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OCTOBER 2019

MLIT Oct'19.qxp_IBC publications 11/10/2019 14:15 Page 1

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

Special Technology Report: WMS/VOICE-DIRECTED PICKING

Critical Issues: TREADING THE RIGHT PATH TOWARDS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Also in this issue: Integration in perfection – Requirements for the smooth collaboration in SCM networks ws

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tu uf ac an M

a WMS

rin

Automation – future-proofing your business with

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Do

Lo

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The only constant is change

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Ne

ad

ap

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In the warehouse efficiency fast lane

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AI – The way forward in cybersecurity Cyberattacks are becoming an increasingly virulent bugbear for businesses, making it more important than ever for companies to ensure they have more than adequate protection in place. The consequences of these attacks can have a major impact on an organisation on several fronts. Valuable business-critical data can be lost or held to ransom, valuable time can be spent trying to remedy the problem, money can be stolen, even a company’s reputation can be in jeopardy if it becomes widely known that it failed to put the right measures in place to avoid such an outcome. Artificial intelligence is once branch of technology that is being increasingly deployed sto keep firms better protected from such attacks. Indeed, according to recent findings from a Capgemini Research Institute study, businesses are increasing the pace of investment in AI systems to defend against the next generation of cyberattacks. According to the research, two thirds (69%) of organisations acknowledge that they will not be able to respond to critical threats without AI. With the number of end-user devices, networks and user interfaces growing as a result of advances in the cloud, IoT, 5G and conversational interface technologies, Capgemini makes the point that organisations face an urgent need to continually ramp up and improve their cybersecurity. AI-enabled cybersecurity is now an imperative, states Capgemini: Over half (56%) of executives say their cybersecurity analysts are overwhelmed by the vast array of data points they need to monitor to detect and prevent intrusion. In addition, the type of cyberattacks that require immediate intervention, or that cannot be remediated quickly enough by cyber analysts, have notably increased, including cyberattacks affecting time-sensitive applications (42% saying they had gone up, by an average of 16%), and automated machine-speed attacks that mutate at a pace that cannot be neutralised through traditional response systems (43% reported an increase, by an average of 15%). Facing these new threats, a clear majority of companies (69%) believe they will not be able to respond to cyberattacks without the use of AI, while 61% say they need AI to identify critical threats. One in five executives experienced a cybersecurity breach in 2018, 20% of which cost their organisation over $50 million. Capgemini points out that a majority of executives accept that AI is fundamental to the future of cybersecurity. 64% said it lowers the cost of detecting breaches and responding to them – by an average of 12%. 74% said it enables a faster response time: reducing time taken to detect threats, remedy breaches and implement patches by 12%. 69% also said AI improves the accuracy of detecting breaches, and 60% said it increases the efficiency of cybersecurity analysts, reducing the time they spend analysing false positives and improving productivity. Accordingly, almost half (48%) said that budgets for AI in cybersecurity will increase in FY2020 by nearly a third (29%). In terms of deployment, 73% are testing use cases for AI in cybersecurity. Only one in five organisations

Ed Holden

used AI pre-2019 but adoption is poised to skyrocket: almost two out of three (63%)

Editor

organisations plan to deploy AI by 2020 to bolster their defences. Although there remain some challenges around AI integration and a lack of understanding of how to scale use cases from proof of concept to full-scale deployment, companies do seem to have the right attitude towards cybersecurity and the role AI can play in protecting their organisations from attack. As Anne-Laure Thieullent, AI and analytics group offer leader at Capgemini, stresses, organisations must first look to address the underlying implementation challenges that are preventing AI from reaching its full potential for cybersecurity. “Only by taking these steps can organisations equip themselves for the rapidly evolving threat of cyberattacks. By doing so, they will save themselves money, and reduce the likelihood of a devastating data breach.” Stay safe.

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IT October 2019

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CONTENTS Manufacturing and Logistics IT October 2019 The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Editor: Ed Holden

Critical Issues 5

Treading the right path towards digital transformation

Special Technology Report 7

WMS/Voice-directed picking

Contributors: Lance Bennett, Renovotec

Transportation Management

Vikash Kumar Chaudhary, Tatvasoft Tim Just, EPS – Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions

18

Keith Phillips, Voxware, Inc

TIMOCOM: Integration in perfection – Requirements for the smooth collaboration in SCM networks

Alex Reneman, Mountain Leverage Darrel Williams, Honeywell Vocollect Solutions

Voice-Directed Picking

Publisher: Dean Taylor

20

How Honeywell Voice Solutions are bridging the gap between technology and the mobile worker

Designer: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

Voxware: How voice automation and analytics deliver a seamless holiday shopping experience Persistence Market Research: Voice-directed warehousing solutions market driven by

Production: Carolyn Pither

automation in systems EPS – Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions: How voice is revolutionising automobile logistics

Circulation: Carole Chiesa

Renovotec: Plain speaking Zetes: In the warehouse efficiency fast lane

IT Manager: Ian Curtis

AccuSpeechMobile: Voice for picking & more at NBG Home Mountain Leverage: The only constant is change

Accounts: Sarah Schofield Published by: B2B Publishing Ltd PO Box 3575, Barnet, Herts, EN5 9QD UK

Warehouse Management 36

Tatvasoft: A few hacks to increase warehouse distribution efficiency inotec UK delivers warehouse solutions project for high-end appliance

Tel: +44(0)208 440 0372 Email (publishing): info@logisticsit.com Email (editorial): editor@ibcpub.com Printed by: First Sight Graphics Ltd, www.firstsightgraphics.com

manufacturer WMS

Manufacturing 42

Forrester Consulting: 50% of businesses are looking to expand mainframe capabilities in AI, Blockchain and more Frost & Sullivan: Higher levels of automation expand revenue potential for analytical instrumentation manufacturers

Automatic Identification & Data Capture/Mobile Computing

ISSN:1463-1172

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Juniper Research: Low power IoT service revenues to exceed $2.6 billion by 2024, as operators seek new revenue streams

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’s or supplier’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.

4

Jungheinrich UK: Automation – future-proofing your business with a WMS

October 2019

Gartner: AI augmentation to create $2.9 trillion of business value in 2021


MLIT Special Profile Oct'18 p5-6.qxp_ MLIT33 PageSc 11/10/2019 14:33 Page 5

Critical Issues

Treading the right path towards digital transformation By Duncan McFarlane, Professor in Industrial Information Engineering at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge.

I

t is a challenging time for UK manufacturing – questions about productivity, the uncertainty of a possible EU departure and some recent drops in manufacturing outputs. One of the great hopes is that a revolution of digital technologies will provide a much needed spirt to the industry and the UK Government's Made Smarter initiative has certainly provided a kick start. But how do you systematically apply digital technologies to address the challenges of UK manufacturing companies – both large and small?

Budget and knowhow At a recent roundtable discussion – Is UK manufacturing ready to harness the power of new IoT technologies? – staged in London, I made the point that there are two key issues around digital technology to bear in mind – one is having the budget to invest in these types of technologies and the other is having the IT knowhow within your company or

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partner network to use and maintain it. Over the past few years, it has mainly been the larger companies that have adopted a variety of digital solutions. These firms are more likely to have the money and skills available for this process than smaller (SME-level) companies. That said, many enterprise-level organisations are now becoming increasingly pragmatic when it comes to digital transformation. Whereas a couple of years ago they tended to embrace digitalisation more vehemently, now it is more a case of focusing on which aspects of the available technologies can provide the best benefits. For example, many of the larger companies will only consider deploying artificial intelligence (AI) technology if it fits around a solid business case for a specific solution.

Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring In terms of SMEs and their adoption of digital technologies, I recently introduced a

Professor Duncan McFarlane: “There has never been a more urgent need for manufacturers to invest in digital technologies and ensure the workforce has the skills to use them.”

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Critical Issues

programme called Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring, which specifically looks at small to medium-sized companies’ requirements around digitalisation. In general, SMEs are slower on the uptake of new digital technologies and, as mentioned, part of that could relate to the financial outlay required. Therefore, the Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring programme looks at helping these companies to identify the simplest ‘first cab off the rank’ digital solutions they could develop within their operations; finding a lowcost pathway for deployment. I've been positively surprised by the level of enthusiasm for that approach. It is very much a case of one step at a time because many companies don't want to feel as if they are about to embark on an endless journey to become digital; they need to do it one step at a time and get measurable value from each step.

The real value of Industrial IoT A point worth making about Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) capabilities; sensors have been used in factories for measuring processes for many years. This isn’t something new. So, where IIoT comes in is really around those aspects of a manufacturer’s operations that are not currently being measured as effectively as they could be; things such as product movements, tool locations and people associated with the workplace or beyond the workplace. I think this is an area where IIoT will start to become really important and largely differentiated from the way companies currently do sensing today; i.e. largely for data gathering data about the performance of their processes.

ease the pain; for example, voice inputs. If people could create a computer program just by talking to, say, Alexa and somewhere in the background computer code could be created that could make the life of an industrial developer much easier. If people could talk to a machine tool using their natural language rather than having to key-in large amounts of code it becomes much easier to embrace new technology. In addition to developments around voice there are also major innovations taking place in other areas; vision systems, for example. So, encouragingly, the vendor community is really starting to focus more on easing the interface between people and new technologies.

Harnessing existing skillsets An important point to make is that the next generation of people working in manufacturing will have grown up with smartphones, tablets, Xbox controllers and GoPro cameras, and these types of digital devices could equally be used to great effect in the manufacturing domain. So, the question solution vendors should increasingly ask themselves is, how can we make our products more compatible with the capabilities of the people that manufacturers want to have using them rather than expecting people to have to retrain to understand how to use the technology?

The right solution for the problem Of course, manufacturers don’t just want to adopt technologies such as AI, machine learning, block chain, digital twins and 5G etc for the sake of it – what they really want is better solutions to improve their business and operational activities. Rather than thinking they need a particular technology what they should really ask themselves is, how can we address challenges for our business: e.g. be better at identifying quality problems, find better ways to manage schedule disruptions, share data more securely with suppliers or find a more efficient way of predicting the performance of a product when it's out in use. These are the types of things that challenge the business, so it’s more important to think of the best solutions for each need and then choose the technologies that deliver that solution rather than just deploy technology in order to keep ahead of the digital transformation curve. The content of this article comprises some of the points addressed by Professor Duncan McFarlane at a recent roundtable event in London. The event, titled ʻIs UK manufacturing ready to harness the power of new IoT technologies?ʼ, was organised by Epicor Software UK. n

Improving the interface Another key barrier to digital deployment could be skills-related, with companies not having the right knowledge base to be able to access digital system. We see this barrier being addressed in part by the so-called naturalisation of technology. Historically, many new technologies have been quite hard for people to really embrace in the manufacturing workplace. The good news is there is a new generation of interfaces being introduced to

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

Special Technology Report

Boxing clever Manufacturing & Logistics IT spoke to a number of experts from the vendor and analyst communities about current and possible future trends and areas of development within the world of warehouse management systems and voice-directed picking solutions – including those related to automation, augmented reality and the digitisation of warehouse processes.

