested and

said, concluding: “Nobody should be

and keyboard as a medium for communication,

deployed. “We only ever use the latest Voice

constrained by technology. Any operation can

command and feedback will become a thing of

recognition technology in our solutions and

benefit from the use of a Voice application.” 




October 2013



V OICE technology


Customers voice approval for Heavey RF Group


roven financial and productivity

centre which is responsible for €30 million

gains have been firmly driving

worth of stock turnover annually. The

the supply chain logistics

company’s objectives were to increase

industry down the path of

efficiency, improve customer service,

adopting Voice-directed

implement best-in-class technology and,

solutions for many years now. It is, after all,

most importantly, deliver the project on time

the most natural and efficient way for

and within budget.

warehouse workers to interact with technology in order to complete their task at

“We needed to become more efficient, more

hand. It is the only technology that allows

productive and get better accuracy in our

them to keep their eyes free to ensure they

warehouse,” explained Francis Mollen,

are selecting the correct product, and their

assistant head of logistics & inventory

hands to be free from papers or handhelds

management at HSE. “We went with an

so that they can quickly and safely keep

open tender and Heavey best suited our

products moving.

requirements. We need to keep ourselves as efficient as possible; that’s why we decided

Heavey RF Group has been providing these

to go with Voice-directed operations.”

gains to its customers through the implementation of the company’s proprietary

The company has achieved these goals,

Voice-directed solution called VocalPoint for

gaining flexibility and operational control

nearly 10 years now. Delivering down-to-the-

over what happens on the warehouse floor.

second information on each operator,

VocalPoint’s customisable screens and

process, and order, VocalPoint has assisted

dashboards provide at-a-glance information,

these customers in properly managing

enabling quick decision making. HSE is now

resources and streamlining warehouse

able to watch its capacities, so that when


there is an increased workload in certain areas of their warehouse, the company can

On time and within budget

direct staff to different areas without the

This year, Health Service Executive set out

need to be out on the floor or interrupting

with four goals to achieve in its distribution

the pace of the workforce. “It has given the

Heavey RF Group has been providing these gains to its customers through the implementation of the company’s proprietary Voice-directed solution called VocalPoint for nearly 10 years now. Delivering down-tothe-second information on each operator, process, and order, VocalPoint has assisted these customers in properly managing resources and streamlining warehouse processes. people here more of a sense of pride,” continued Mollen. “They’re using up to date technology to improve the service to our customer.”

Optimising accuracy Heavey RF recently completed a roll-out across three sites with impressive results for Allied Logistics. In keeping with its company ethos, Allied Logistics tasked itself with two goals – One, find new ways to optimise accuracy and productivity in the business in order to drive efficiencies and improve customer service; and two, exceed industry standards with regard to technology and





October 2013


V OICE technology


time. The results are not only uplifts in productivity and accuracy, as is the standard for Voice; it also resolves the problems experienced in this harsh industry.

Demanding environments “Freezer environments are very demanding on devices – from battery life to noncondensing components, we have always seen the freezer environment as a territory that requires unique management,” said Ronan Clinton, CEO of Heavey RF Group. “While we have many deployments in freezers, the Voice-dedicated solution is the best performing and most reliable – and least problematic.” Sustaining its drive for excellence in the provision of globally implemented supply chain solutions, Heavey RF has continued to invest significant resources into research & development, having opened the doors on a dedicated development centre in Cork, Ireland at the beginning of 2013. The international software R&D centre will focus on bringing the voice of the customer to all future iterations of its software development. Newest on the horizon will be an enhanced version of VocalPoint. VocalPoint 3 will see standardise features that are key to delivering cost saving benefits to the supply chain industry, providing complete visibility into logistics maintain the most comprehensive and

wealth of information offered by Voice would

operations and helping to maintain a more

advanced IT tools to enable employment of

prove to increase accuracy and productivity

fluid and mobile workforce while making use

robust controls and remain in full control of

across all sites.

of the latest Voice development environments. 

all stock movements. The Heavey RF VocalPoint Voice Solution This initiative led the company to engage

was perfect for Allied’s freezer environments

with Heavey RF Group, and beginning in

as there are inherent difficulties in working

September 2012 Allied began deploying

at such low temperatures. Mobile devices in

Voice-directed logistics for picking at its

a freezer environment face many

Dublin site. The project started out with a

challenges; however the lack of screen,

focus on solely picking in the Dublin centre,

keyboard and scanning engine in the Voice-

however after the success was realised, it

dedicated unit removes a great deal of

quickly grew to being rolled out across three

these stumbling blocks. Having been the

sites; one in Dublin and two in Cork. Given

first to install a freezer-specific Voice

the complexity surrounding the freezer

solution in Ireland in 2006, Heavey RF holds

environment in which the company

an intimate understanding of these

operates, Allied Foods previously had been

challenges and has gone on to supply many

using a paper-based solution but soon

implementations internationally of both RF

found that with innovative deployment, the

and Voice into such environments since that





October 2013

Heavey RF Group at a glance Heavey RF Group is an international total solutions provider delivering mobile data technology and integration software for industrial clients in a wide range of markets. It manages the supply, installation, integration and complete 24/7 support of handheld and vehicle mounted mobile terminals, wireless infrastructure, wireless security and Voice-directed applications.



V OICE technology

Next-generation Voice systems allow 20 per cent re-distribution of costs within the average DC WMS By Andrew Southgate, sales director, Zetes.

he DC is now a highly dynamic


environment where inaccurate and labour intensive processes are unacceptable inefficiencies. Research from Intermec has

highlighted that across Europe, distribution centre managers share a common goal to

Andrew Southgate: “Next generation Voice systems, as developed by Zetes with their MCL technology, offer a practical way to maintain control of a growing hardware estate, with a Cloud-based approach to enable centralised management and deployment of mobile applications.”

achieve cost savings through saving time and working more efficiently. 79 per cent have been tasked by their senior management with identifying ways to achieve so-called ‘quick wins’ using next-generation technologies. Picking is one of the most costly processes in a warehouse and can represent up to a third of the total running costs of a DC. It typically

company has a large DC which stocks over

minimum levels are reached. This guarantees

consists of three separate stages – the start-

7000 product lines including fresh foods and

the freshest produce is delivered to

up phase, a repetitive line picking process

guarantees a next day delivery service across

customers exactly when they need it most.

and the end or marshalling stage. Because

Ireland to around 6000 customers.

each element of the picking routine is labour

Strong quantitative evidence to support the financial arguments in favour of voice can be

by achieving improvements to productivity

Multimodal working gives operators 100 per cent flexibility

and accuracy – can generate large financial

Pallas opted for a ZetesMedea multimodal

illustrate how introducing Voice picking to


voice system, which gives users the option of

optimise a pick to zero process (a.k.a. line

either using Voice technology only, or working

picking), allows operators to save time by

Picking is a common focus for cost control

Voice-assisted with a combination of

working faster and with fewer errors, without

keyboards and handheld barcode scanners.

significantly changing working processes.

Implementing a next-generation Voice picking

The system was rolled out to over 60

Within a typical distribution centre currently

system in particular can make a big

intensive, using technology to optimise this –

seen in the following examples. These

Having the ability to save time and therefore cut costs through using a next-generation Voice system for stock picking or inventory management is an essential investment.”

difference to cost control. In addition, its introduction is welcomed by operatives who see their jobs become more straightforward as a result. Since Voice is so easy to use, it’s possible for workers with no prior experience of a DC to become effective picking

warehouse operatives, who now use Voice for

operating using paper processes, large cost

operatives in a very short timeframe.

real-time stock put away, inventory

benefits can be achieved across all 3

management and order-picking procedures.

elements of the picking process around efficiency and accuracy. Contrast this with a

Ireland’s largest food service distributor, Pallas Foods, implemented a next generation,

Pallas is now able to maintain lean inventory

distribution centre using hand held terminals

multimodal voice solution to automate stock

levels with intelligent inventory management

(HHTs) to manage these processes. Here only

management at its Limerick warehouse. The

and automatic stock re-ordering when

the repetitive ‘pick’ element can deliver




October 2013



V OICE technology


no need to save Voice profiles, workers were operational in no time and the results were very impressive – so much so that Unilever plans to repeat this strategy in another DC opening soon.

Essential investment for stock and inventory management Current next generation Voice systems are highly intelligent and can adapt to whatever working environment is required by the user. Whether that is high demand seasonality and rapid turnover of operatives, or introducing the flexibility to utilise a range of different devices with ergonomic multimodal working, there are a wide array of solutions to suit every organisation. In today’s business world the concept that ‘time is money’ is truer than it efficiency benefits, with a slight incremental

per cent of picking costs, which could be re-

ever was. Having the ability to save time and

improvement in accuracy.

allocated to improve other areas of the

therefore cut costs through using a next-

distribution centre.

generation Voice system for stock picking or

Strong financial case for Voice

inventory management is an essential investment.

using paper based picking processes records

Additional savings with untrained voice solution

that on average, a warehouse operative picks

Further, by opting for an ‘untrained’ Voice

Looking even further ahead, as the scale of

60 lines per hour. Introducing Voice into the

solution, additional savings can be achieved.

mobile working continues to grow, so too will

warehouse would deliver savings to all 3

Untrained Voice technology is a feature of

the number of devices in circulation.

elements of the picking process:

next generation Voice systems and it allows

Managing an estate of hundreds of mobile

pickers to commence working immediately,

devices - Voice terminals, barcode scanners

Consider the following example. A warehouse

The start process – saves 45 seconds.

without requiring the preliminary stage of

and wearable devices – identifying their

The repetitive pick process - saves of 5

training the system to recognise each picker’s

location, upgrading software applications and

seconds per line.

Voice before operations can commence. The

monitoring licence agreements is a

The end process – saves 45 seconds.

benefit of working in this way means new

challenging and time consuming task.

pickers and temporary warehouse workers Multiply these savings up to an average order

can be fully efficient more quickly to cope

of 60 lines to see an efficiency gain of 10.8

with peak periods.

Intelligent, adaptive and low cost of ownership

per cent (45+(5*60)+45 sec). When this is

Next generation Voice systems, as developed

spread over the course of a week and

This was the experience of Unilever’s Greek

by Zetes with their MCL technology, offer a

average labour costs are applied, the savings

operation, which worked with Zetes to migrate

practical way to maintain control of a growing

are very clear:

shopfloor workers at a former manufacturing

hardware estate, with a Cloud-based

plant earmarked for closure, to become Voice

approach to enable centralised management

Distribution centre ships 250,000 picked lines

pickers at its new DC. ZetesMedea Voice was

and deployment of mobile applications. By

per week using voice:

an ideal choice for Unilever because it

working independently of the operating

includes two Voice dialogue levels and can

system, type of device or physical location, it

4167 start processes = 52 hours per

adapt to suit the user’s experience. It has a

allows remote, centralised IT control to


starter level which provides comprehensive

remotely update applications, add or extend

250,000 repetitive pick tasks = 347 hours

instructions and an experienced level where

commands, set user profiles and keep track

per week.

commands are shortened. Data input either

of an ever-expanding mobile estate. Features

4167 end processes = 52 hours per

can be Voice only or multimodal, combining a

such as these ensure Voice can sustain its


touch screen, keyboard or scanner devices.

position as the warehouse technology, which

Due to its operators’ inexperience, Unilever

delivers the highest financial impact for the

Total saving per week of 451 hours * 52

opted for voice only and the ‘untrained’

lowest total cost of ownership. 

weeks * £7.50 = £175,890 Per annum. This

approach, which enables phonetic

provides an opportunity to save around 20

recognition of complete spoken words. With

• • •





October 2013


ZetesAtlas: secure product identification and traceability along your packaging line. Manage, improve and secure your packaging ID process •

Get full control of the packaging line

Data-integrity through central management & enterprise integration

Real-time process visibility

Marking, labeling, serialisation & aggregation

Supervisory control, reports, KPI measures

Find out how we can provide you with optimum traceability across your supply chain Call Zetes on 0845 520 0180 Or visit www.zetes.co.uk


If you have a sales background in manufacturing and want to join an expanding team, visit zetes.co.uk/careers

V OICE technology

Success story

Thomas Ridley benefits from Accord Voice WMS Foodservice distributor Thomas Ridley Foodservice is realising major performance improvements and savings of more than £175,000 p.a. following a major investment in Accord Voice Directed WMS from supply chain software and warehouse management systems specialist BCP (Business Computer Projects Ltd). ounded 200 years ago, Thomas


perpetual inventory.

Ridley remains a family owned business, but has grown to

BCP worked closely with Thomas Ridley’s in-

become one of the UK’s leading

house IT team to phase the system in over the

independent delivered wholesalers.

course of a 12-month period, starting in the most

It uses its own fleet of 45 temperature-

complex department – frozen goods –

controlled vehicles to provide a multi-

followed by the chilled department and finally,

temperature delivery service to caterers

the largest of the three departments, ambient

across England with a comprehensive


product range of chilled, ambient, frozen

allows us to analyse individual worker

professional hygiene and catering sundries.

The results

productivity,” explained Godfrey, “meaning we

Customers include schools, hospitals, pubs

Once checked in by RF scanning, goods in the

can spot any potential bottlenecks, address any

and restaurants, care and residential homes,

100,000 sq foot warehouse are now managed

issues and schedule operations more efficiently.”

and the leisure sector.

entirely by Voice, with 65 workers using the system. “Accord Voice has transformed

There have also been major stationery and

The challenge

operations,” remarked Thomas Ridley’s

administration savings as the use of paper lists

Committed to delivering the best possible

managing director, Justin Godfrey, “more than

and associated tasks such as printing and

customer service, the investment in Voice was

living up to our expectations.”

distributing lists and re-keying picking confirmations and order amendments have been

prompted by Thomas Ridley’s expanding


customer base and, in particular, by a desire to

As expected, increased accuracy has been one

increase accuracy in order to improve the

of the greatest benefits with picking errors now

customer experience, ease out of stocks and

virtually eliminated and service levels running at

Overall, Thomas Ridley estimates a substantial

reduce the costs associated with rectifying

more than 99.99%. The company has been able

10 per cent saving in labour costs with the

incorrect deliveries. Although using

to dispense with an expensive manual order

introduction of Accord Voice WMS. The new

computerised stock control and RF scanning

checking operation and conservatively estimates

technology has been readily adopted by

for Goods Receiving, manual, paper-based

direct savings of £150,000 p.a. from reduction in

warehouse workers and training of new workers

procedures were still in use for other

mis-picks. “It’s phenomenal,” said Godfrey,

is now much faster, allowing them to become

warehouse operations. Though efficient, these

“We’ve virtually eradicated all errors and that

productive much more quickly.

were still subject to human error – a significant

leads to very happy customers – a massive

factor for an operation the size of Thomas

intangible benefit we just can’t measure.”

Godfrey concluded: “The use of Accord Voice across our warehouse has transformed

Ridley where 1000 deliveries per day are Productivity has also improved as workers have

operations, delivering even greater

benefited from the hands-free, eyes-free nature

improvements and savings than we’d dreamed

The solution

of voice allowing them to focus fully on their

of. We now have full visibility and an accurate

Aware of the reputation of BCP’s Accord

work. Direct interaction with the WMS, removal of

audit trail across the warehouse and I believe we

Voice warehouse management system and

the need to visit the office to collect new

now have the lowest cost of labour per unit of

BCP’s pedigree in the foodservice sector,

assignments, and more accurate real time stock

sale within the foodservice industry. We’re

Thomas Ridley decided to invest in Accord

information which minimises re-picks and time

expecting to realise even greater efficiencies as

Voice WMS with Vocollect T5 hardware for all

spent exploring stock inconsistencies have all

we use the data we’re gathering from the system

warehouse operations from put away through

contributed to an increase in productivity of

to re-lay the warehouse to optimise both the use

picking and replenishment to stocktaking and

around 10 per cent. “Moreover, the system

of space and movements within it.” 

assembled from over 10,000 different SKUs.





October 2013


Thomas Ridley estimates a substantial 10 per cent saving in labour costs with the introduction of Accord Voice WMS. The new technology has been readily adopted by warehouse workers and training of new workers is now much faster, allowing them to become productive much more quickly.

Success story

V OICE technology

BCP at a glance Founded in 1979, Business Computer Projects Ltd (BCP) is a systems house specialising in supply chain software solutions and warehouse management systems. The company’s Accord systems offer end-to-end, web-enabled supply chain solutions for delivered wholesale, cash & carry and retail distribution. Dedicated versions are available for the food & drink sector where BCP is regarded as one of the market leaders. The company’s warehouse management system includes full RF and Voice functionality. It is available standalone or as part of a full Accord implementation. Voice WMS modules can also be interfaced to third party warehouse solutions if preferred, as at BAKO NW. BCP clients include SPAR, Musgrave, BWG, Pets at Home, Foodlink Bahrain, Pedigree Wholesale, T Quality. www.bcpsoftware.com.

Visionary Solutions Wall-to-Wall Voice Directed Warehouse Computing Typical Benefits:‡ ‡ ‡

Improve Productivity - by up to 10% Reduce errors - by 80-90% Rapid payback in 6-12 months

Calculate your own expected payback with the Payback Calculator available from http://www.bcpsoftware.com/solutions/voice-technology-solutions/

%&3·VAccord suite of Voice modules delivers real-time voice control wall-to-wall across the warehouse, from goods in and picking through to labour scheduling and stock taking, as required. As the software authors we are able to tailor the solution to meet your precise needs. No requirement is too complex for us.

First UK wall-to-wall voice solution Business Computer Projects Ltd BCP House, 151 Charles Street, Stockport, Cheshire SK1 3JY. T: +44 (0) 161 355 3000 F: + 44 (0) 161 355 3001 E: accord@bcpsoftware.com www.bcpsoftware.com

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Business Computer Projects

V OICE technology

Vocollect Voice technology achieves near 100 per cent picking accuracy, in warehouses and distribution centres worldwide, in almost every vertical market sector, including some of the major pharmaceuticals.


Giving Voice to the pharmaceutical industry Darrel Williams, regional director, EMEA, Vocollect, considers how Voice technology improves accuracy, traceability and productivity in the pharmaceutical industry. s anyone involved with logistics


uncertain demand become an important

The pharmaceutical sector demands

knows, the accurate and timely

business challenge.

lot/batch traceability and it is often best

movement of the right goods to

practice to combine Voice with other

the right place is key to any

Automation has likely played a part in

complementary technologies: Voice for all

company’s success. When it

optimising the manufacturing process,

productivity, focus and validation activities

comes to the pharmaceutical industry, this

however, downstream when it comes to

(e.g. ensuring the correct locations or

basic requirement is more than just a

distribution, order picking and the selection of

quantities) and scanning or RFID for actual

business issue; get it wrong and it’s not only

smaller SKUs –sometimes a single pill –

data collection (unique batch information).

livelihoods that are put at risk, it’s also

automation is not a viable option; it takes the

This harmony of technology creates best- of-

people’s lives.

human touch!

breed solutions that deliver improved

Consequently, accuracy and traceability are

Vocollect Voice technology achieves near 100

the most important challenges for those

per cent picking accuracy, in warehouses and

involved in the distribution of drugs and

distribution centres worldwide, in almost every

The real benefit here is that Voice technology

medicines today. A pharmaceutical

vertical market sector, including some of the

can achieve this accuracy without slowing

operation needs to know everything about a

major pharmaceuticals. When simple

down the process. In fact, quite the

given batch of product (origin, life-cycle

instructions are given, users can focus their

opposite; productivity gains of around 20 per

storage conditions, location, etc.) so it is vital

actions and attention entirely on picking the

cent are standard. One of our clients, the

that a product’s history moves with it at all

right product with the right batch number.

CIO of the Harvard Drug Group, told us: “We

times. This also ensures product security

Their selection is confirmed by the user

achieved 100 per cent payback on Vocollect

and helps combat counterfeiting and black-

‘talking back’ to the host system, which

almost immediately. Since we operate under

market trade.

validates the accuracy of the pick in real time

mandated pedigree laws, we wouldn’t have

and creating the audit trail.

been able to get our products out within the

throughput and the traceability demanded

Important business challenge

by legislation.

required two-hour ordering time. Previously,

Yet, despite this emphasis on quality, integrity

Focus of attention

we struggled to validate our lots in the

and making sure that the end-user gets the

Voice technology is hands and eyes-free , so

required timeframes.”

correct drug, pharmaceutical firms still need

naturally when the user hears an instruction,

to make a profit. The expiry of patents on

their eyes are drawn to the subject, which

By ensuring accuracy and traceability – and

many popular brand-name drugs, coupled

remains the focus of the users attention until

in turn productivity and profitability –

with the decline of new patent grants in

the correct product is selected and verified

Vocollect Voice helps pharmaceuticals build

recent years means that on-going revenues

(unlike other technologies where the user’s

and maintain their brand reputation, comply

can no longer be guaranteed. Whilst

focus is drawn back to a to a screen or pick

with legal requirements and, importantly,

accuracy of distribution is essential, speed of

list, which requires additional input). This is

ensure end users have the right products at

delivery and availability of stock to meet

where mistakes will happen.

the right time. 