M

any warehouse or distribution

other supply chain owners to overcome the

free operation. The

centres today need to be more

barriers of legacy systems and connect to any

continued trends

agile than ever before. This is in

ERPs, CRMs and marketplaces,” says

toward increased

no small part due to the

Vidyasekar. “In today's omnichannel scenario, the

automation in

continuing rise of omnichannel,

ability to talk to other systems is extremely

distribution centres is

balancing online orders – often single orders to

important. For instance, imagine a scenario

driving emphasis on

ship to single consumers – with bulk orders to

where a customer orders online but chooses to

integrated warehouse

store. In order to make their daily routines as

pick up from the store but then decides to return

control that provide

efficient as possible many solutions vendors are

it and opts for ‘collect from home’. This means a

the ability to

rising to the challenge to meet these more

logistics company will have to pick up the

coordinate activities

dynamic picking and replenishment

product from the customers home. This type of

among traditional

requirements. In this report we will look at the

fulfilment involves three disparate systems (online

handheld and voice

current state of play regarding warehouse

marketplace, store and the logistics company)

picking and varying

management systems as well as other

and without the cloud APIs enabling real-time

types of automated

complementary solutions that can all contribute to

communication, it would be time consuming to

material handling equipment including goods-to-

greater time, cost and accuracy in the warehouse

co-ordinate the job orders between all three.”

person, robotics and conveyance/sortation

or DC. One of the most important areas of

Archana Vidyasekar, research director, Visionary Innovation Group,

systems. DC management requires an integrated

technology in this regard is voice-directed

Robert Hood, principal, Capgemini, comments

view of all in-process activities across these areas

picking systems. We also consider what might be

that hands-free devices for order picking are

to identify any bottlenecks or staffing imbalances

on its way to the mainstream in the near future.

becoming increasingly important due to the

that need to be addressed.”

increasing requirements for each-picking to So, to begin, Archana Vidyasekar, research

support direct-to-consumer fulfilment.

director – Visionary Innovation, Frost & Sullivan,

“Distribution centres that historically may have

Mature market

makes the point that warehouses have seen a lot

been required to fulfil in pallets, layers or cases

In the view of Simon Tunstall, senior principal

of innovation over the past decade, from robots

are now being required to support each picking

analyst, Gartner, one thing to bear in mind is

picking assistants to drone inspections. She adds

and parcel shipping as consumer demand is

WMS is a very mature market so most

that the software-based management systems

driving CPG companies to begin accepting

established vendors will have the core

have also seen a fair amount of improvements

direct-to-consumer orders,” he says. “Voice

capabilities; receiving, inspection, put-away,

with cloud being the major driver for change.

picking solutions are superior to the use of

some form of cross-docking, pick/pack/ship,

“Cloud-based WMSs have allowed retailers and

handheld devices as they provide a truly hands-

cycle counting etc. Where he sees differentiation,

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

however, is in the

level of automation companies have within their

warehouses take on different shapes and sizes

depths of those core

operations.”

such as the multi-tier warehouses where there are

capabilities. “For

more limited constraints from a footprint

example, some

According to Tunstall, one of the biggest impacts

standpoint,” he says. “So, instead of building out

vendors might only

on the warehouse and logistics environment is

you build up. The trend of the mega warehouse –

have a handful of

the growing move to individual parcel delivery to

500 or 1 million sq ft plus operations – while

picking scenarios

single consumers as well as bulk delivery to

certainly not the norm are become more

while others might

stores. “Because of this trend, there has naturally

customary.

have more than a

been a growing move towards single item

dozen different types

picking alongside the big batch picking,” he

of picking scenarios,”

says. “The more people buy online the more

The labour question

he says. “Most if not all

single items need to be picked. That has had a

Krebs comments that picking is still a very labour-

will say they do cross-

huge impact on the warehouse environment and

intensive workflow in the warehouse or DC, so he

docking, but there are some very complex forms

the way they have to manage more complex

believes the efficient allocation or application of

of cross-docking which not all vendors will offer.

picks. It also has an impact on the type of layout

labour is very important. “Labour onboarding and

The types of functionality I have cited above has

of the warehouse. Moreover, it has had an impact

labour training in the context of all these pressure

been considered as core for some time, but it's

on cycle times. Turnaround time in a warehouse

points is something that can often be overlooked

the depth that differentiates the different

operation is now much more demanding from this

or at least be viewed as something secondary,”

solutions.”

direct perspective. Therefore, WMS vendors are

he says. “So, in terms of the tools used by

having to adapt in a number of ways.”

workers, those that are the most intuitive and

Simon Tunstall, senior principal analyst,

Tunstall adds that there is also what Gartner

easiest to learn or fastest to get up and running

refers to as extended WMS capabilities that

Tunstall adds that there is a trend towards greater

are the ones that tend to do best in the market.

extend into things such as value-added

synergy between WMS and warehouse execution

There's still a lot of old technology in the

services. “We are seeing some major growth

systems (WES) with the aim of facilitating more

warehouse and some warehouse decision-

here and in other areas of extended WMS

waveless picking. “This is sometimes referred to

makers can be a little bit on the risk averse side,

because many retailers and industrial users are

as order streaming where rather than manage

but they should really take a closer look at some

now looking for things such as task

big chunks of waves to optimise the picks this

of today’s solutions in order to improve

interleaving, labour optimisation and yard

can now be more dynamically managed almost

efficiencies.”

management for their more complex

in real-time; adapting to the peaks in demand

environments,” he explains. “Although there

flow that are changing during the shift,” he

In the case of voice technology, Bryan Ball, VP &

are solutions that provide yard management

explains. “The goal is to better square the circle

group director – global supply management

functionality independently, many WMS

of managing wave picking and waveless picking

practices, Aberdeen Group, believes it’s really a

vendors have begun to concentrate more on

alongside each other.”

case of focusing on any way companies can

this area now.”

improve their warehouse operations. “In other David Krebs, executive vice president, VDC

words, don’t necessarily make everything voice,

Research, reflects that the pressures on

or scan or keypad; the best solution or mix of

The rise of automation

warehousing operations are not abating, so the

solutions really depends on what a particular

Another increasingly common theme is

need for greater time, cost and accuracy

worker is doing,” he says. “Voice may be the best

automation. Tunstall explains that Gartner takes

efficiencies around both item-level, direct-to-

depending on the situation, but the key point to

around 1000 enquiries each year related to

consumer fulfilment in the warehouse or DC as

make is the technology needs to be as simple

WMS and a growing number of these enquiries

well as around the more tradition bulk order to

and effective as possible so the worker doesn’t

are on the automation topic. “We have seen a

retail is considerable. “We all hear about supply

need to do anything

growth of interest in what we call the traditional

chain and warehouse automation as being a

differently to what they

bolted-to-the-floor forms of conveyors and

distinguishing or differentiating feature amongst

are used to doing. It

sortation, but there has also been a growth of

leaders in the industry and I would agree with

could simply be the

interest in more flexible types of automation

that,” he says. “Those who are good at that

case that they need to

such as mobile robots what we used to call

function certainly do better than their peers, so I

hear an audible

smart AGVs,” he explains. “There has been a

think this is an area of competitive differentiation

indication to inform

huge growth in the number of vendors offering

in terms of the warehouse itself.”

them they have

these types of solutions and the challenge for

completed a picking

WMS vendors now is shaping their offerings to

Krebs believes optimisation has been something

task.” Ball adds that

the types of demands that customers have

of a challenge especially as companies try to get

augmented reality

around automation. Within Gartner’s 10

closer and closer to the customer. “Customers

(AR) could be

dimensions of complexity one dimension is the

are more and more in urban areas so we see

something that proves

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David Krebs, executive vice president,

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

Bryan Ball, vice president, principal analyst supply chain management,

Special Technology Report

to be of benefit from

packing than you do robotic activity. Then, the

Eric Carter, solutions architect, Indigo Software,

an efficiency and

real benefit is to keep the people out on the floor

observes that end users are focused on

accuracy perspective.

picking orders either in a consolidated wave

developments that enable them to fulfil e-

“We now see a lot of

picking process or picking orders and staging as

commerce orders more quickly, such as batch,

headsets with this type

well. So, if voice fits this type of model well then it

pick and sort functionality. In addition, he makes

of functionality built in

can prove to be of great value – freeing up

the point that many manufacturers are reliant on

where the user can

pickers’ hands, freeing up the activity, increasing

short-term, low-cost labour, which is an issue

see everything and

volume and reducing picking errors. Of course,

because the ready supply of this is disappearing

can then respond

any related picking technology, such as barcode

and there is a skills shortage.

using voice,” he says.

scanning, is also going to be beneficial in reduce

“Maybe this type of

mistakes on the shop floor, but in general these

In the warehouse, Carter is seeing many

technology isn’t yet

types of mobile devices can really provide

companies embrace voice technology as part of

ready for prime time,

pickers with the ability to keep going without

an overall integrated warehouse management

but it could prove very

necessarily having to return to a home-base for

solution, delivering efficiency gains and a lower

new instructions.”

entry price point than in the past. “During the past

useful for certain applications in the warehouse or DC.”

year, a number of organisations we have engaged with were seeking voice solutions

In Ball’s view, a key driver for change in the

Advanced functionality

because they have the potential to reduce labour

warehouse is the greater need for dynamic

In terms of WMS trends, Devault observes that

costs by 20% when compared to a simple paper

scheduling in many cases. “Whereas historically

companies such as Manhattan Associates and

only pick process,” he explains.

companies have picked in waves, blocks or

JDA are offering more advanced warehouse

groups of products, in the omnichannel world

functionality – supply chain management,

In terms of technological drivers for change,

they also need to handle things such like parcels

forecasting and demand planning and so on.