October 2013



LISTEN TO YOUR EXPER EXPERTS TS When the pressure’s on, voice-directed working from Vocollect gets you visibility of warehouse operations in real time, people working more effectively and contract staff becoming productive rapidly. See experts at work at www.voiceofthewarehouse.com

The Voice of The Warehouse

V OICE technology

Success story

Bartlett brews up success with Pick-to-Voice system artlett is the largest distributor of

as well as the tri-state area. Bartlett and

chose the Lydia voice solution from topVOX

fresh milk in the Northeast of the

Starbucks worked together to update the

Corp., Barrington, IL. Lydia works by directing

US, serving retailers such as

105,000-sq-ft facility and develop an efficient

order pickers throughout the picking process

Barnes & Noble and the Great

product flow, and added refrigerated and

by Voice commands and checks. Wearing

Atlantic & Pacific Co., along with


freezer areas, expanded the loading dock,

headsets, pickers are guided through their

schools, hospitals, restaurants and grocery

and installed sensor-activated lighting. They

picking activities with their hands and eyes

stores, throughout New Jersey, New York,

also built an area to cross-dock coffee and

free. “A big reason we chose topVOX is that

Connecticut and Pennsylvania. However, the

slow moving products between Starbucks’

they were the only vendor that would do a

distributor’s biggest customer is Starbucks,

roasting plants and the stores. With the new

pilot with us,” explained Kanis. “They took the

and Bartlett is the exclusive tri-state

facility up and running, Kanis focused on

time to evaluate our operations and answer

distributor to some 500 Starbucks stores. For

improving operations, starting with order

our questions. We tested the system and

more than a decade, the company has been

picking. The warehouse handles 80 to 100

within a couple of days I was sold – I liked the

delivering coffee, milk, pastries, fresh

high-volume SKUs each day, which are

safety features, the reporting capabilities and

sandwiches, fruit and other products for the

received in the morning and then shipped to

the fact that employees could be fully trained

java giant. Last summer, the distributor

Starbucks stores in the evening.

within three days.”

to move from a paper-based system to a Pick-

At that time, the order pickers were using

What Kanis wasn’t sold on, however, was the

by-Voice solution.

clipboards, averaging about 450 picks per

system’s highly touted productivity benefits.

hour. “Our pickers were very fast and our goal

But his concerns were short lived—within

Heeding the call

was to get them up to 475 picks per hour—I

weeks of installing topVOX, the workers were

The Voice solution was installed in a

didn’t think it was humanly possible to go any

averaging 800 picks per hour, with the fastest

warehouse that Bartlett bought in Newark, NJ,

faster,” says Kanis. “Plus, they were fairly

going as high as 1200. “We knew the system

in December 2011. Originally, Bartlett

accurate—we didn’t have many mis-picks, so

was working well because we actually started

serviced Starbucks from its headquarters in

initially we were wondering if we would really

to finish two hours earlier each day,” he said.

Queens, NY, but they eventually outgrew that

see an ROI.”

“So we reduced the number of pickers, down

evaluated its picking operations and decided

from 18 to 12, and re-organised some of the

facility. Operations were temporarily moved to Clifton, NJ, and then to the present location,

But Bartlett wanted to be able to report

workers into other areas of the warehouse. We

which is less than 12 miles from Manhattan.

performance metrics back to Starbucks, such

realised we were going to have a ROI in a

as order picking and inventory accuracy, and

very short time.”

Dubbed Bartlett Distribution Services LLC, the

it knew that it would have to use a software

warehouse is the dedicated logistics hub for

solution to get that kind of information. The

Keeping it simple

all of the Starbucks stores in New York City,

company met with a number of vendors and

Most of Starbucks’ stores are open daily, so





October 2013


Employ ying voice techn nolog gy in the warehouse is s now easierr than ever! Lyydi L dia a®-P Plu lug & P Plla ayy is a prec con onfi figur u ed out of th ur t e bo box x p ck pa ckag age e fo forr vvo oic ce piick c in i g ap a pl plica ationss for at o up to o 25 us u ers ers. A l ne Al nece nece cess s arry co ss com mpo mpon mp on nents ts for a sim imple an a d su succ cces cc esssf sful upgr up grrade ad de to to a “spea sp pea eaki king ki kin ng war areh ehou ouse s ” are se e alrread read a y in inc clud ude ed, ed such h as software, ha harrdware wa are e and go-live e ser ervvice er cess. s. The si simp mple mp le e plug lu ug & pl p ay ay pac cka kage ge is base ed on o sta tand nd dar ard d comp co m on mp onen en ntss and d proce roce ro esssse ess. Itt makes voic ce pic ce cki king n dea ng ead d ea asy sy as w we ell elll as ve very ryy aff ffor orda or dabl ble e. It espe ecial ally lly off ffer ers rs sm s al al and an d me medi dium di um sizzed busin um us nessse es th he op opp porttun po uniity to benefi efit fo fr om m voice oiice e dir irec ecte cted pr p oc ces esse s s. Voic Vo oice ic ce te echno ch hno n llo ogy g is the wa w y to o go! o! Wit ith h Ly Lyd dia® we have been off ffer erin ing g a market-d -d driive v n, in nn nov ovat attiv ive e vo voice voic ce-ba bassed solution n, wh whic ch has alread dy provven en itss val alue u wor ue orlld dwide fo or or many yea ears rs.

Voice Picking Made Easy! / World leading voice technology / Out of the box package / Faster turnaround from order to loading / Implementation within a day

Scan to see Lydia® in action!

Further information: info-uk@top-vox.com - www.top-vox.com - phone: +44-1327 261 050

V OICE technology

Success story

Wearing headsets, pickers are guided through their picking activities with their hands and eyes free. that means that Bartlett’s warehouse runs

each store. The crates are stacked, and as

allows a manager to log in on a computer to

seven days a week, 365 days a year. Product

each order is filled, the system generates a

listen to a worker receive Voice commands

is received Monday through Friday, except for

store label, which is attached to the stack,

and provide additional coaching if necessary.

milk, which is received every day, and trucks

and then moved to the loading dock. On the

“It really helped us with workers who needed

start dispatching around 6 pm. Bartlett’s

paper side, the pickers select the cases by

more training—it allowed us to identify specific

picking operation is divided into two areas—

store directed by Lydia, stacking the boxes

problems and quickly address those issues.”

the ‘pastry’ side handles fresh pastry items,

onto crates, which are shrink wrapped and

and the ‘paper’ side handles cases of paper

moved to the loading dock. The pastry orders

Although the topVOX solution can be used in

products, such as cups and napkins, as well

and paper orders are then combined to be

any type of hardware, Bartlett chose the

as high service SKUs, such as cases of

send to the store.

Voxter devices because of their ruggedness. “I found the Voxters to be very durable, but if

Water, Espresso, and Syrups. “When we implemented topVOX, we didn’t want to

For the most part, Kanis says the work is fairly

we do decide to expand down the line and

change anything in our pick area – change is

level throughout the year. “It spikes up around

use different hardware, topVOX will be able to

very disruptive and we wanted to avoid that at

the summer and during the holidays, but not

support it,” said Kanis. In addition to the huge

all costs,” said Kanis. “The only thing that

enough that we need to hire seasonal

gains in productivity, Bartlett has also

changed was that our employees were now

employees. The topVOX solution has really

experienced a significant increase in

wearing a headset, instead of using a

helped us balance the workload.” Although

accuracy. “We were accurate before using the


some of Bartlett’s order pickers speak

system, but when we do audits now, we rarely

Spanish, the company elected to use only

find a mistake,” Kanis pointed out.

On the pastry side, items are unloaded and

English words. “We’ve kept our commands

staged in three large aisles. These items

very simple and the system is really good at

Bartlett now plans to expand the topVOX

include baked goods, cakes, muffins, and

recognizing the workers responses—even

system for use in inventory and putaway

fresh bananas products typically found in a

with their accents,” says Kanis.

applications. “There are so many opportunities for Voice – it was one of the

Starbucks café. There, pickers go up and down the aisle, directed by topVOX’s Lydia,

In addition, Bartlett has taken advantage of

best investments we’ve ever made,”

selecting items and loading them into trays for

topVOX’s Co-Pilot, a touch-screen device that

concluded Kanis. 





October 2013


V OICE technology


Voice solutions deliver real business results usinesses today face unrelenting

overall customer-centred vision mirrors ours in

pressures to reduce operating

delivering real value to their client’s core

costs and to better manage their

warehouse process.”


workforce, while continuously delivering perfect customer

Major productivity improvements

service. Voice technology has become a

Voice technology delivers ‘real business results’,

catalyst in the re-engineering of warehouse and

offering productivity improvements of between

logistics processes and systems.

10-35 per cent with up to 99.9 per cent operational accuracy. By offering a complete

TouchStar is aligned with Vocollect to provide

range of consultative, design, manufacture,

VRS (Voice Recognition System), a world-class

implementation and support services, TouchStar

Voice solution. The Vocollect Voice technology

can take users through the steps to create the

solution can provide operational excellence and

‘best fit’ Voice solution, which offers an average

is in use by almost one million workers every

payback within 12 months.

day. With over 30 years’ experience within the warehouse and logistics market, TouchStar is an

TouchStar comments that optimising the

expert in the provision of mobile solutions to the

individual components and their integration into

data capture market; including the integration,

a total solution takes extraordinary levels of

He continued: “TouchStar advanced Voice

installation and support of the terminals. Voice-

domain knowledge and years of actual project

Solutions provide the mechanism to deliver

activated solutions are the next logical step in

implementation experiences across a variety of

improved business performance by smoothing

providing hands free picking solutions.

industries and operating environments. “By

out implementation issues that reduce operating

analysing a company’s warehouse operation,

efficiencies and help ensure worker

Peter Marsh, sales director, TouchStar

TouchStar can identify the processes within an

acceptance. TouchStar solutions maximise the

Technologies commented: “Vocollect is the de-

operation where Voice can deliver real ROI and

total value you obtain from your technology

facto choice in Voice Technology and their

benefit,” said Marsh.



CONTACT US WEB: www.voice-recognition-systems.co.uk PHONE: +44 (0) 1274 741 860 EMAIL: sales@touchstar.co.uk


• 10-35% productivity improvements • 99.99% operational accuracy • Average ROI in under 12 months Tailored voice solutions to fit your business



October 2013



V OICE technology


Voice brings festive cheer By Anton du Preez, group sales director, VoiteQ.

right time throughout the year; however,

take action – meaning that your supply chain

during peak times this is non-negotiable – an

runs smoothly and customers are happy.

inaccurate order could cost you dearly in returns, stock-outs and worse still customer

4. Multi-order fulfilment


Whichever way you look at it Voice improves efficiency. When you only have short

It’s commonly known that one of the biggest

turnaround windows, Voice allows you to

benefits of a Voice application is the increase

efficiently and accurately pick multiple orders

in order accuracy and turnaround times.

in one go or balance large orders across a

When contingency is tight and customer

team of pickers. A good Voice execution

expectation is high, you can’t afford to get it

system can also prioritise work to match your


business requirements and consolidate orders by region, store, weight and so on.

2. Flexible staffing

Anton du Preez: “Voice is more than just clever technology.

Not only will you face added pressure on

5. Remove additional check and audits

operations, inventory, SLAs and delivery

At times of increased capacity, you can be

schedules; you will also be under pressure to

faced with the tough choice between quality

keep costs down. Often one of your biggest

and throughput. Voice allows you to move the

costs, staffing, means that it’s important to

checks to the point where the goods are first

them performing optimally.

handled, ensuring that the picker gets it right first time and reduces or even removes the

easonal peaks are things that


bring opportunity and challenge,

With Vocollect’s trained Voice technology

need for extra checks. Unlike paper and

for their increase in business but

(also known as ‘speaker dependent Voice’),

handheld terminals, the hands-free way of

also for their increased demand

you can increase staff performance levels by

working - that Voice technology enables -

and pressure through the supply

giving them the best voice recognition from

means that these checks don’t add extra time

chain. The warehouse is paramount to

the outset. The system guides associates of

to the picking process. With VoiteQ’s

ensuring the entire operation runs smoothly

any nationality step-by-step through their

VoiceMan solution you can even combine

and that customers receive their goods on

business process ensuring consistency,

picking and packing processes to achieve

time, after all ‘trick or treaters’ won’t knock on

accuracy and performance. Users are able to

additional efficiencies, particularly for e-

November 1st just because your delivery didn’t

get up and running in just a couple of hours

commerce fulfilment.


and due to the productivity gains, your

6. Increase efficiency in the frozen environment

requirement for temporary staff is lowered – VoiteQ’s Voice solutions have successfully

helping to save you money.

supported retailers and foodservice providers

How can you ensure that your staff working in

through numerous business peaks such as

3. Ensure full operational visibility

chilled and frozen environments are

Christmas, Easter, the Olympics and the

It’s imperative that during times of increased

performing at their best? The simple fact is to

Jubilee. With the festive season approaching,

throughput the business maintains visibility of

keep them warm; other non-voice solutions

here are some points you should consider to

warehouse activity as well as staying in

may require protective clothing to be removed

make your warehouse operations run smoothly

control of operations. Using VoiteQ’s web-

– 90 per cent of the circulation in our hands is

and cost-effectively using Voice technology:

based dashboard and reporting tools, your

used to keep warm, which is why cold hands

key stakeholders and supervisors will have

quickly lose dexterity and staff lose

1. One chance to get it right

access in real-time to key operational


Customers, whether a store network or direct

information enabling them to monitor

consumers, expect the right goods at the

progress, identify problems and immediately





October 2013

A hands-free/eyes-free Voice application



V OICE technology

provider, ask your Voice supplier to run server checks and provide high-availably options to ensure your systems are operating at peak performance and downtime is avoided. Having in-country hardware support that provides pre-peak preventative maintenance and quick repairs is also key to a minimising costly disruption.

8. Don’t let your next peak catch you out – After peak analysis Planning for the next seasonal peak is key and by using the comprehensive management analytics provided by reporting tools such as VoiteQ’s InfoCentre reporting suite, you can review in detail how your operation performed and identify further opportunities to improve for the next peak. enables your staff to wear their full protective

levels, especially during critical trading peaks

clothing at all times, resulting in a safer,

in the year. During these times capacity can

To understand how Voice can help you further at

happier workforce and quick, accurate picks.

double; the added pressure placed on your

peak times, email enquiries@voiteq.com or book

systems can result in unexpected downtime.

a consultation at: www.voiteq.com/voice 

7. Don’t let technology cause delays Ensure you have high-availability systems in

Voice is more than just clever technology;

place that do not compromise your service

working in conjunction with your IT service

A Voice Solution That Makes Business Sense Successfully delivering Voice-Directed Warehouse Solutions for over 15 years Our award winning VoiceMan and InfoCentre products significantly improve productivity and accuracy, as well as providing full control of warehouse activity. With real-time dashboards and detailed analytic reporting, we empower managers and supervisors to optimise operational performance. As the UK’s market leader and Vocollect’s most certified partner globally, we provide best-in-class Voice solutions, with extensive industry know-how and 24/7 support. Contact us at enquiries@voiteq.com or visit www.voiteq.com/voice to hear how you can start saving money today.





October 2013



V OICE technology


Raising the profile By Tony Hampson, managing director, BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd.


lackburn-based BEC (Systems Integration) Ltd. has always historically kept a fairly low profile in terms of marketing and promoting an overtly public

persona. Established for 20-years, with continual year-on-year growth due to the provision of technical expertise and proven solutions, coupled with a loyal customer base which has provided perhaps the best marketing tool available – word-of-mouth recommendation – BEC has recently decided to take the plunge and raise its public profile to showcase its wares. What with the official appointment of myself as managing director, the recruitment of a new sales & marketing director, a new marketing manager, an updated corporate image and website, as well as the accolade

Wearing headsets, pickers are guided through their picking activities with their hands and eyes free.

of achieving the much sought-after Total Solution Provider (TSP) status with Vocollect

Full potential

– the Voice-based solutions provider for

As the UK’s largest independent Infor M3

This stems from a firm belief that the

mobile workers – now seems as good a time

integrator, BEC’s knowledge of a range of

requirement for real-time and dynamic

as any.

ERP systems – which also includes SAP,

solutions is on the increase, as customers

Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and IFS – has

are forever seeking tighter, integrated

Boasting a strong background in the food &

meant that its customers are empowered to

solutions as opposed to batched or time

beverage, manufacturing and engineering

drive the full potential of their business

uploads. Clients want to see updates as

industries, and with a notable list of

systems. Its range of eSmart Datacapture

they happen, in real-time, and perhaps most

customers that includes Kerrygold, Pilgrims

products are flexible enough to

importantly, these updates need to be

Choice, Xerox, Dairy Crest, Delice de

accommodate customisation, but at the


France and Sellafield, BEC’s expertise has

same time are based on a robust, core

always focused primarily on the supply

software architecture that has the ability to

For those who are not wholly familiar with


cover the complete range of key supply

Voice technology and in particular Voice-

chain applications.

directed picking, in practical terms, it shares

Quietly confident in its abilities, BEC is a

similar attributes to traditional RF scanner

highly stable, secure and well-grounded

As the only provider of seamless real-time

picking; however the precise method in

business, and as the brains behind the

Voice into M3 ERP systems, perhaps one

which data streams are converted into Voice

eSmart Datacapture suite of software

differentiating factor about BEC is the strong

commands, prompts are provided and

modules designed to integrate seamlessly

advocacy it has in terms of the promotion of

responses received, is different. With the

with any ERP host system, BEC has a lot to

Voice technology and Voice-led applications,

ability to increase worker productivity up to

shout about.

in particular Voice-directed picking.

an astonishing 35 per cent while reducing





October 2013


V OICE technology


errors up to 25 per cent, Voice-directed

the way through a distribution centre – from

certainly looks bright. The main focus for the

picking is an order selection method which

goods in all the way to goods out. In

future however is growth. BEC is seeking to

is used widely in warehouse or distribution

essence, a comprehensive door-to-door

actively increase its turnover and presence

centre environments.

Voice offering.

in the next year, as well as looking to secure

In a Voice-directed warehouse system,

There is absolutely no question that voice-

operators use a compact, wearable

directed picking can produce impressive

computer with a headset incorporating a

ROI results in the correct application. For

In line with today’s ideology that

speaker to receive instructions by Voice.

fast moving picking environments with a

collaboration is key in achieving aggressive

The computer is connected to the host

broad SKU list and more than ten

growth in a tough economic climate, the

business system (ERP or WMS) over a

warehouse pickers, Voice-directed

establishment of mutually-beneficial

wireless network, and the operator is able to

technology can, in BEC’s view, produce

partnerships within the industry is also

confirm his or her actions verbally back to

game changing results, which is a good

underway, as BEC seeks to broaden and

the system in real-time. With the ability to

enough reason as any to back this

grow its product offering and reach within

operate regardless of language, accent or

technology to the hilt. In BEC’s professional

the ever-expanding AIDC umbrella.

dialect, Voice technology also allows users

opinion, Voice is quite simply the way

to operate hands and eyes free; a useful


more international sites and become more effective within the IFS space.