Carter makes the point that end user

that need to be delivered directly to individual

“Those type of tools are being implemented more

expectations for rapid delivery at low cost have

consumers on the same day or by the next day,”

from an operational standpoint because they are

gone through the roof and this is an expensive

he explains. “So, these parcels need to be

lower risk and offer a higher rate of return,” he

service to offer. “Companies are looking for ways

scheduled in the warehouse within the context of

says. “If a modern WMS has a good stable back

to recoup order fulfilment costs because in the

everything else. Much of this relates to having the

end and the order management functionality is

majority of cases, they are not able to ask the

right picking sequences in place. If you have a

good then it can really help to optimise a

customer to pay,” he says. “Identifying micro-

worker that’s going to be in the right part of the

company’s supply chain. Then, as the supply

savings by clever use of technology is one

warehouse at the right time to pick up a single

chain is improved companies can better re-

solution and it starts with a WMS.”

item, then you need to know that in order to make

organise warehouses to fit that new

the picking scheduling quicker and more

methodology.”

effective. So, the right mobile device or mix of

Steve Richmond, director of logistics systems, Jungheinrich UK, reflects that different industries

devices need to be able to handle these types of

In terms of some of the key drivers for change

will vary. However, the digitisation of warehouse

exceptions as well as the bulk orders.”

within the WMS and transportation space, Devault

processes remains a top priority for the majority

believes this can start at the front end with the

of organisations, not only to help optimise

Chris Devault, head of software selection,

requirement to optimise the picking and packing

process KPIs but to enhance connections

Panorama Consulting Solutions, explains that the

for the trucks. “We are certainly seeing more of a

between production systems and the WMS, as

clients Panorama works with range from $25

focus on drivetime and less loading and

well as connecting online shopping systems to

million in revenue up to multi-billion dollars in

unloading, and that transition of dropping off

the warehouse (facilitating same day and next

revenue. “Some of these companies have one

product is becoming more efficient,” he says.

day deliveries).

location and some have global footprints, so the

“We do see less damaged goods, partly due to

use of and need for technology can really vary

better organisation within the truck itself thereby

Richmond also

considerably per location and from company to

ensuring there is less opportunity for goods to fall

observes that

company,” he says. “One area of technology that

or move around and get damaged or have to be

automation is a

is becoming increasingly popular is voice

put back in their right position.” Devault adds that

growing trend –

picking, with many companies currently going

another driver for technological change has been

whether this is the

through the selection process. These types of

the requirement for drivers to have the ability to

integration of fully

solutions are certainly effective and efficient, but

plug into systems directly from their handhelds

automated or semi-

they are not necessarily a good fit for everybody.

and capture customers’ signatures, change and

automated

We see the benefits more in terms of high-

edit invoices and even take payments on the spot

intralogistics models.

volume, more mid-sized products where you still

too. “These types of developments are really

“We are, however,

have people doing more of the picking and

helping to optimise things,” he says.

seeing increased

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Steve Richmond, director of logistics systems,

WMS/Voice-directed picking

demand for hybrid

warehouse management projects. “When

become comfortable with the big perpetual

systems, using a

integrating a WMS, it’s critical that it has the

licence deal. Moving to the subscription model

combination of both

capability to easily integrate with an organisation’s

may involve a slower flow of money, but

manual and

existing software and hardware (e.g. trucks) and

subscription costs charged by some vendors is

automated solutions,”

be able to host warehouse management software

considerable and can soon add up. Another

he explains. “For a lot

like SAP EWM,” he says, adding that one of the

point to mention is that there isn’t really a

of industries, the clear

major success factors in warehouse

consistent costing approach to this model in the

focus is improving

management projects today is a smart interface

marketplace, which can confuse users in terms of

warehouse processes

architecture that can connect trucks and material

what they should really be paying for their cloud

by making them more

handling equipment on the ground to the host

WMS. With the cloud solution there may not be a

transparent and

systems of Jungheinrich’s customers.

large chunk of upfront capex to budget for, but

measurable, helping to reduce errors to zero.

cloud subscription deals can add up very Carter makes the point that companies are now

quickly.”

The use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI)

buying best-of-breed point solutions with exactly

are also being integrated to provide extensive

the functionality they need and integrating them,

Hood comments that the traditional objections to

reporting capabilities and continuous

rather than trying to compromise with a single

cloud computing, such as security and

optimisation. For Jungheinrich, the functionalities

solution that tries to cover off everything but has

performance, have largely been quieted. “Those

of a WMS, the user experience and how

many limitations. “As a rule, modern systems are

implementing cloud-native solutions are

interfaces are able to link numerous and existing

very easy to integrate now and the capability to

beginning to realise that along with the great

system environments together are key. These

get data into and out of a software system is built

benefits afforded with cloud computing there are

offer operators more robust processes, quicker

into an application right from the beginning,” he

also some new challenges they face,” he says.

learning times and greater flexibility within a

says. “In the past, working with legacy ERP

“The periodic releases from the solution providers

system’s dashboard.”

systems would have been much more difficult,

(often quarterly) require a ‘dev ops’ approach to

because they lacked open integration protocols.

managing the WMS solutions including a level of

In terms of drivers for change, Richmond makes

Indigo uses an XML interface, based on the

continuous regression testing. The near-

the point that, from a customer standpoint, there

industry standard SOA protocol, with all

prohibition against customisation of those

has been growing demand for more flexibility in

implementations to ensure data is live, available

solutions also frustrates some clients who have

production with batch sizes reducing to the

in real-time and visible across the business. Our

grown accustomed to modifying their on-premise

ultimate customisation of ‘batch size one’. “Within

open integration server and flexible mapping

solutions as they desired. The cloud solutions do

distribution channels, it is the changes in

capabilities are compatible with Oracle, SAP,

offer extensive APIs that support extension of the

consumer behaviour and the impact of next and

Microsoft, Infor, Sage or any other TMS, ERP or

solutions but some of the historic expectations

same day delivery options from e-commerce,” he

SCM system, allowing customers to get exactly

are presenting challenges. Finally, the cloud

says, adding that across Europe the availability of

what they need. Whether existing systems are

solutions generally are much more constrained in

warehouse personnel and expensive labour costs

running on IBM, Windows, Linux, are cloud-

terms of directly accessing the data layer which

have led to pressure on organisations to optimise

based or on premise, Indigo’s open integration

is another frustration for clients moving from on-

current warehouse infrastructure and processes.

server seamlessly connects in real time across

premise solutions where technical resources on

“For vendors, Big Data and AI technology are

any platform.”

their teams were able to directly access the WMS

increasingly available for warehouse

database to do mass updates, etc.”

management systems and the use of these technologies is rising,” he points out. “The need

Cloud developments

Richmond recognises that there has been an

for improved user interfaces and the use of

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and

impact, but believes this has so far not been

mobile devices has brought pressure for greater

the cloud concept in general had any notable

extensive, though

usability and functionalities of warehouse

level of impact on the WMS software solutions

different industries do

management systems. Current developments

market so far? Tunstall considers that although

vary. “My personal

with automation and smarter/digitised warehouse

the WMS marketplace was one of the latecomers

opinion is that in the

equipment are also placing new demands on a

into the world of cloud, it is certainly becoming

future, and we are

WMS.”

more firmly established now as a cloud solution,

talking some years

with many security concerns now allayed. He

from now, all business

adds: “With regard to the benefits of WMS as an

processes (particularly

Joining the dots

on-premise or cloud solution, there are still some

at a WMS level) will

Have ways of best integrating WMS with other

barriers to cloud; one of them revolving around

connect and run on

systems developed to any notable degree over

pricing. Pricing models can be confusing and

cloud infrastructures,”

the past year or two? Richmond stresses that

sometimes costly when you look at the whole total

he says. “I believe this

integration and interfacing are major topics in

cost. Some vendors’ sales departments have

will be the case for

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Robert Hood, principal,

Special Technology Report

time-critical

Devault believes artificial intelligence will

infrastructures in

continue to come into play within the

Going ‘off-script’

intralogistics (such as

warehousing environment. “We are witnessing

Vidyasekar believes the next driver for change

Material Flow

greater levels of AI being integrated with

will be artificial intelligence. “The work that Hitachi

Computing and

workflow automation, and we're really seeing

is doing with its AI-run warehouses is quite

Warehouse Control

some benefits here,” he says. “Some companies

fascinating,” she says. “The warehouse

Systems). SaaS is a

might only use AI to kick something off, but then

management software continuously analyses how

topic for special use

by using workflow technology and behind-the-

employees perform different jobs, and if an

cases, and a SaaS-

scenes process automation this can take care of

employee uses a more efficient way to do the job,

based invoicing model

many of the warehousing processes.”

the system would analyse it and use it later on.

can bring substantial advantages to some

Like so, by not relying on pre-programmed Ball anticipates the wider use of drones in the

instructions, Hitachi claims that its WMS ‘can go

industries with short, or middle termed

warehouse for tasks such as more dynamic

off-script’ adapting to real-time changes.”

warehousing contracts. Since the average usage

picking in scheduling, or even for helping to

time of a WMS is currently still under 15 years,

improve the layout of the warehouse. “You

Richmond observes two main drivers at the

from our experience, we don’t think SaaS models

could call it having an ‘eye in the sky’,” he

moment, which he believes will influence WMS

are suitable for longer termed contracts.”

says. “It’s the same as most other types of

software packages over the next few years. “First,

technology; you need to make it pretty bullet-

the development of material handling equipment,

Carter believes SaaS has made inroads but

proof from a functionality and security point of

automation, smarter assistance systems within

makes the point that, interestingly, some of

view and get past any other start-up issues that

the forklift truck world, as well as automated

the original SaaS solution vendors have now

might arise, but once you get through that I

equipment like AGVs and AS/RS systems will be

started offering on-premise options. “Why is

think the fundamentals of the technology are

key drivers in the evolution of the software,” he

that? It demonstrates that aside from all the

pretty sound. I think that kind of drone

says. “Integration will become more prevalent

hype, WMS customers still prefer to have their

deployment is going to be one of the next big

and systems will become smarter, with the ability

software running on their own infrastructure

innovations in the warehouse. It’s still in the

to answer more complicated questions. This will

where they can manage it themselves, if that

early stages, but drones are even being used

not be about the obvious things like reducing

is a possible option,” he says. Carter also

in some stores now for tasks such as

speed of the AS/RS equipment when there is a

maintains that some companies remain

monitoring customers or workers.”

low demand of orders in the system. It is more

concerned about security, privacy and

like the questions of ‘what will be the right lithium-

availability. “A WMS is a mission-critical

Krebs thinks one big question people have is,

ion charging strategy for the truck fleet, based on

system, If email goes down companies can

‘when are we going to get to actual lights out

the current picking demand in the warehouse?’

use other methods of communicating, but if

warehousing or lights out manufacturing with

Or ‘what kind of strategy will be used based on

the WMS goes down the whole warehouse

full automation and with zero human

today’s picking requirements?’”

grinds to a halt – they can’t afford issues like

requirement for labour’? “We do see increasing

that. We are only seeing about 10% of

elements of certain automation workflows

Secondly, Richmond cites the development of IoT

prospects asking for a cloud-based system,

especially as the cost of labour increases,” he

and Cloud infrastructure, believing they will

on premise is still the focus.”

says. “As we are looking at increasing hourly

influence the way IT systems run in intralogistics.

wages the attractiveness of displacing some of

“We will see the process world (at the WMS level)

that labour with automation is only going to

in the cloud, and the Material Flow Computer

What to look forward to

increase, so certain workflows that may have

(MFC) world still on-premise mid-term. In the next

What might be the next

been manual in the past – such as unloading a

one or two years my prediction is that we will see

innovations/developments to look out for in

trailer – could become increasingly automated.

the one or other development of ‘cloud ready’

the world of WMS software over the next year

That x-factor in the warehouse with regard to

solutions, which can connect to the cloud and

or two? Hood considers that we will see more

automation has certainly been item-based

communicate with host systems in the cloud, with

innovation around Warehouse Control

picking. In that area we have seen

some systems probably in a private cloud

Systems (WCS) and Warehouse Execution

collaborative robotics introduced where you

infrastructure.”

Systems (WES) to assist with managing the

still have an individual doing the picking but

complex DC environments where use of

with a collaborative robot working on some of

Carter explains one area Indigo Software is very

various types of automation will continue to

the additional functions of that workflow. In

interested in exploring is the use of drones for

expand. “We’ll likely see more of a blurring of

terms of putting in place a fully automated

stock counting and perpetual inventory checks.

lines between planning & execution in

picking workflow we’re not there yet, partly due

“This can be done at night if the warehouse is

distribution enabled by, among other things,

to accuracy issues. I don't think even two years

closed, or during the day and it allows ongoing

advanced Supply Chain Visibility solutions

is enough of a horizon but that certainly is

spot checking using a special type of drone that

such as control towers,” he adds.

something we are seeing more and more of.”

reads pallet labels,” he says.

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

Keith Phillips,

complement the mobile workforce – for example,

president and CEO,

Blockchain

pairing robotics with voice technology to help

Voxware, Inc.,

Phillips highlights a move towards blockchain.

eliminate travel time. With these changes among

continues to see the

“We all know there's plenty of data out there and

many other business pressures, supply chains

push for automation

we offer a very robust analytics solution to

are facing a wave of technology innovations to

throughout the

manipulate and leverage that data,” he says.

drive operational changes. This includes the

entire distribution

“What’s important is the integrity of the data and

concurrent use of multiple technologies to meet

centre, not just for

the usability of that data, which is where

business requirements. Selecting adaptable

picking. “For

blockchain comes in. Then companies need to

technologies that can grow alongside their

Voxware, it’s about

understand how to leverage that data to drive

business and pairing it with another solution like

the multimodality of

their operation. The impact that it's having from a

voice technology can contribute to the creation

the solution and

practical perspective is it allows senior level

of best-in-class processes and workflows.

providing our customers with the right

people in a distribution operation, for the first

Ultimately, each business situation has common

technology to complete their specific

time, they have a need to, and quite frankly will

and unique requirements and Voice can deliver

tasks,” he says. “It’s important for our

not be competitive if they don't do it, to look at

satisfaction to many situations.”

customers to have options so they are able

data, and figure out how to move product

to leverage the appropriate technology to

through their entire supply chain.”

Keith Phillips, president and CEO,

Robert Van Vliet, country manager, Zetes,

do their job. Beyond that, companies need

reflects that for several years a key talking point

to layer in analytics. People are learning

Darrel Williams, sales director Europe, Honeywell

is ease of use. “Staff turnover is very high, which

that just automating with a multimodal

Voice Solutions, considers that the awareness of

means you don’t want to waste 30/40 minutes

solution is only part of the puzzle. Once you

the technology of voice is commonplace, no

per user on training,” he explains. “This means

automate, you need to actively manage it

more so than in mission-critical business

that an ‘untrained’ system is becoming the

effectively to get the maximum output out of

applications. “The consumerisation of voice in

standard. Zetes launched the untrained system

the workforce.”

everyday life has led to at least a basic

10 years ago.”

understanding of the what’s possible,” he says. Phillips points to a few things that have

Williams adds that since the last Manufacturing &

The second main topic highlighted by Van Vliet

driven change. First and foremost, he

Logistics IT special technology report on voice-

is the re-use of devices, especially in the case of

believes it starts with the end consumer.

directed picking solutions, there has been an

smaller warehouses where users need to

“This is regardless of industry – they

explosion of demand – and a mass adoption of

undertake multiple tasks. “You don’t want a

demand a different level of service,” he

voice – in almost every walk of life. “The key

dedicated device for just one process,” he says.

says. “This demand has forced distribution

drivers behind this build on the basic principles

“This means, you buy any Android device and

companies in every sector to rethink how

of ease of usage, flexibility, agility and

install the voice app and you can use this device

they get product to the market. That’s where

empowerment of the worker,” he says. “E-

with voice, barcode, display etc. You create a

it all begins.”

commerce has shifted consumer demands,

true multimodal environment. Finally, you want to

leading to more adoption of technologies

manage the users and devices. This means you

The second issue raised by Phillips is the

including voice. Consumers expect a seamless

need to have a platform that provides all the

ongoing labour shortage. “The shortage is

and flawless online shopping experience.

business data (users performance, achieving

magnified by the strong economy, so you’ve

Anything less than perfect – from a poor

KPIs, voice recognition performance, device

got two opposing forces putting pressure on

customer experience, to cumbersome returns

performance, battery status, etc) which allows

the distribution centre to deliver more

process, to the loss of repeat customers –

the team

throughput,” he says. “What that does to

reflects negatively on the business and is costly.”

leader/manager to

companies like Voxware is that it forces them

make decisions

to make sure companies are leveraging all of

Williams also reflected that the growth of

based on up to date

the different technologies that are available in

urbanisation is changing the distribution pattern

data.”

the space, not just voice, but scanning and

of goods. He adds that companies are also

augmented reality. Companies also have to

increasingly focused on workers and their well-

In Van Vliet’s view, the

figure out how to integrate the human worker

being, which is critical to improving worker

main changes and

into the world of automation and figure out

health, longevity and overall productivity. “At

developments have

which technologies best support the human

Honeywell, we continue to see a deeper and

been driven by

worker to enable them to interface with

more seamless integration of technology

changing the end-

automation and drive the highest level of

throughout the DC and companies should focus

user requirements.

optimisation.”

on the application of that technology to help

“The standard voice

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pick installations are

Tim Just, CEO, EPS (Ehrhardt + Partner

still there, but the

Move to e-commerce

Solutions), currently sees three central

need to optimise more

In terms of what has driven these changes,

development directions, which EPS is already

complex process

Bova considers that the move to e-commerce

implementing in Lydia Voice:

pushed voice

operations is continuing and expanding to a

companies like Zetes

global perspective. “In the retail sector, the

to create an

drive to present a unified experience between

technologies. We have already implemented

environment which is

the online, catalogue and in-store experience

this development in the Release 8 of Lydia

more ‘multimodal’ and

continues to evolve as firms compete on

Voice. The latest generation is based on

not voice only,” he

availability, price, the shopping experience and

neural networks and the deep learning

says, adding that this

customer loyalty,” he says. “For manufacturing

concept. The integration of the AI

is because of the

and wholesalers, this means that goods which

components has improved recognition

omnichannel and the

were channel delivered, are now drop-shipping

security (confidence) by a further 25%

requirement for shorter lead times etc. Van Vliet

directly to the end-consumer. In the distribution

compared to the previous solution. This

explains that Zetes has installed over 250.000

centre this may necessitate multiple shifts

means that even users with pronounced

voice terminals over the past 10 years and

working to fulfil orders, often three shifts

dialects, accents or unclear pronunciation

makes the point that over the past two years

working 24x7. The higher cost of errors requires

can be reliably recognised without voice

there has been a growth in the amount of

improving order accuracy as a competitive

template training. Especially for non-native

installations with a combination of technologies;

necessity. For most organisations, optimising

speakers this is a significant advantage.

voice together with Put to Light. “This means you

what they already own is an ideal scenario.

pick the item by voice and put it on the trolley

Modern device-based voice is the perfect

with a light above the box. Especially when you

complement to layer into their customised

justice to this, for example, with our Lydia

do multi-order pick this speeds up the process.”

workflow processes to see results rapidly.”

Voice Wear order-picking vest, the more

Robert Van Vliet, country manager,

1. “The integration of AI components in speech

2. “More ergonomics in voice processes. We do

ergonomic alternative to the classic headset. Bob Bova, CEO, AccuSpeechMobile, considers

Lance Bennett, technical services director,

The order picking vest is a patented solution

that the ability to extend the useful life of existing

Renovotec, considers that the key talking points

that convinces with its high wearing comfort.

investments, and simultaneously realise

within the industry and among the user

All voice components are already integrated

increased productivity in the near-term,

community include the use of voice on Android

into the vest - for maximum freedom of

continues to be a business imperative. “Modern

devices; speaker-independent voice

movement and satisfied employees. Hands-

voice solutions offer a compelling value

recognition; and multi-mode applications that

free, eyes-free and now also headset-free. The

proposition to meet this need,” he said. “These

mix voice, scanning and screen imagery. “The

Lydia VoiceWear High Vis + is a further

voice solutions are deployed 100% on the

cost of voice solutions is considered by many in

development of our Lydia VoiceWear in the

mobile device, with the OS most suitable to the

supply chain to be too high,” he says, “ though

design of a warning vest. It is certified

business (Android, Windows, iOS), supporting a

that point is less relevant where voice is

according to the European standard EN ISO

multilingual workforce and providing a hands-

deployed in higher value environments – for

20471. The vest is equipped with reflective

free, eyes-free solution for picking as well as

example maintenance and inspection, where it

strips of the highest quality so that employees

many other applications in the DC. Affordability,

is critical to follow and record the results of a

are always clearly visible under any lighting

ease of deployment and the short ROI

set process.”

conditions. This is especially important in

timeframe, effectively bring device-based voice within the reach of firms of all sizes.”

some countries, such as the UK, where the Regarding drivers for change, Bennett

use of warning vests in the warehouse is

comments that the advent of and massive

mandatory.

Bova adds that modern voice-enabled workflows

investment in better speech recognition,

deliver increased flexibility. “The tight labour

worldwide and in multiple markets is a big

market has given rise to a workforce that is more

driver (think Alexa). “Multi-purpose Android

Intelligence. Lydia

fluid, often moving between firms for incremental

devices: if you have a device that one moment

Warehouse

increases in the hourly pay rate,” he points out.

can be used for voice picking and the next for

Intelligence is our

“Voice-based workflows facilitate rapid ramp-up

say load-checking and scanning, then end

solution to cope

for new team members, increase productivity for

users believe they can secure better value from

with the increasing

the existing team, support bilingual workers and

their investment,” he says, adding that he

flood of data in the

smooth the ramp-to-rate for seasonal staff.

doesn’t believe there is much blue sky thinking

warehouse. LWI

Modern voice solutions do not require voice

by the vendors, though that is partly because

continuously

training or the maintenance of voice files for each

voice is a mature technology, at least in the

structures and

individual.”

supply chain.

analyses various

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Lance Bennett, technical services director,

WMS/Voice-directed picking

KPIs and makes them

Another driver of market change in his view has

Phillips makes the point that technology in

available for further

been the big growth in the small-medium e-

general has advanced significantly. “Regardless

evaluations in real

commerce companies who need effective and

of the approach you take to the integration of a

time. LWI informs for

accurate ways of picking small orders for

solution like ours into a host system, whether it's

example. about the

multiple end customers, often with stock that

WMS, or WCS or ERP, it doesn't matter,” he

remaining battery life

varies in size and shape. “Voice works well in

says. “What's important is the integrity of that

on the basis of the

that scenario,” he says. Batchelour adds that

interface and the architecture behind it. Many

collected battery data

end users are now seeing voice as an option,

people will call our software middleware, and it is

(predictive

and in some cases, essential for a wider range of

not. It’s a standalone software application as we

maintenance). This

applications than before. “Lower price point has

execute processes within our software that

allows the customer to

helped voice expand out from picking to other

interface middleware. One of the big changes is

react promptly and

processes such as replenishment, moves,

the ability to take advantage of other

continuously optimise

inventory count, facility and vehicle management

technologies. In our case, we've leveraged

and quality inspections,” he explains.

analytics to be able to bridge the gap between

their processes to get the most out of the voice application. LWI collects also the WIFI

data in multiple places to give warehouse

network data, the duration and number of

management and senior executives complete

requests between client and server as well as

Integration

and total visibility into the entire operation across

the quality of speech recognition.