Of one thing we can be certain, however. BEC’s focused approach to providing

benefit within fast-moving picking So what does the future hold for BEC? With

exemplary levels of customer satisfaction

the creation of a new team, a new image

and market-leading solutions will no doubt

Seamless, real-time integration

(which was brought in to coincide with our

build upon their already solid reputation, as

BEC’s USP in Voice applications is the

20 year anniversary in 2014), an exciting

BEC looks to move into the next phase of its

ability to offer seamless, real-time

and evolving product offering and additional

long-standing history. 

integration into any given ERP system,

prominence in terms of its Vocollect Total

offering a complete end-to-end solution right

Solution Provider (TSP) status, the future


Vocollect Voice Solutions from BEC can increase worker productivity up to 30%, whilst reducing errors up to 25%

Work faster, better, smarter and stay ahead of the competition with Vocollect Voice Solutions from BEC. Call BEC today and speak to the experts: +44 (0)1254 688 088 www.logisticsit.com www.becsi.co.uk



October 2013



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Company news

Rubber and plastics Converter LJA Miers takes on SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA SAP (UK) Ltd., a subsidiary of SAP AG, has announced that rubber and plastics Converter LJA Miers will be the first UK customer to implement SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA. The mid-sized business will now be able to have a complete overview of its activity and make informed business decisions based on real-time information. JA Miers has been running for

this was the turning point. Being able to see

factor as we always try to work with

almost 60 years and supplies

the speed at which HANA was able to process

neighbouring businesses. The close proximity

rubber and plastics products to a

and deliver user-friendly information opened

also means we receive an expert service that

variety of sectors, including the

their eyes to the potential this technology

is personal and tailored to our business, in

automotive and construction

could bring to their business. I also believe

addition to benefitting from the on-going

industries. At the start of this year the

that the personal touch played a large part in

development of SAP technology."

company began planning a whole

this win. With SAP at the demo it was clear

infrastructure upgrade of its IT systems. One

that all customers are important, not just the

"In today's highly competitive business

area it wanted to focus on was the company's

large enterprises."

climate, being able to react quickly to


changing market conditions is vital," said Will

business processes, which required manual data input and so were very time-consuming.

Andrew Miers, managing director at LJA

Newton, SAP head of Business One, UK,

This was further complicated by the fact that

Miers, commented: "Our company is rapidly

Ireland, Benelux and Nordics. "The SAP HANA

the company is spread across three different

expanding so we needed a robust, reliable

platform allows businesses of all sizes to

sites. To support the company's growth plan,

system that could scale up and help push the

access information in real-time and make

LJA Miers knew it needed a system that would

business forward. At the same time, we

informed business decisions based on the

bring all this information together in one place.

wanted to have the latest technology in place

data in front of them. LJA Miers quickly

to support our forward-thinking ethos. SAP

recognised the potential this could offer its

The company completed a thorough review of

Business One, version for SAP HANA fits that

growing business and will now be the first UK

the ERP market but quickly discounted most

criteria and will enable us to integrate

customer to benefit from SAP Business One,

solutions due to a lack of functionality. After a

information from across our different sites, in

version for SAP HANA." He continued,

live demonstration by SAP and partner

real-time, in order to get a complete overview

"Prospettiva played a significant part in the

Prospettiva, the firm was hugely impressed by

of the business and process customer reports

signing of this deal – their knowledge of the

the real-time capabilities that SAP HANA

quicker. The Material Requirement Planning

customer's requirements lead them to suggest

offered, at an affordable price, and decided it

(MRP) module in particular will help

the SAP HANA platform, which ultimately won

was the best solution for the business.

enormously, automating our manual processes

it in the end."

and improving internal communication. It is Tony Marturano, managing director of

great that a mid-sized company like ours can

The roll-out of SAP Business One, version for

Prospettiva, commented: "LJA Miers was

access innovative, leading-edge technology

SAP HANA, with a manufacturing-specific

looking at a range of solutions, including SAP

that is typically reserved for large enterprises."

software add-on from Variatec, is already underway and LJA Miers and Prospettiva are

Business One on SQL, but when we mentioned the SAP HANA platform they were

Miers continued, "We are very pleased to be

using an online collaboration tool to put the

keen to hear more. We worked closely with

working with Prospettiva on this project; they

solution in place. The project is estimated to

SAP to deliver a live demo of the product and

are locally-based, which was an important

go live on 6 January 2014. 





October 2013


Company news

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Oriflame selects SharePoint solutions from Din ERP to simplify business processes in their global operation in ERP, a Norwegian software

organisation with high

vendor, has made its

demands and to be able to

international breakthrough by

deliver our software in such an

signing an agreement with

environment is extremely

Oriflame. The Swedish

interesting and challenging.


company will implement solutions from Din

Oriflame is also a very well-

ERP with the intention of greatly simplifying

known brand and I am sure

selected business processes throughout its

this will help our planned

global organisation. The initial agreement

international expansion. We

covers solutions such as travel expense,

really appreciate the chance to

invoicing and purchasing.

be part of Oriflame's digital future."

"We have reviewed the solutions from Din ERP over the past months and are quite

their SharePoint intranet as front end to

Delivery through IFS

impressed by the potential that lies in this

selected processes in IFS and we are proud to offer some of the best solutions available."

product," Oriflame VP global shared services,

Din ERP and IFS Scandinavia have an

In addition to being an IFS Scandinavia

Christian Jรถnsson, said. "The long-term goal

extended partnership agreement allowing IFS

business partner, Din ERP also recently

is for this to be the new unified front-end

to sell, implement and support Din ERP

signed up as an IFS Touch Apps Partner

platform for IFS Applications and other

solutions, as is the case with Oriflame. "We

providing mobile apps for various platforms

internal apps at Oriflame".

work closely with Din ERP to offer our

to the global IFS customer base.

customers great flexibility in working with IFS

Implementation starts immediately and the

Din ERP CTO and chairman, Yngve Tronstad,

Applications," said IFS Scandinavia VP sales,

goal is to go live with some of the solutions

commented: "Oriflame has a professional

Kent Mattsson. "Many customers seek to use

during Q1 2014. 

Global Payroll SIG now open to all Oracle PeopleSoft users Crocus Consulting, an Oracle Gold Partner, has announced that its Global Payroll Special Interest Group (SIG) will now be open to all Oracle PeopleSoft Global Payroll users. he SIG which brings together

who attended the most recent event at

encouraged to open the SIG initially by our

HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue &

HSBC's offices in Sheffield, took the

own clients and with the support of both

Customs), Oracle and many of

decision to expand the group's

Oracle and the HMRC its membership grew

the UK's leading employers will

membership, as much of the initial content

quickly to include a number of other major

now provide even more users of

generated was felt have a broad appeal for

organisations. We always intended that the

Oracle PeopleSoft Global Payroll with an

all users of the software. New members who

SIG should ultimately be open to all if it was

on-going forum to question developments

wish to join the SIG will now be able to

a success but the decision to do so lay with

and to discuss issues of shared interest.

attend the group's next meeting hosted by

its members. This was agreed at the most

The SIG already includes senior payroll

Nationwide Building Society in Swindon on

recent meeting and we already know that a

systems managers from the Banking, Retail,

the 11th September.

further three new members will be joining us


Recruitment and Industrial sectors. A decision by those members of the SIG,


at the Nationwide event in September. We Commenting on the SIG's expansion,

are confident that other new organisations

Crocus CEO Chris Smith noted: "We were

are likely to join us there too." 



October 2013



\\\ Manufacturing \\\


Mobility in the maintenance world Roger Cooke, sales executive at Shire Systems, considers the role modern mobile devices can play in ensuring manufacturing and logistics companies have in place a reliable and efficient maintenance regime. – and the way these types of devices have

‘accept button’ before starting the job. The

been so widely embraced both within the

device can also provide the person with all the

consumer and B2B world – the technology

relevant health & safety compliance information

surrounding maintenance capabilities have also

for the work. And all this relevant information is

moved on apace. Let’s look at both some of the

available from a single source – the mobile

online and offline benefits, and possible pitfalls


to be aware of, related to the use of modern mobile devices by maintenance personnel.

Working online

Working offline

Today we see much more wireless connectivity within the factory or warehouse. This, together

Although much of the talk surrounding

with the ability to access data via the Internet,

mobility today centres around online

has transformed the way the modern mobile

advantages through the use of wireless

maintenance engineer goes about his daily

networks and the Internet, working offline can

tasks. Latterly, the big advances in the world of

also provide a host of benefits to maintenance

mobility have focuses primarily on online real-

professionals. Working offline, workers can

time capability. This has been a major leap

enter new data ‘at the coalface’ even if there

forward and probably the primary reason for

is no available local wireless network. This

greater levels of adoption. There is however

avoids all the constrains surrounding data

sometimes the assumption that users can just

double entry or having to resort to writing

connect a device wherever they are at any

information on paper with all the potential

given time, but this is not the case in certain

egular, well-regimented

problems of lack of readability by other

instances. For example, a distribution

maintenance tasks such as

workers. A handheld device demands

warehouse might plan to conduct a full radio

inspection, testing or equipment

answers and provides levels of consistency

survey within its premises but neglect to

overhaul are critical in order for

throughout. It can also synchronise data

undertake the survey with the warehouse’s

factory or warehouse equipment

captured ‘in the field’ back into the main

racking in place. Consequently the signals

to run effectively. After all, any equipment

system, either wirelessly if online or via direct

might not be as reliable as planned.

downtime though poor upkeep can prove highly

connection when the maintenance engineer

costly, as well as potentially result in delivery

returns to site.

Roger Cooke: “Modern mobile devices, whether online or offline, have largely transformed the way maintenance professionals carry out their tasks.”


Similarly, the manufacturing environment

delays to the end customer. Therefore, having a

needs hotspots and general wireless

reliable and proven computerised maintenance

Working offline, workers can still access pre-

capability in order to benefit from real-time

management (CMMS) software package in

loaded data from the device; data that can be

data access. In the world of pharmaceutical

place is undoubtedly an important requirement

critical for the maintenance task or tasks at

or electronics manufacture the working

in order to ensure the right people are deployed

hand. And by simply swiping a barcode, a

environments are generally very clean and

to undertake the right maintenance tasks with

maintenance engineer can be informed that a

tidy, making wireless connection a relatively

the right tools at the right time.

particular machine needs certain work done on

simple process. However, in certain other

it. The mobile device can also offer clarity of

manufacturing environments wireless signals

Shire Systems has been supplying mobile

instruction. It can confirm that the person has a

may prove to be more intermittent. These

applications for maintenance tasks since the

permit to undertake the particular maintenance

possible scenarios are certainly worth bearing

early 1990s. However, since the relatively recent

task in hand. The individual might be required

in mind before undertaking any radio survey

advent of the mobile smartphone and tablet PC

to read the task documentation and press the

for your premises.





October 2013



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Loan-worker support

Shire Systems’ Pirana solutions portfolio

With an online mobile device a company can

Pirana can be setup in two ways: Option 1: Hosted. Set up and run on Shire Systems' remote servers. Option 2: On Premise. Installed and run on your own organisation's network. Internet, intranet and mobile phone deployment means users can access their system from anywhere.

provide effective, reliable loan-worker support. If the individual is working on a warehouse or factory roof, for example, his mobile phone can very easily track his GPS. He can also use the mobile device to inform colleagues at head office that he – alone or with specified colleagues – is currently undertaking a particular task. Moreover, he can read all of the

Pirana MobIle Pirana Mobile enables quick processing of Pirana CMMS work orders on mobile devices such as the iPhone, IPad, HTC, Samsung etc. Simply set up users, issue them with a pin number and then the workforce is ready to process work orders on the move. Users can readily access work orders in accordance with the security settings you choose to put in place.

appropriate documentation on the device rather

Pirana Stock & Inventory (Materials Management)

than have to carry sheets of paper around;

Pirana Stock & Inventory Control (Materials Management) is designed to facilitate the management of stock, enable you to specify your stock items, then organise, monitor and control their movement at each stage of the receipt/storage/issue and return cycle. The system provides you with the means to maintain quality compliance of your stock throughout the cycle.

which could prove cumbersome and even hazardous when working at height or in other potentially dangerous environments. And mobile devices with larger display screens,

Pirana Purchasing

such as Tablet PCs, can provide users with the

Pirana Purchasing (Purchase Orders) is designed to facilitate both internal requisitions and external purchase orders placed with a supplier.

ability to access more detailed visual information – maps, design drawings etc. So, modern mobile devices, whether online or

Pirana Work Requester Pirana Work Requester is an efficient, cost-effective module which allows a user to send a work request to the maintenance team, and keep track of any requests they have raised.

offline, have largely transformed the way

Pirana Hosted

maintenance professionals carry out their tasks –

A Hosted Pirana CMMS system is fully web-enabled, delivering all the capabilities of Pirana CMMS with all the flexibility that the web has to offer. Full Pirana functionality is ready to use ‘on demand’, enabling users to benefit from a low-cost-per-user pricing model.

and in very positive ways, providing greater levels of accuracy, safety, speed and efficiency. 




October 2013



\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Event news

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013: Leading in a Digital World Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 is the industry's largest and most important annual gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders. The event taking place in Barcelona from 10-14 November 2013 will gather more than 4000 senior IT executives – including more than 1600 CIOs.


n 2012, Gartner focused on how to


Keynote speakers

advance business, amplify enterprise

Business Process Improvement.

strategy and determine the long-term

Enterprise Architecture.

In addition, the event will feature two guest

direction of information technology

Infrastructure & Operations – Data Centre,

keynote speakers:

Server, Storage and IT Operations.

throughout the organisation. Twelve months

later, the challenges for IT leadership are even

greater – requiring IT leadership to have a

Infrastructure & Operations – Mobile, Client

Dana S Deasy

Computing and Communications.

Group chief information officer, BP.

thorough understanding of digital technologies

Program & Portfolio Management.

and how they can be used for competitive

Security & Risk Management.

Keith Ferrazzi


Sourcing & Vendor Relationships.

CEO, Ferrazzi Greenlight, Inc.

Faced with increasing demands from their

Each track is designed to address the key

customers, employees and competitors who

priorities and challenges organisations face.

are acquiring higher levels of IT fluency,

The Symposium/ITxpo role experience includes

Gartner Analyst Opening Keynote The conference will also include the Gartner analyst opening keynote from Debra Logan,

VP distinguished analyst & Symposium/ITxpo

Over four days, more than 100 Gartner analysts and over 125 solution providers will help delegates accelerate growth, create new connections and drive greater agility.”

conference chair. A powerful convergence of forces – mobile, social, Cloud and information – is rapidly reshaping how business gets done now and in the future. Gartner

business leaders are turning to IT to lead the

the targeted sessions and networking

comments that CIOs and senior IT executives

way. “Leading in a Digital World represents a

opportunities organisations need to

are at the centre of this transformation,

complex and new set of skills that every CIO

succcssfully transform their IT strategies.

leading the creation of the digital enterprise.

CIO Program


needs to arm themselves with,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research. Alongside these tracks will run the CIO Program

At Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, attendees

Over four days, more than 100 Gartner analysts

at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. It is designed

will discover how to seize new opportunities,

and over 125 solution providers will help

based on feedback from more than 2000 CIOs

forge strategic partnerships to drive change,

delegates accelerate growth, create new

and includes analyst presentations, problem-

and evolve to become indispensable leaders

connections and drive greater agility. The event

solving workshops and meaningful exchange

in the digital world.

will feature 10 tracks organised by role:

with your CIO peers. In a format specifically requested by CIOs, the Program offers a rare

Additionally, delegates can visit the ITxpo


opportunity to share real-world experiences with

show floor where technology and service


your peers while experiencing the proven value

providers will demonstrate their latest

Business Intelligence & Information

of Gartner advice and insight.

products and services where they will learn





October 2013


\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Event news

about the latest cutting-edge solutions – from the best-of-breed providers and up-and-comers.

Key benefits summary Attend Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 and come away with strategies and tactics essential for advancing enterprise and professional goals: Business benefits •

Master how to improve IT contribution for enterprise growth.

Determine ways IT can contribute to improve enterprise competitiveness.

Capitalise on innovation and investment opportunities.

Create an action plan to reduce IT costs.

Confirm the strategic IT direction for your company.

Professional benefits •

Enhance your negotiation skills through the contract negotiation clinics.

Understand the economics of new infrastructure models.

Empower your organisation on the new vision of IT, establishing yourself as an innovator.

Formulate new directives on the integrated IT role in driving business.

Who should attend Symposium/ITxpo is for IT industry leaders, including: •



Senior IT leaders.

Technology and business strategy xecutives.

Institutional investors & venture capitalists.

Technology and service providers.

Press and media.

10 – 14 November | Barcelona, Spain gartner.com/eu/symposium gartner .com/eu/symposium

The World’s World’s Most Most Important Impo rtant G Gathering athering of CIOs and Senior IT Execu Executives tives Save €600 on the standar standard d conference conference rate by using priority code MPSYM3*


* Discount applies to new registrations onlyy. Cannot be used retrospectively or in conjunction with any other offerr.

About Symposium Discover new ways to advance the business An explosion of information is rapidly re-shaping how the enterprise works and how business gets done. At the centre of it all is a powerful convergence of mobile, social, Cloud and information — transformative forces capable of yielding vast opportunity to organisations that embrace them. Join 4000 of your professional peers — including 1500 CIOs — at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, an in-depth IT learning experience designed to: • • • • •

Explore and explain the interconnectivity of mobile, social Cloud and information, the foundation for the new digital world. Address the top-ranking IT and business priorities of the 2013 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey. Identify and act on new opportunities to lead IT transformation, and become an indispensable strategic partner to the business. Provide the fresh research, strategic insight, tools and action plan that will move your organization forward. Offer an industry-specific focus on topics, trends and technologies that will create differentiation and sustain competitive advantage.

For more information, visit gartner.com/eu/symposium


Master Mastermind mind Keynotes Dana Deasy Chief Information mation Officer (CIO) and Group Vice i President, Information nformation Te echnology & Services, BP Keith Ferrazzi CEO, Ferrazzi Greenlight, Inc



lanning Success story

Sumida finds the right planning & scheduling component in Preactor umida AG is a leading company in


the electronic sector. It develops, manufactures and sells inductive components, modules, assemblies and complete systems. With

development, production and sales locations in China, Germany, France, the UK, Eastern Europe, Mexico and the USA, Sumida AG is a globally competitive provider for all services relating to electronic production. Sumida focuses on three different markets: automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. From individual problem definitions to standardisation – many trend-setting inventions came from Sumida AG, such as today’s customary high-voltage igniters for Xenon headlights in automobiles. At the Sumida site in Lehesten, between 150 and 200 employees are working in the

Due to the lack of planning logic – e.g. rules for automatic prioritisation of production orders – the planning department was often overstrained to set up a correct schedule, causing delays of important production orders.

production department. The site’s main business is the production of small- to medium-numbered

scheduling was set up in two systems: the ERP-

ERP – there was no correct overview in either

batches of special electronic parts for

system and a basic version of Preactor.

system. Due to the lack of planning logic – e.g.

automotive, industrial and consumer use. The

Planning results of the Preactor solution were

rules for automatic prioritisation of production

factory is confronted with production orders of

sent to the ERP, but manually changed within

orders – the planning department was often

long-term contracts as well as production orders

the ERP. In addition, all changes done in

overstrained to set up a correct schedule,

which arrive on short notice. Lack of visibility,

Preactor were deleted each day when planning

causing delays of important production orders.

high manual effort in planning and an only very

data from the ERP-system was re-loaded.

basic planning logic within the existing system

Several other aspects had severe effects on the

There was no feedback from the PDA

called for an improved software solution.


(production-data acquisition), which led to incorrect scheduling orders in Preactor since it

Due to the manual changes of the production

didn’t know which orders already started. A

Existing solution

schedule in the ERP, the shop floor didn’t work

project was set up to find innovative solutions to

The existing solution for production planning &

with the planning results of Preactor but with the

solve these problems.

New planning logic A new scheduling logic has been introduced. Instead of considering the production order as a whole, every single process step is now considered in the production schedule: starttime, end-time and the processing time (the correct time per unit is calculated depending on lot size by Preactor) are now taken into account on a process step basis. In addition the planner can still overrule the schedule manually if needed.





October 2013



lanning Success story

To communicate the schedule to the shop-floor, an automatic report and print-job was created. On a daily basis all machines and equipment are listed – separated by early, late-shift and night-shift – including the scheduled production orders and all additional information that is needed on the shop floor. All of these improvements dramatically enhanced the trust and satisfaction of the employees in the new planning solution. Instead of working in two systems, all scheduling work is now done in Preactor. Hans Franz, head of the planning department at Sumida Lehesten, said: “Preactor helped us to improve our on-time delivery rate and our productivity significantly. This strengthens our position in the market and our competitiveness." A link between the shop-floor and Preactor

The lot size is now optimised by Preactor. To

was also established. The start and end of a

better utilise the capacity, an automatic

The future

production order is now visible for the

adjustment of the lot size - based on the

The current level is not the end of the road: The

planning department. This has dramatically

availability of staff and equipment – was

positive impact of Preactor convinced the

reduced the workload of the planning

implemented. This complex set of rules

management of Sumida Lehesten to set up a

department, since a check-up on the shop-

improved the overall equipment efficiency of

process of continuous new improvements of the

floor is no longer necessary.

the site.

system and the planning logic within the tool. 