Have ways of best integrating voice-directed

multiple data sources to be able to drive the

systems with other systems developed to any

highest level of optimisation among the

In terms of drivers for change, Just reflects that

notable degree over the past year or two?

workforce.”

end users expect more usability and ergonomics

Williams maintains that tighter integration is

due to their personal experience. “Personal

critical. “Mobile applications are expected to

Bova comments the trend towards adaptable

assistants like Alexa and SIRI make ‘voice’ more

deliver advanced functionality, commercial

solutions that use off-the-shelf components;

common,” he says. “These leads to higher

advantage and benefits to the user,” he

including consumer-grade devices, continues

customer expectations for enterprise voice

explains. “The step change is that we now

and provides organisations with a range of

systems. The new expectations can only be met

expect a fully featured, easy to use interface

options to support voice-enabled workflows.

with heavy investment in new technology. We

without the safety net of a middleware or bolt-on

“Intelligent automation built on device-level voice

invested more than 15 man-years in developing

specialist system. Many enterprise business

integration brings an entirely new level of

Lydia 8 technology. So, the enhancements in

systems are now achieving on one or two of

workflow support for any warehouse application,

technology can benefit the user, if the voice

these requisites, and those are typically

not just picking,” he says.

provider understands to match both tracks:

functionality focused. However, the user

usability and technology – and we do.”

interface, and the ability to execute in real life

Van Vliet reflects that what we typically see is

(with real people) is often missing from the mix.

that the WMS/ERP systems support the standard

Mark Batchelour, managing director, Voice

Familiar, easy to use, common interfaces

(happy flow) voice pick process. He adds that if

Beyond, comments that the platform shift that

powered by voice deliver this user experience

a customer requires some more complexity due

has been created by the demise of mobile

whilst extracting maximum value from the core

to the different order flows or new regulations

Windows and replaced largely with Android and

application. Honeywell offers approved

(like FMD for pharma, TPD for tobacco) these

iOS devices has opened doors to lower cost of

interfaces with the leading enterprise and

companies don’t have the time and or

ownership in the voice-directed workspace.

warehouse management systems.”

knowledge to follow the need. “When Zetes

“Taking advantage of new, low-cost hardware

started selling voice solutions we were the only

platforms is one part of the equation,” he says,

Batchelour considers that integrating for voice

one with two options, a direct integration with the

“but it needs to be balanced with matching

has always been a case of using the best tool

ERP/WMS and the

software and support to provide an end-to-end

for the job. “Middleware, Direct (native)

middleware solution,”

system that provides high quality at a more

interfaces and Screen To Voice all have their

he says. “Even today,

affordable cost point. The Android switch has

applications,” he says. “One of the challenges in

we support this and

enabled new opportunities from existing

the past was that some companies selling voice

based on the

suppliers, for example the ‘optional training’

only had one tool to rely on and customers

requirements

systems now available, giving the best of both

ended up with the wrong solutions. Now there

(complex or easy) and

worlds in both trained (high accuracy, low

are more choices than ever, and the better

on the available

crosstalk) and untrained (fast start up time for

suppliers can cover all the bases. We have seen

functions in the back

new workers) systems.”

native interfaces for WMSs accelerating with

end we propose to go

Batchelour believes the switch to Android

many smaller WMSs joining the top tier in having

one or the other. Zetes

devices has driven a lot of market change.

an off-the-shelf voice interface.”

is a strong believer of

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open architecture,

modernisation of the existing voice landscape

voice in your warehouse, but don’t have a long

hence 10 years ago

without letting go off crucial functionalities.

and costly implementation.”

we launched our third-

Interfaces are our daily business and we can

generation voice

integrate into any system.”

system which is an

of systems has accelerated over the past two

open platform. You

Mark Batchelour, managing director,

Williams explains the trend towards outsourcing years. “Most of us use cloud-based tools and

can run it on any

Cloud/SaaS

applications in our everyday life, and the

device, so no lock in

Has the Software as a Service (SaaS) model and

business world is no different,” he says. “The

and or expensive

the cloud concept in general had any notable

benefits can be enormous, including a reduction

‘software update

level of impact on the voice-directed systems

in need for expensive infrastructure, costly one-

plans’. The value

market? “Absolutely,” says Phillips. “Since

time development and the potential financial

should come from the

launching our cloud-based Voice Management

benefits. Of course, subscription-based solutions

client/system and this

Suite (VMS) in 2012, we have customers

also carry the benefit of ensuring businesses

because we have a cloud offering that matches

stay current with the latest versions.”

will keep customers, not a contract.”

their cloud strategy,” he explained. “We also Bennett considers that there hasn’t been much

have customers who we were their first cloud

Bennett considers that SaaS has had no major

recent voice-to-other-systems integration

deployment, and now years later they've

impact except where a supplier (such as

progress and adds that many users are still living

migrated the majority of their IT infrastructure into

Renovotec) is willing to invest in the equipment

with older applications. “Voice is often seen as

the cloud. We believe the cloud strategy will

that facilitates easy rental. “We provide a voice

an expensive solution to integrate into smaller-

continue to evolve over time, but we’re probably

solution as a service when and if users want a

scale environments,” he says. “This and the fact

not too far away from it being unacceptable for

subscription model,” he explains. “It is difficult for

that many applications are still closed to easy

companies to not offer their technology in a SaaS

distributors and manufacturers to use business

integration of complementary technologies

basis. Organisations are looking at every aspect

models that depend on subscription because it

results in too many implementations being based

of their business to succeed and flourish. One of

greatly disturbs their cash flow in the short term.

around screen-scraping to voice solutions.”

the biggest advantages of going to the cloud is

So, the voice market is not generally committed

removing the burden from the customer to

to SaaS: but there are exceptions; niche market

Just remarks that EPS relies on flexibility,

having to maintain its own IT infrastructure. They

players such as Renovotec who are very

transparency and cooperation based on

are able to free up their staff to work on more

committed to a voice SaaS model, following their

partnership. “For almost 25 years our approach

important initiatives. There is also arguably no

success in equipment rentals.”

has been an ‘open architecture’,” he explains.

more secure place than the cloud as companies

Bova points out that customers are demanding

“Lydia Voice is easy to connect to an existing

like Amazon and Microsoft have the highest

greater adaptability for their voice

WMS or ERP system. Either by direct integration

levels of security on the planet.”

implementations. “Modern device-based voice

via a Lydia Connector solution, indirectly via one

solutions are agnostic regarding the source

of our numerous standard interfaces or via the

Batchelour doesn’t believe the cloud/SaaS model

application, which might be a commercially

Lydia PickManager. Lydia Voice also differs from

has had a major impact on the voice-directed

available application, an application developed

other language providers in that it is 100%

systems market so far. “There are cases where it

in-house, hosted internally or cloud-based,” he

integrated with SAP. Lydia Voice works like a

is valuable, and it’s not hard to do now if it is

says. “dditionally, a solution that supports agile

microphone to SAP. Because the entire

needed. That said, most customers seem to like

development and staged deployment is

application logic is in SAP, one can continue to

the control and ownership that comes from

preferred, and that avoids a single-point-of-

use all standard functions.”

having something dedicated to them, and the

failure situation. As the WMS, ERP or other

low cost of hosting it themselves is attractive.”

applications typically involve multiple workflows,

Just adds that over the past two years more and

no-longer is it acceptable to voice enable only

more providers of back-end-systems have

Van Vliet points out that through the cloud/SaaS

picking. Customers require a voice solution that

offered open interfaces, often web-based. “We

model vendors can offer Pay as you Go. “In our

can be applied to many of their workflows,

welcome these activities, but also offer a unique

fourth-generation voice system we offer

regardless of where they choose to host their

approach to interfacing with ‘Lydia Co-Exist’,” he

customers the option to Pay as you Go, which

applications.”

says. “Using the Lydia co-exist approach, we

means customers only pay for the voice system

ensure that the Lydia client behaves identically to

for the number of users they had the previous

Just reflects that SaaS and cloud are becoming

another voice system. If there is already a voice

month,” he explains. “The second option is to

more accepted in the voice-directed systems

solution running, Lydia Voice can be

use our ZetesMedea execution system (when

market. “For now, only few of our customers use

implemented in a very short-time parallel to the

your current ERP/WMS system doesn’t support

this option, but we expect this to increase,” he

existing voice application. This allows the

Voice picking) for the execution of the voice

points out. “It provides more potential to fully use

customer to benefit from a cost-effective

orders. This way you can benefit from having

all aspects of voice and to only focus on the

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Special Technology Report

WMS/Voice-directed picking

process as such and not on the infrastructure.

characteristics to support today’s market

an easier integration of software (apps) and

We already provide a Lydia Voice Demo App in

demand.”

hardware.

based solutions (for SMEs) as an alternative to a

Just comments that with Lydia Voice & Vision

Bennett believes the move to Android is having a

comprehensive project. The best model around

EPS has created an intelligent combination of

knock-on effect on voice systems in that it is

an app-based approach is SaaS.”