October 2013




lanning Opinion

The spreadsheet


By Karin Bursa, vice president, Logility.

it does. According to an August 2013 survey

After moving away from spreadsheets to

conducted by APICS and Logility, 47 per cent

develop and manage their demand planning

of the 860 respondents indicated

and forecasting, the company I mentioned

spreadsheets were their primary tool for

earlier realised how far behind they once

Demand Planning. Spreadsheets have, for

were. The team now conducts a proactive

many, become the go-to solution for much of

monthly S&OP meeting that is fully integrated

their supply chain needs.

with their supply chain planning processes. Disagreements and firefighting which used to be commonplace are replaced by looking

Short-term benefits

forward at the opportunities and challenges

Spreadsheets offer short-term benefits like

that await the organisation. This is a dramatic

low cost, ease of use and broad availability.

shift for them and has led to significant

Everyone you work with has access to view,

improvements in service levels and a

modify or create spreadsheets. However,

reduction in inventory across their global

these seeming advantages come at a cost.


Many in-depth studies have concluded Karin Bursa: “The advantages of more accurate visibility across your global business for a horizon or 12, 18, 24 months or more and plan accordingly are tremendous.”

spreadsheets are riddled with errors; it is just

Based on my above conversation and work

part of working in spreadsheets. Typically

with hundreds of supply chain professionals

these are transposed numbers–human error

there are four key elements that standout

and outdated formulas. In general, the errors

when discussing how spreadsheets can

always hear people say, “it isn’t the

seem to occur in a few percent of all cells.

hinder your supply chain success.

technology that provides benefits in a

That means a large spreadsheet is certain to

supply chain project; it’s changing the

contain several errors.


Structure and Flexibility: A flexible structure

business process.” Yes and no. When technology is the catalyst for business

process change the resulting symmetry of technology and purpose can change your supply chain—forever. Recently I spoke with the head of supply chain, for a company which historically has been behind the technology curve, about their recent supply chain transformation. One theme stuck out—their reliance on spreadsheets created several problems they didn’t realise existed until they left them behind. The company lacked visibility across its entire supply chain and the sales and operations planning (S&OP) process focused more on whose data was correct and less about aligning each department with corporate objectives. The team could not move forward, literally swimming in a sea of spreadsheets. Does this sound familiar to you? Chances are





October 2013



lanning Opinion

“Spreadsheets provide a false sense of automation and lack many of the basic capabilities you need to run your supply chain.”

allows for multiple hierarchies—sales,

require a one month horizon, Finance 12

horizon or 12, 18, 24 months or more and

product, finance, customer, and more. You

months and Supply three months—as well as

plan accordingly are tremendous. This

need the ability to create forecasts at every

the need to measure actuals versus statistical

information is a solid foundation to support

level of the planning hierarchy and measure

forecast versus collaboration with sales at

more profitable business growth. During the

forecast accuracy at each level

different time intervals and it quickly becomes

S&OP meeting you want one version of the


apparent spreadsheets will stop you cold in

truth, not a multitude of competing

your tracks.

spreadsheets from each department. 

Planning Across the Life Cycle: Products have life cycles with various demand profiles that

Trust: In order for a system or process to

rise and fall depending on the stage. This can

reach its potential, the business must trust in

be influenced by many factors including

it. You must trust the data presented before

promotions and seasonality. Many best-of-

you. Spreadsheets can be a line of chaotic

breed solutions will automatically change the

tabs linked to multiple other spreadsheets

forecast model as products move from new

around the organisation. You need to have

product introduction all the way through to

trust in the information, not constantly wonder

product phase out; something spreadsheets

if the data is correct or the analytics are

cannot accomplish.


Measurement: You need to quickly and easily

Spreadsheets provide a false sense of

measure forecast error (or accuracy). The

automation and lack many of the basic

ability to track and measure forecast error

capabilities you need to run your supply

over time is critical. Factor in the differing

chain. The advantages of more accurate

needs of each department—Sales may

visibility across your global business for a


About the author Karin L. Bursa is a vice president at Logility, a provider of collaborative supply chain management solutions. Bursa has more than 25 years of experience in the development, support and marketing of software solutions to improve and automate enterprise-wide operations. You can follow her industry insights at www.logility.com/blog.



October 2013



Printing & Labelling


The factory of the future is nearer than you think Matt Parker, head of market development, Zebra Technologies Europe, considers the factory of the future concept, and the full track and traceability benefits this will increasingly bring to the table for manufacturers, warehouse professionals and retailers.


aving spoken with many manufacturers in recent weeks I sense a genuine buzz and level of excitement about the future. This positivity is derived from many areas, not least a rallying cry within government and a seeming acceptance that service economies alone cannot and will not thrive in the long term. The recognition that a strong and expanding manufacturing core is key to long-term national interest is welcome and is supported by investment in developing skill sets for the ‘Factory of the Future’ and committing to sectors of specialisation and high value add. But what does this factory of the future look like...? What steps should manufacturers be putting in place today to enable a longterm competitive edge that propels the business forward...? Key to unlocking the factory of the future is the use of technologies that harness data and information; information that exists in such quantities and scale that it might ostensibly seem confusing and unclear, but data that if filtered and accessed effectively holds value and opportunity. Interrogating work streams and putting closer scrutiny on processes within the operation to extract meaningful data will allow manufacturers to unlock hidden events and drive greater





October 2013

efficiency through improved decision making through predictive analytics.

Four pillars

The factory of the future will be highly dynamic in terms of its ability to manage multiple sites as a single operating entity. Increasingly, we will see a more seamless form of supply chain; from the supplier to the manufacturer and to the end customer. Increasingly, all of these supply chain elements will be interlinked. And we will see a greater reliance on people as decision-makers and analysts in order for companies to make more informed decisions based on the increasing volumes of real-time data feeds through the enterprise. We already witnessing greater levels of automated interaction between, and the linking of machines, and the data derived from the ‘digital voice’ will provide more valuable analytics for the company – again enabling it to make better informed business and operational decisions in faster timeframes. This increased contextual awareness of otherwise inanimate objects is absolutely key to the effectiveness of the factory of the future because through those objects having a ‘voice’ companies are really going to be able to unlock the many hidden events that often cost business and sap resource.

In simple terms, I recognise four technology pillars driving change towards the factory of the future: Big Data – refers to being able to collect and analyse massive volumes of data and make it of value to your particular business requirements and goals. Actionable Analytics – Improving the decision making process through the more rapid analysis of data specific to processes and work streams. Integrated Ecosystems – Concerned with the blurring of boundaries between previously separate supply chain, manufacturing and other related processes and the data systems within. The Internet of Things – A network of connected items and objects, empowered with a digital voice to provide increased contextual awareness/information. If I sat down with a plant manager or operational facilities manager – someone who is really concerned with the actual



Printing & Labelling

day-to-day running of, and throughput within, the factory – and ask what his/her factory the future would look like, I think the response would revolve around much greater visibility. This isn’t just in terms of greater visibility within the plant but also within the connected upstream and downstream supply chain processes. I hear about much greater alignment between the order book and production, plus the ability to forecast more accurately and therefore control inventory more appropriately. I also hear lots of talk about collaboration within the world of manufacturing, and the sharing of information to help improve efficiency in general terms – and also the ability to be flexible.

Collaboration For example, within the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry the Falsified Medicines Directive is changing the way organisations are looking at their whole supply chain in a bid to reduce the impact of counterfeit medicines. This is resulting in much greater collaboration between pharmaceutical companies; collaborating and sharing information on unique identification codes on medicines and drugs to help to restrict the flow of counterfeit medicines entering the supply chain. This UID (Unique Identification) and data sharing philosophy is likely to expand beyond the pharmaceutical sector.

Improved demand forecasting In terms of demand forecasting, companies have for many years largely relied on historical data to plot future demand. However, because of faster changing and less predictable buying habits it is now more important to ‘sense’ demand through having access to more immediate sales trends and be able to adapt inventory and manufacturing patterns in the most accurate ways. I think it’s interesting to observe the investments some of the larger ERP organisations are making at the moment – acquiring tools


likely buying behaviour based on, for and platforms that look explicitly at example, whether they have a trolley or predictive analytics through real-time and not. If, say, a coach pulls up outside the sensor-acquired information as well as the store and 40 people get off to buy some historical. Harnessing real-time data snacks and none of them enter a store coming in from the operation as its living with a trolley the and breathing in its store manager can current state in order to Harnessing real-time be alerted and be make those forecasts data coming in from the told there are only more accurate and three checkouts more realistic is a vital operation as its living and available at that time, step in preparing for the breathing in its current state and that there is future state of a going to be a dynamic manufacturing in order to make those capacity issue in 10 function. forecasts more accurate minutes unless and more realistic is a vital another two And this links back to step in preparing for the checkouts are Integrated Ecosystems opened. That is and the Internet of future state of a dynamic predictive analytics Things. If you look at manufacturing function.” in action. The the modern retail technologies are environment, there are here to allow for steps to be made today forward-thinking companies that are in achieving Factory of the Future deploying vision systems that not just act processes. Machine-to-machine as close circuit TVs but can also ‘heat intelligence, vision and sensory systems map’, providing counters to the number of and automatic identification systems all people entering the store. Utilising this exist to enable modern manufacturers and methodology, the store manager can be retailers to proceed down this journey alerted in real-time as to the flow of today.  people coming into the store and their



October 2013




Success story

Box Technologies helps to provide greater mobility and increase flexibility at Poundland A mobile tablet solution provided by Box Technologies is at the heart of improved productivity and accuracy within critical quality assurance processes at Poundland.


he recipient of the Discount Retailer of the Year 2011 at The Retail Industry Awards, Poundland has become a major high street success. With

increasing sales and more than 380 stores, the large number of deliveries handled by the two main Midlands-based warehouse hubs requires the latest in technology solutions to ensure that Poundland’s supply chain keeps pace with demand.