Pick by Voice and mobile devices such as

pressuring users to reduce costs; but where

tablets, data glasses or smart watches. “This is

voice is the best solution for a particular

the Google Play Store and plan to offer app-

yet another innovative picking system for the

requirement then it is worth the investment in

Mobility

intralogistics of the future,” he says. “Here,

dedicated voice hardware. “However, voice is

Are mobility solutions such as mobile computers

process control is just as intuitive via voice. This

not a suits-all solution in the way the

and tablet PCs having an impact or influence on

significantly reduces the frequency of visual

manufacturers often suggest,” he says. “A

voice systems? “Not really,” believes Van Vliet.

information, which employees mainly have to

mobile computer/tablet is a veritable Swiss army

“A voice system is always real time, which

concentrate on when using a pure vision

knife of technology tools. But to deliver a very

means back-office data is available and

solution. At the same time, however, process

specific task you would not choose a multi-

managers can see progression. The only era we

reliability increases – our customers report up to

purpose Swiss army knife; rather, you would

see benefits is around battery capacity. So, if

20%. The Lydia Smart Assistant displays

select a single, specialist tool that has been

your battery is running low, you change this

process and article information on smart

designed for the task – such as voice. Voice can

when you are close to the battery charger to

watches, tablets and smartphones. This makes it

be an expensive solution, but where it is right for

avoid a long walk back.”

possible, for example, to attach tablets to means

the job the payback should be very quick.”

of transport as an additional source of Williams reflects that compromise no longer

information and make all data available to

Batchelour comments that the addition of

has a place in the modern industrial,

employees at any time. The additional data can

general-purpose Android devices to the market

commercial or business world. “Providing the

then be retrieved as required. In addition to

has enabled some new applications that were a

most appropriate mix of voice, screen and

product details, it is also possible to display the

challenge before for dedicated voice devices.

keyboard choice to the worker to enable them

next work steps or special instructions – and in

For example, complex inspection processes can

to do their job, whilst having the option to

combination with voice control by voice.” Just

now be voice enabled. “We recently built a fruit

interface seamlessly with automated systems,

adds that Android in mobile computing is

and vegetable inspection process that captured

robotics and co-bots deliver the performance

replacing Windows CE. He believes this leads to

quality & rejection/acceptance data in real time

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WMS/Voice-directed picking

Special Technology Report

to the customers supplier portal giving a grower

year or two? Bennett cites non-taught, speaker-

leveraging what they already have deployed,

immediate feedback about their truckload of

independent voice recognition, while Williams

the proven productivity and accuracy benefits

vegetables,” he points out. “Always on 4/5G

considers that augmented and assisted reality

of voice-enabled workflows will be integrated

mobile data has made it possible to perform

is the poster boy of new technology. “We have,

by more organisations both inside and outside

inspection wherever and whenever it is needed.

at Honeywell, had operations systems utilising

the four walls. “There will be continued coupling

This integration in real time with enterprise data

optical aids for several years,” he explains. “Our

with intelligent scanners, ocular devices, and

systems and not ‘just the WMS’ is an ongoing

customers have assessed these systems with

increased adoption of device-based voice on

trend and something that delivers big benefits to

us and have concluded that there is potential in

consumer-grade devices in the warehouse as

a customer both inside and outside the

this area, but the fact remains that all current

well as outside the four walls,” he says. “We’ll

warehouse.”

AR systems are underpinned by voice

see advances in the ability to analyse this new

technology, and our customers continue to

data stream as well as assisting with workforce

Phillips believes customers are looking at the

invest in the broader range of opportunity

allocation. We will also see some firms move

devices from a standpoint of what is most

unlimited voice.” Williams adds that robotics

from the server-based voice model to the

appropriate for their operation, their workers and

and automation are also more prevalent today

device-based model. In addition, firms that

even down to specific tasks. He makes the point

and he sees an increase in uptake in this area.

considered voice automation cost-prohibitive in

that customer are asking the question, ‘Which is

“We have notable examples whereby co-bots

the past will find that they can now embrace the

the best technology and device for this particular

and sortation systems are controlled by voice

technology.”

worker to use to complete their daily tasks?’ “I

today, working in harmony with mobile

think that's a dramatic change from the history of

workers,” he points out.

our market and not all companies in this space

Just comments that within the voice-directed world he is sure that Big Data solutions are

are fully there yet,” he adds. “Devices today

Phillips believes there are two big

getting more and more important to customers.

have significantly more capabilities. Historically,

developments in this space. The first is the

“This is a topic that is most in demand – also

a mobile device for voice was just that, users

continued adoption and evolution of augmented

from the market perspective,” he says. “We are

could only do voice. Today, we’re able to

reality – bringing all the technologies together

working on it and with LWI we already have a

leverage other functionality through the screen

including voice, vision and scanning. The

solution which we continuously equip with new

by issuing instructions, displaying images of a

second as it relates to voice specifically, is the

features and functionalities.” Additionally, Just

product, verify a UPC code and more.”

emergence of natural language model voice

observes that hardware for voice applications is

recognition technology, which holds the

getting smaller but more powerful and with a lot

Bova points out that modern voice solutions

promise of eliminating the necessity to train

of new features.

are designed to work in heterogenous mobile

specific users into the system. “This creates

environments with a variety of form factors,

huge time savings when new employees come

Now that voice training is an option, not a

play well with other peripherals such as

into the organisation, whether that be temporary

requirement, Batchelour believes the next step

scanners, support multiple operating systems

employees during the busy seasons or new,

will be more access to low-cost rugged mobile

such as Android, Windows and iOS, and work

permanent staff members,” he says.

devices. “This will take voice into places and

seamlessly with text based or GUI interfaces.

processes it has not been a good fit before,

“The affordability of mobile devices and the

The innovations Van Vliet is seeing are in

such as inspection and verification,” he says.

growing understanding that hands-free, eyes-

different areas; such as ease of use, making all

On the software side, Batchelour anticipates

free voice-based workflows are an asset to a

users voice assistant, integrating with more than

more analysis and prediction using the data

variety of applications within the four walls, as

1 or 2 technologies (such as put to light and/or

from workers, both current and historical, to

well as outside the four-walls, is growing,” he

RFID) and ease of implementation. “Companies

inform and guide warehouse managers.

says. “Voice-enabled workflows are

don’t want to spend 20 to 30 days on an

appropriate for fleet maintenance and

installation; they want to benefit straightaway,”

Batchelour points out that whereas 15 years

inspection as well as increased productivity

he says. Van Vliet also highlights new

ago voice mainly suited large grocery retailers,

for last mile delivery. In the retail sector, voice

regulations. “Only in 2019 we saw two new

voice is now used widely across industry for

can be leveraged in last mile fulfilment

regulations whereby each unique item need to

many tasks and product types, and now suits

operations as more consumers embrace click

be scanned. If your voice system is not open it

much smaller operations. He concludes:

to connect or BOPUS delivery model.”

will slow down your process as you need to

“While voice has changed massively in some

integrate with other technologies like scanning

ways, it still requires a dedicated and

or image technology to read 50-100 barcodes

knowledgeable design to get the best out of it.

in less than 1 second.”

Using the right tool for the job and supporting

The future What might be the next key

it extensively is the only guarantee of a

innovations/developments to look out for in the

Bova believes as more organisations seek to

world of voice-directed systems over the next

improve productivity in the near-term by

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MLIT Oct'19 Transport p18-19.qxp_MLIT31 pageForcst 11/10/2019 11:33 Page 18

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Opinion

Integration in perfection –

Requirements for the smooth collaboration in SCM networks By TIMOCOM.

N

ew times for the supply chain. The chain of logistical events becomes a permanent flow of data and information. A linking element in the collaborative value-added processes. Welcome to the digital world. Anybody wanting to benefit from the opportunities of digital transformation needs one thing more than anything else: a neutral, company-wide system that simply and securely links the partners involved and their processes in the complex network structures of the supply chain. Customer, manufacturer, supplier, forwarder, warehouse logistics provider, recipient: a number of different parties and their IT systems have to be integrated into supply chains. A neutral system platform that offers flexible options for integration and usage via the interface, web account and mobile devices is needed for this to work. The aim of integration is to convert the previously bidirectional connections into multi-directional communication networks and ensure that the smooth cooperation among the business partners is successful through a workflow without media disruption.

concentration potential can also be recognised more easily and exploited. It is therefore necessary that information is made available at the decisive moment for the operational management of the supply chain. End-to-end supply chain visibility may be needed for this. This not only involves the continuous transparency of the transport process, but also observing certain factors which are dependent on one another and which are of significance for a timely dispatching process.

Real-time information is essential Not only real-time information on the current shipment status is essential for this. Early alarm messages are also important for being able to manage discrepancies from the defined control process proactively. The early availability of relevant and valid information enables the parties in this case to take the necessary precautions or supplement existing information with additional data. Are there

discrepancies from the intended delivery date? Do additional transport capacities need to be created? The logistics provider can only plan and act with foresight if the supply with its numerous events is transparent from start to finish. The possible actions of the various system users and their partners are defined as part of digital workflows and applications for digital order processing. Tendering shipments, managing orders, managing networks, tracking shipments, evaluating delivery performance – all building blocks which companies require to manage their supply chain are ideally to be found in this system environment. These building blocks can be configured to form a customised solution depending on requirements.

System platforms are becoming the hub of digital transformation System platforms are becoming the hub of digital transformation in logistics with their

The visibility of goods flows improves their planning capability The interaction between parties within this system results in a joint, high-quality database. The requirement for this is supply chain visibility: the visibility of goods flows and inventories improves the planning capability and minimises risks. The focus should not only be on the upstream or downstream partner in the supply chain. The more the supply chain can be overlooked, the greater the degree of transparency. And the more reliable operational and strategic management decisions are made. Capacity management with suppliers can be improved, for example, by information being made available at an early stage. Consolidation and

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Opinion

TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

flexible possibilities. Its open infrastructure enables it to integrate countless additional applications and data sources, for example consisting of vehicles, telematics systems, carriers and production machinery.

• Everything is digitised and there are also binding contractual documents in electronic form • All procedures are transparent for the parties involved in the supply chain

In order to ensure that companies exploit the varied and extremely flexible options of this system, certain basic requirements should be met:

One-stop intelligent shopping

• All system applications for order processing must be integrated into the company’s own workflow with a click of the mouse • Interfaces must be created simply and quickly and must integrate the parties involved in the transport chain • All processes should run without a media disruption, which means for example: Orders can be created directly from the system without having to switch to the email programme or send a fax • Applications can be customised with the company’s own logo and other design elements according to the ideas of their users

The options for enhancing the system with further applications and collaboration building blocks are infinite. It is only a question of time before production machinery and store shelves are involved in the system-based communication process as a matter of course: Dear transport logistics providers, who among you has enough time and storage capacities to supply us with much needed products by tomorrow? One-stop intelligent shopping: Digital information that is increasingly driven by artificial intelligence is becoming a source of inspiration for supply chains that implement a highly functional service system.

A good benefit for the environment too Data provides the infrastructure for intelligent supply chains and the cooperation between human and machine in this system. These infrastructures are intelligent if they meet customer requirements and achieve environmental objectives. After all, they are becoming more and more limited. Logistics that avoids unnecessary traffic movements and enables intelligent forms of collaboration in global manufacturing and delivery processes plays a major role in protecting the world from damaging environmental influences. And this role is increasingly intended for you as a service provider for the industry and retail sector. n

Improve your logistics networking at timocom.co.uk

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MLIT Oct'19 Voice p20-35.qxp_IBC publications 11/10/2019 11:33 Page 20

V OICE technology

Opinion

How Honeywell Voice Solutions are bridging the gap between technology and the mobile worker By Darrel Williams, sales director, Europe, Honeywell Voice Solutions.

November 2018). Honeywell has a

between aisles and to the shipping dock.

collaborating relationship with Fetch Robotics to

Another use case can be robotic pick to cart, in

provide distribution centres with autonomous

which, the bot does the moving, and the human

mobile robots to help them more effectively

simultaneously picks and places multiple

fulfill growing e-commerce orders.

orders into totes on the cart. Finally, there are goods-to-person scenarios where the robots

Darrel Williams: “We seek to understand problems from a holistic perspective and how voice can integrate with technologies to improve operations, and the worker experience, to help companies find the best solution to meet the ever-increasing demands of today’s consumer.”

Fetch Robotics offers a range of AMRs that use

deliver goods to and from people that stay in

a combination of LiDAR and 3D cameras –

one place. We believe that warehouse workers

similar to self-driving car technology – to

will be supplemented, not replaced, by robots.

navigate unpredictable warehouse environments safely and accurately. In the

The initiative enables Honeywell Voice to show

event of an obstacle, these robots can adjust

how voice-guided technology and robotics

routes in real time, unlike automated guided

work together in a high-velocity picking

vehicle systems (AGVs), which depend on

environment which is beyond the traditional

preprogrammed, fixed paths. This enables the

way of thinking about Voice. Customers can

AMRs to take on repetitive warehousing tasks

boost labour efficiency by deploying Fetch

he Honeywell Voice business has

T

that may otherwise require significant travel

Robotics’ AMRs, which operate safely

always been about empowering

time between locations and transporting heavy

alongside people to transport items through

the human worker to work more

loads.

distribution centres without human guidance or

efficiently and more productively with the other IT systems in a

fixed paths. Rather than getting one-point AMRs are primarily collaborative robots that

solution from one vendor, we provide the

warehouse, bridging the gap between

support, not replace, people. At Honeywell

holistic solution of combining the technologies.

machines and IT systems and the actual

Voice we have undertaken proof of concepts to

physical work that needs to get done.

call the robot, and to send the robot. We have combined with AMRs in the order picking

Assisted, augmented reality and convergence of voice technologies

We seek to understand problems from a holistic

process, in which the robot follows a person as

Warehouse operations are beginning to

perspective and how voice can integrate with

they case pick, then autonomously navigates

investigate the potential productivity

technologies to improve operations, and the worker experience, to help companies find the best solution to meet the ever-increasing demands of today’s consumer. Let’s take a closer look as some existing and emerging technologies and how they interact with Honeywell Voice.

Next-generation Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) AMRs are transforming warehouse operations, as these truly become more autonomous and intelligent. Gartner estimates that by 2023, over 30% of operational warehouse workers will be supplemented, not replaced, by collaborative robots (Source: Gartner, Predicts 2019: Future of Supply Chain Operations, C. Klappich, Rick Franzosa, Christian Titze, et al., Published 29

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Opinion

V OICE technology

At Honeywell, we see voice and assisted reality, augmented reality as complementary technologies. For example, in the distribution centre, you can use the augmented reality to light up a pick location in the glasses. Voice directs you to the location area and tells you how many to pick. Now, a virtual rendering of the cart can be displayed in the user’s field of vision with where to put items highlighted visually. This enhances productivity and allows for more flexibility, such as being able to dynamically define the cart at the point of use. This will take AR down a more valuable path, which will drive growth in adoption. improvements with technologies like

still in its early stages with many projects

Workflows such as packing can be enhanced

augmented and virtual reality. Gartner

remaining in the prototype stage. Initially,

having one device that supports voice

estimates that by 2023, 20% of warehouse

smartglasses were simply used to replace what

interactions, scanning, and image and video

transactions will be processed via augmented

was currently being done on mobile handhelds

capture. In a packing scenario, voice directives

reality (Source: Gartner, Predicts 2019: Future

and, in some cases, added some voice

using smart glasses could be combined with

of Supply Chain Operations, C. Klappich, Rick

technology. Task and navigation instructions

image capture with the glasses to take digital

Franzosa, Christian Titze, et al., Published 29

would be given visually or verbally, and then

images that prove a package was packed

November 2018).

user responses would be provided either

correctly and was damage free. n

verbally or through supplemental mobile Augmented reality (AR), using smartglasses, is

technology like ring scanners.


MLIT Oct'19 Voice p20-35.qxp_IBC publications 11/10/2019 11:33 Page 22

V OICE technology

Opinion

How Voice Automation and Analytics Deliver a Seamless Holiday Shopping Experience By Keith Phillips, president and CEO of Voxware, Inc.

very other year, Voxware conducts

E

a holiday shopping and shipping consumer survey. In 2018, we learned that 83% of consumers intended to purchase more gifts in

2018 than they did the previous year. And according to final numbers from the 2019 holiday shopping season, consumers opened their wallets early and often and spent big, totaling more than $701.1B according to NRF (National Retail Federation). That’s great news for retailers! But what does it mean for distribution centers that are responsible for ensuring fulfillment in a timely

processes will struggle to meet demand for

market, that can mean a huge difference in

manner?

fast, on-time, and accurate delivery.

your bottom-line profit.

Fortunately, companies like Voxware empower

Is Hiring More People the Best Answer?

distribution operations to exceed accuracy and

One of the most common ways retailers

efficiency demands across all warehouse

Shopping is Complete. Now It’s Time to Ship to the Consumer

prepare for the holiday shopping onslaught is

functions with Voxware VMS and VoxPilot

While retailers must be thrilled with spending on

by hiring seasonal workers. Historically, this

analytics software.

the rise, they need to be aware of the next

has been an easy solution. However, with a

stage in the customer journey: Shipping. Just

tight labor market, finding skilled workers for

Here are two ways that Voxware helps support

to add a little more pressure to retailers during

seasonal shifts is like trying to find the hottest

retailers and their seasonal hiring dilemmas:

the busy season, 87% of consumers in our

toy for your children. Still, we’ve seen data that

survey reported having higher expectations for

Target, Kohl’s and Macy’s expect to hire in

Reduce Training Time from Weeks to Days

correct and on-time delivery for items

huge numbers. UPS is planning to add

to Hours: DC technologies that are easy to

purchased online during the holiday shopping

100,000 non-permanent positions, while many

scale have one thing in common: they’re also

season than they do any other time during the

other retailers will shift seasonal hiring to

easy to train. While some retailers hire early

year.

transportation and warehousing positions.

with the expectation of spending time training,

Technology Provides an Answer

enables new hires to start working within days.

How do consumers define on-time delivery?

Throwing people at the problem may not work.

With natural language independent voice

Our survey revealed that 48% of consumers

Forward-thinking retailers who have invested in

recognition advancements on the horizon, this

now expect packages to arrive within 2 days

technology solutions have a leg up on their

training could be cut down to just hours.

using standard shipping. Another 31% expect

Voxware Voice Management Solution (VMS)

competition when it comes to evaluating needs

packages in 3-4 days. Only four percent of

for seasonal hires. By choosing scalable

Use A Crystal Ball to see what’s Coming

consumers have the patience to wait a week for

technologies to meet seasonal surges in

Before You Hire: VoxPilot analytics allows

their packages to arrive. Call it the Amazon

demand and by using predictive modeling

hiring managers to pull data on pick rates and

effect if you will, but consumers have spoken.

tools to better understand the impact on overall

combine it with data on sales projections to see

throughput, these companies can dominate the

the likely throughput. To test the outcome of

That’s fast turnaround to fulfill an order to meet

holiday shopping season.

hiring more or fewer item selectors, managers

customer demands for 2-days shipping.

can run models to see whether they will be able

Rather than risk turning away customers with

to meet anticipated demand. In this tight labor

increased shipping rates, smart retailers should

Companies that continue to rely on outdated

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V OICE technology

Opinion

instead implement supply chain technology to reduce their costs of offering fast and free shipping.

Automate, Automate, Automate By replacing outdated processes (yes, some retailers still rely on paper-based methodologies) with voice automation technology, companies can help recoup fulfillment costs by increasing speed and accuracy for all functions in their distribution operations. Traditionally voice technology was implemented at the picking process with fast ROI. However, through the years, Voxware more than three quarters (78%) indicated they

see an efficiency improvement of at least

The Customer Experience Doesn’t End at Checkout – Returns Process Plays a Critical Role

30%, which helps increase fulfillment speed.

Retailers hoping for an easy start to the new year

forums.

Think of it as a cascade of benefits:

should understand that customers expect the

customers who deploy voice technology throughout the distribution process regularly

• When you do Receiving right, it sets up success for Put Away • If you do Put Away right, it sets up greater inventory accuracy at the Picking location • When you get Picking right, it reduces

media, customer review sites, or other public

same high level of service from the returns

Fortunately, companies that want to reduce

process that they expect from the purchasing

incorrect deliveries and improve both inbound

process. In fact, the biennial survey found that

and outbound logistics can turn to trusted

95% of consumers say how well retailers handle

technology partners like Voxware. Voxware

returns influences their decision to order from

empowers distribution operations to exceed

them again.

accuracy and efficiency demands across all

errors and worker interruptions and sets up success for Packing / Loading

would share their negative experiences on social

warehouse functions with its multimodal voice As part of the decision-making process,

automation technology. With consumer demands

consumers expect to have the freedom to

rising daily, the stakes are too high for

customer gets the right package the first

choose how they return products. 88% surveyed

organizations to sit idle. Those who do will be

time, on time, and you win customer loyalty

prefer the option to return products to a physical

tomorrow’s headlines. n

and brand reputation.

store or through a pre-paid shipping method.

• If you get Packing and Loading right, your

Work Smarter, Not Harder

The most obvious way that retailers can reduce

Additionally, companies can also reduce

the number of returns they process is by

costs by implementing analytics into their

shipping the correct item the first time.

distribution operations. Voxware VoxPilot

Unfortunately, our survey found that many

analytics can help retailers reduce shipping

companies still struggle to get the correct item to

costs by pulling real-time data from multiple

a customer on the first or even the second

sources into a single platform. For example,

attempt. 30% of our survey respondents have

armed with a complete picture of the supply

returned an item purchased online due to some

chain, managers can decide to reroute orders

sort of retailer error. Even worse, 40% of

to leave from a distribution center closer to

respondents reported receiving an incorrect item

the customer’s home, thereby reducing

after returning the first incorrect item.

shipping costs. The results of the survey are clear. Smart Companies that continue to rely on outdated

retailers will recognize both a need to reduce

processes will struggle to meet demand for

returns with more accurate outbound distribution

fast, on-time, and accurate delivery. As

operations as well as an opportunity to reduce

consumer-spending levels continue to

the negative impact on both the bottom line and

increase, companies that invest in technology

brand reputation. Not only did one third (37.7%)

to optimize their operations will see benefits

of customers indicate that they expect

during the holidays and beyond.

compensation for late or incorrect deliveries, but

www.logisticsit.com

Shoppers to Retailers: How To Make Our Holidays Happy in 2018 Retailers better be prepared for online shopping orders!

where?

when? 45%

will complete half or more of their online shopping on Black Friday

40%

said more than half of their online shopping will be on Cyber Monday

57%

plan to purchase half or more of their gifts from Amazon.com

how much? intend to purchase more gifts than last year

83%

Consumers expect correct and on-time delivery during the holidays! 87% have higher

72% will abandon the retailer online if package does not arrive within 2 days of promised delivery date

expectations for accurate, on-time deliveries during the holidays than any other time

Meet expectations…

… or lose a customer.

48% expect to receive purchases within 2 days using standard shipping

26% will abandon the retailer altogether if they receive a single incorrect item due to retailer error

Consumers want to be heard! Protect your brand!