The challenge Poundland’s Quality Assurance Team, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the timely delivery of goods to stores across the UK and Eire in order to keep up with the ever expanding product range. The deployment of a comprehensive solution to check and

Motion F5 tablet has brought major benefits in Poundland’s abilities to check the quality of goods, and the speed with which this task is undertaken.

record items being delivered became a priority for the IT team. Long time

unit between pallets during busy periods.

The solution

technology solutions partner Box Technologies was tasked with providing a

The challenge was to find a solution that

The increasing sophistication and functionality

truly mobile solution to increase accuracy

was not only mobile, portable, and compact

provided by tablet based technology seemed

and of course, productivity.

but one that also incorporated all of the

to offer the ideal platform. Box Technologies

required technologies needed to allow the

worked with the team at Poundland to specify

Poundland had a solution in place that only

Quality Assurance team undertake their

a tablet device incorporating all of the

partly solved the problem. Its shortcomings

tasks with increased productivity. Finally, it

required functionality.

came from the fact it was trolley based,

was the clear and quantifiable cost savings

cumbersome, and comprised a laptop,

delivered which convinced Poundland to

The Motion F5 PC developed and

scanner, and camera, powered by a mobile

acquire the solution offered by Box

manufactured by one of the leading vendors

battery pack to ensure the solution could

Technologies. The tablet device enabled

in the industry, takes technology into the field

last the shift. In an environment alive with

Poundland to replace multiple different

to streamline multiple processes and improve

forklift trucks and constant movement, the

elements of the legacy hardware. Long term

mobile workforce productivity. For Poundland,

Quality Assurance Team found itself having

cost reductions in terms of maintenance

the objective was to roll out a solution which

to interrupt its work in order to allow the

and support costs could be realised with

enabled a rapid and accurate quality control

traffic to go past. Being trolley based, there

just one device doing the job previously

procedure through the use of one portable

was also an added problem of getting the

performed by four.

device. As goods are delivered into the


IT October 2013




Success story


warehouse, every box must be opened and

Anywhere¨ technology ensures excellent

their work more quickly and through

samples of the goods checked. Type,

viewing of all kinds of documentation and

increased flexibility and greater mobility,

quantity, colour and contents must all cross

images whatever the light source.

can improve its productivity levels. An

reference against the existing database, and

added bonus is the reduction of

of course, in real time. When discrepancies

In operational terms, the device provides Wi-

interruptions for the fork lift drivers. This

are found images must be taken to record

Fi, Bluetooth¨ wireless connectivity and

wearable and portable solution has

these and where new items are taken into

optional mobile broadband with GobiÂŞ

revolutionised the task of the team. Mick

stock, these must be entered into the

connectivity (WWAN) for real time data

Corbett, IT solutions leader at Poundland,

database. The IP54 rated F5 has enabled the

transfer. The device has powerful processing

confirmed this. “The Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance team to operate with one

capabilities and is available with up to an

team have a mission critical task to

device that captures data via a barcode

IntelÂŞ CoreÂŞ i7 vProÂŞ. It has an extended

perform. Our expansion and increasing

scanner, integrated 3.0 megapixel digital

battery life to cope with the most demanding

range of goods that we can offer our

camera and a web cam.

shift and incorporates a hotswap battery

customers means that the task will continue

feature which eliminates downtime when

to expand and evolve. The introduction of

The ergonomics of the lightweight device with

changing batteries. This superior performance

the Motion F5 tablet has brought huge

its slip-free grip and moulded handle make it

and level of functionality within such a

benefits in our abilities to check the quality

an ideal design. It is built to be carried all day,

portable form-factor answered Poundland’s

of goods, and the speed with which we do

to survive bumps or drops and enables data

requirements precisely.

that. Finally, we have eliminated the need

capture while standing or walking. For hands-

for a bulky and multi-faceted approach to

free operation Poundland equips the tablet


one that brings the best of state of the art

glass provides the strength needed within

With the Box Technologies enabled solution,

portable device.� 

tough workplace environments and View

the Quality Assurance team can go about

with straps and a safety harness. Its gorilla

technology together in one lightweight and




H\ZHOO'ROSKLQ +RQH\ZHOO'ROSKLQ Wireless reless scanphone scan

)W0RELOH7DEOHW3&    ED%(3 %(3 Robust - suitable for the 7RVKLED%(3 %(3 pr Wireless printer toughest of environment!







October 2013




Success story

DPD selects Honeywell mobile computers to improve delivery speed and accuracy •

DPD is deploying 12,000 Honeywell

Mobile computers are critical for package

Mobile Computers across Europe. delivery drivers; must be tough enough to withstand extreme conditions and hightech enough to exchange important data. •

DPD to use Honeywell’s Remote MasterMind device management software to manage the 12,000 mobile computers across Europe.

Global parcel and express delivery company DPD is equipping all of its 12,000 drivers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg with a Honeywell Dolphin 99EX mobile computer. DPD, responsible for delivering 2.5 million parcels each day, also is leveraging Honeywell’s Remote MasterMind device

The Dolphin 99EX mobile computer was designed with input from transportation and logistics companies to help their workers be more productive.

management software, which allows its depot managers and administrators to push software updates and verify the computers are working properly from a single dashboard.

and Honeywell’s Remote MasterMind gives us

comfortably with one hand and a

a decisive efficiency advantage.

customised keypad to shorten the amount

Honeywell’s technology was best able to meet our needs on all

of time it takes to input data.


Parcel delivery companies share a need to enable their drivers to deliver parcels in

Ergonomic design that can be held

Motion, light and proximity sensors that optimise the mobile computer’s screen and lighting for its current environment,

Track record

whether it is being used in a warehouse,

extremely wet, cold or dusty

“Honeywell has a strong track

environments, while

record of equipping large-scale

truck or outdoors in bright sunlight. •

The sensors also help preserve battery

scanning barcodes,

parcel delivery companies like

life, which is longer than any comparable

capturing customer

DPD with reliable technology

rugged mobile device – up to 16 hours on

signatures and determining

and hardware that drive

a single charge, removing the need for

the optimal route to their

productivity in the field,” said

drivers to carry extra batteries or fit

next drop-off. “Our

John Waldron, president of

requirements for this

delivery vehicles with chargers. •

Honeywell Scanning & Mobility.

3.9G wireless technology for real-time

significant technology

“Speed and accuracy are the

voice and data communication, keeping

investment were clear: we

foundation of the parcel delivery

workers connected regardless of network

needed a user-friendly mobile

industry, and we take real pride that

carrier or technology, and allowing for

computer, smooth scan

DPD selected Honeywell

software performance and a

technology as the key link between

total solution that could help

its drivers and customers.”

faster data acquisition and better tracking. •

Technology 6.0, allowing drivers to swiftly

us prepare for future transaction increases,” said Peter Störring, director operations, DPD GeoPost (Deutschland). “We also needed a software system to manage our equipment,


IT October 2013



Honeywell’s advanced Adaptus Imaging read and decode linear and 2D barcodes and capture photos for proof-of-delivery.

The Dolphin 99EX mobile computer was designed with input from

IP67-rating for protection when the mobile

transportation and logistics

computer is exposed to dust, water, or

companies to help their workers be

multiple drops to concrete from as high

more productive. Special features include:

1.5 metres. 


Product news


Honeywell’s new Dolphin 60s Scanphone delivers durability, scanning performance and connectivity at an affordable price

oneywell has announced its

solution for businesses looking to upgrade

Mastermind 4.0, the automatic identification

newest scanphone, which

from the paper and clipboard by automating

and data capture (AIDC) industry’s first

blends the capabilities of a

their inventory management and data

integrated mobile and scanning device

consumer smart phone, rugged

collection. Honeywell designed this

management solution.

mobile computer and bar code

scanphone as an entry-level mobile solution


scanner in an affordable package. Built for

to meet the needs of retail, field service, field

The Dolphin 60s scanphone will begin

workers on-the-go, the Dolphin 60s mobile

sales and DSD operations of all sizes,” said

shipping globally in September 2013 in both

device provides quick and reliable access to

Taylor Smith, director of product marketing,

Wi-Fi and 3G WWAN versions. It joins the

critical data through Honeywell’s proven

Honeywell Scanning & Mobility.

Dolphin 6000 mobile device in Honeywell’s current line of scanphones. 

technology. The device serves as a costeffective solution for businesses of all sizes across industries including retail, field service,

Extended lifecycle support

and direct store delivery (DSD), where manual

In addition to its mobile and scanning

processes are becoming a competitive

functionalities, the Dolphin 60s scanphone


has extended lifecycle support, offering

The Dolphin 60s provides a cost-effective solution for businesses looking to upgrade from the paper and clipboard by automating their inventory management and data collection. Honeywell designed this scanphone as an entry-level mobile solution to meet the needs of retail, field service, field sales and DSD operations of all sizes.” – Taylor Smith, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. reduced configuration and implementation


costs and overall lower total cost of ownership

The pocket-sized rugged enterprise device

grade smart phones, which lack the

has been engineered to withstand 4-foot

enterprise scanning abilities, extended battery

drops and more than 800 tumbles. To

life and ability to withstand drops and

increase data collection efficiency and

tumbles. The Dolphin 60s also is

accuracy, the Dolphin 60s scanphone

compatible with Honeywell’s Remote

– especially when compared to consumer-

integrates 1D and 2D scanning technology with multiple data entry options, such as full QWERTY and numeric keypads. Additionally, the scanphone’s extended battery can last for a typical worker’s full shift. The Dolphin 60s incorporates phone and data communication capabilities through Wi-Fi or 3G WWAN connectivity. Users can also deploy the Dolphin 60s’ Bluetooth and GPS technologies.

Honeywell at a glance Honeywell is a Fortunc100 diversified technology and manufacturing company, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and performance materials. Honeywell Scanning & Mobility (HSM) is part of the Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business group of Honeywell. HSM is a manufacturer of high-performance image- and laser-based data collection hardware, including rugged mobile computers and barcode scanners. With one of the broadest product portfolios in the automatic identification and data collection industry, HSM provides data collection hardware for retail, healthcare, and transportation and logistics companies seeking to improve operations and enhance customer service. Additionally, HSM provides advanced software, service and professional solutions that help customers effectively manage data and assets. HSM products are sold worldwide through a network of distributor and reseller partners.

“The Dolphin 60s provides a cost-effective




October 2013





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