78%

Rate youre: experienc

of consumers will share their negative shopping experiences online

Voxware, a leading provider of cloud-based voice and analytic supply chain solutions, polled 500 consumers about their holiday shopping habits and expectations in the biennial Voxware Holiday Survey.

www.voxware.com

info@voxware.com

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V OICE technology

Insight

Voice-directed warehousing solutions market driven by automation in systems ncreased security and real-time business

I

intelligence are among the major factors driving the growth of the voice-directed warehousing solutions market, according to a report on the voice-directed warehousing

solutions market by Persistence Market Research. Moreover, voice-directed warehousing solutions for improvements in the business operations of warehouses and distribution centres is also creating potential growth opportunities for the voice-directed warehousing solutions market. The voice-directed warehousing solutions market is driven by automation in systems. These programmed systems guide the replenishment of stores, order-fulfilment, packing & loading, put-away of goods, and simple to complex order

tracking, logistics & transport, and others. The

throughout their supply chain are also creating

picking workflows. Since these systems allow the

global voice-directed warehousing solutions

potential growth opportunities for the growth of

automation of a wide range of mobile tasks and

market is expected to gain a total incremental

voice-directed warehousing solutions market.

workflows, they help handle exceptions, such as

opportunity of US$ 1,703.3 million during the

the shortage of goods, as well as increase the

forecast period of 2018 to 2026.

High growth

capabilities of voice technology. Due to these

The voice-directed warehousing solutions

factors, the voice-directed warehousing solutions

Moreover, the rapid adoption of voice-directed

markets in South Asia and East Asia are

market is growing at a rapid pace.

warehousing solutions in the retail industry to

estimated to witness high growth with a

reduce training time, increase customer

significant CAGR during the forecast period due

Voice-directed warehousing solutions help

satisfaction, and high return on investment are

to rising digitalisation and the increasing

warehouse holders increase the security of their

among factors that are significantly boosting the

penetration of smart devices in the countries of

staff and improve the handling of orders.

retail industry in the voice-directed warehousing

the region such as India, China, and Japan.

Moreover, voice-directed warehousing solutions

market. Furthermore, the rising adoption of

Moreover, the growing adoption of cutting-edge

provide real-time communication to experts in

voice-directed warehousing solutions in various

technologies is creating significant growth

case of any problems faced in understanding

industries, which include electrical & electronics,

opportunities for the voice-directed warehousing

the system, real-time visibility for throughput, and

food & beverages, e-commerce, and transport &

solutions market. In addition, a continuous

aid in decision-making while fulfilling an order.

logistics to enhance customer satisfaction and

increase in the number of companies providing

Therefore, the need for voice-directed

expand productivity are propelling the growth of

voice-directed warehousing solutions in the

warehousing solutions is increasing rapidly in the

the voice-directed warehousing solutions market.

countries of East and South Asia is expected to

retail sector to achieve high accuracy, efficiency,

positively influence the growth of the voice-

and productivity. These factors are expected to

On the basis of region, Europe and North

directed warehousing solutions market during

boost the voice-directed warehousing solutions

America are among the largest markets in the

the forecast period.

market during the forecast period.

global voice-directed warehousing solutions market owing to the early adoption of advanced

Voice-directed warehousing solutions providers

Substantial opportunity

technologies pertaining to voice-directed

are focusing on providing advanced products as

According to Study, the global voice-directed

warehousing solutions and the presence of

well as on entering into partnerships and

warehousing solutions market report has been

various key players in these regions.

collaborations with augmented reality and virtual

segmented by component, industry, technology

Furthermore, rapid increase in E-commerce

reality solution providers to offer advanced

and region. The industry segment is further

sales and the adoption of voice-directed

voice-directed warehousing solutions. This is

segmented into electrical & electronics, food &

warehousing solutions by various organisations

expected to enable them to reach new growth

beverages, pharmaceutical, e-commerce, retail,

to drive productivity and increase efficiency

markets in the next few years. n

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MLIT Oct'19 Voice p20-35.qxp_IBC publications 11/10/2019 11:34 Page 26

V OICE technology

Opinion

How voice is revolutionising automobile logistics By Tim Just, CEO, EPS (Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions). ust-in-sequence picking, just-in-time

J

time spent on an assembly step and optimising

delivery: The automotive industry is a

the workflow. The principle of just-in-sequence is

high-performance sector with

gaining increasing importance in the high-

correspondingly high requirements –

performance automotive sector in particular. The

also when it comes to intralogistics.

efficiency of the sequencing process, which is

The practical strategy for mastering complex

extremely complex on account of the

tasks within production is to combine automated

multifaceted production and large series, can be

and manual processes. Yet this represents a

boosted considerably with Pick by Voice. The

major challenge in times when qualified experts

reason for this: Pick by Voice has become

are ever harder to find. The required manpower

established as a technology in diverse sectors,

can be used extremely efficiently with voice-

where it reliably provides high-quality results –

controlled applications. In order picking, Pick by

perfect for fulfilling the strict requirements in

Voice solutions are already helping to maximise

automobile logistics. The employee’s potential is

efficiency, safety and ergonomics. Further

utilised to the best possible extent with voice

opportunities are also available in the area of

applications. It has been revealed in practice

quality inspection – though many companies

that voice users significantly accelerate their

modern assembly processes. Increased picking

have not yet tapped into this potential. Voice is a

processes and clearly increase their process

accuracy can be attained here with voice.

pioneering technology, which can accompany

quality.

and support pickers, test inspectors and fitters in

Pick by Voice accompanies pickers step by step through the sequencing process, specifying the

applications have nowhere near been utilised to

High-precision material flow with Pick by Voice

their full extent.

The application options for Pick by Voice in

Being able to pick the right part from thousands

intralogistics processes accompanying

of other parts would not only be much more time

The automotive industry has a high level of

production are diverse: Voice is used in the

consuming but also more prone to error with a

automation in standardised processes. Yet tasks

entire supply chain from delivery through to

paper-based picking list or solely with an MDE

with a high degree of complexity – as frequently

assembly. For instance, voice can assist the

device. However, voice-controlled processes

the case in the multifaceted production

recording of article data with barcode scanners

enable a considerable increase in efficiency as

processes of the automotive industry – call for

at incoming goods. A key application of Pick by

well as process reliability and quality. Another

sophisticated cognitive skills in people. This is

Voice in the automotive sector involves picking in

factor for success is the outstanding

because humans are superior to automated

goods baskets for the assembly line. Voice

ergonomics: Order pickers can keep both hands

systems when it comes to flexibility, the ability to

ideally supports the principle of just-in-sequence.

free, allowing them to handle heavy and bulky

improvise and problem-solving competence.

Larger parts such as tailgates are sequenced

parts such as engine blocks easily. Thanks to

The assembly procedure is confronted with

backwards – the parts required last having been

ergonomic hardware, such as a mobile voice

several challenges: To prevent long goods

loaded first. That means the components to be

computer or an ergonomic voice vest,

retention and resultant warehousing costs, the

used first are located on top, which creates a

employees can focus fully on their core task by

material flow needs to be coordinated optimally

significant time advantage in the assembly. It

following the hands-free/eyes-free concept. The

to the production processes. The individual parts

should be noted that the sequencing processes

higher concentration ensures greater safety at

or assemblies are to be delivered to the

of various products differ and so the voice

the workplace along with significantly improved

assembly line just-in-time, in other words with

solution needs to be correspondingly flexible. All

process quality.

time and quantity precision, which also leads to

the different sequencing options used in a

shorter throughput times.

manufacturing company must be mapped in the

The next higher level of complexity in this

voice software. It is therefore important to

Perspective quality control: more efficient processes with Check by Voice

principle of lean material flow is just-in-sequence.

coordinate closely with the user and take all

The use of voice-controlled processes is not only

This refers to the provision of components in the

individual requirements into consideration.

available to assembly. For instance, voice is set

correct assembly order, thereby minimising the

Sequential delivery is a key component of

to become a significant technology for quality

more and more steps – but whose potential

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picking order and indicating optimised routes.

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MLIT Oct'19 Voice p20-35.qxp_IBC publications 11/10/2019 11:34 Page 27

Opinion

control in future. Check by Voice allows

combination of voice and vision is also

inspectors to focus their attention entirely on the

conceivable in another application: In the

area to be tested, as they are not distracted or

sequencing process, a visual display of the

encumbered by a handheld display or

article to be picked as a supplement to voice

clipboard. Entering information by voice into the

could enable extra performance enhancement

device instead of writing them down means that

and further minimisation in process error rates.

V OICE technology

employees have 100% and not just 50% crucial in deciding whether a car is rejected or

Potential of voice applications in the automotive field

not. The hands-free concept gives inspectors full

Owing to a lack of experts, the number of

haptic control, allowing them to detect paint

workers who are able to carry out vehicle

damage and cracks better on the vehicle.

assembly single-handedly is noticeably

Outside the major production facilities, more and

declining. That means voice-controlled

more workshops are benefiting from this

processes will also play a future role in the

enhanced efficiency. In the area of maintenance

assembly itself. It is conceivable for a fitter to

and safety (for example TÜV), Check by Voice is

install parts in the car directly from the goods

used for quality testing. Test inspectors typically

basket with the aid of precise instructions via a

enter the observed defects by voice while

voice system. Voice could allow you to qualify an

assessing a customer’s vehicle.

employee for automobile assembly within a short

effective inspection time. A time gain that can be

time. This means companies can avoid capacity

Voice is set to become a significant

Check by Voice is a proven technology in quality

bottlenecks despite a lack of expert personnel.

management, which is set to be developed

In future, voice will become established as a

supported by voice. One thing seems certain:

further and optimised in future. Voice is

practical medium in a growing spectrum of

Voice-controlled processes are set to play an

increasingly being combined with vision for

applications. Human-machine interaction will

even greater role in optimising production,

instance – voice remaining the main channel,

become increasingly important. Besides quality

picking and test procedures in future. n

though selectively supported by visualisation. A

control, process control could also typically be

Intuitive and ergonomic Significant increase in efficiency

www.epg.com

Highest flexibility Maximum quality

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V OICE technology

Opinion

Plain Speaking Voice is a powerful technology –but only when it is correctly deployed. Renovotec technical services director Lance Bennett provides some practical advice on Voice systems implementation and optimisation

Once installed a voice system can be used

workflows that have been identified as ideal

for any transaction that is hands-free; for

candidates for voice support, analysing and

example in the warehouse a voice terminal

optimising them in readiness for voice

can be used to manage forklift-enabled,

systems implementation.

hands-free pallet movements, freeing up space in the cab and obviating the need for

We frequently recommend running a voice

drivers to look at in-cab computers.

systems trial to ‘prove the benefits’.

But while voice has many uses its

As voice is sometimes accompanied by

technology is not ideal for large data

major changes in working practices it is best

collection or non-numeric data handling.

to avoid a ‘big bang’ approach in favour of

Care should be taken to understand what

(say) team-by-team voice adoption. This

your voice inputs are to ensure they don’t

enables staff to participate in identifying any

slow down the process.

minor adoption difficulties and help address them – all of which eases the transition from

V

Be prepared

old to new, and the introduction of improved

oice is not a panacea, but

Getting the best out of a voice system

methods.

where it is the right solution for

requires careful preparation. After all this is

the job it can produce dramatic

no common or garden scanning system;

There are basically three ways to install a voice

improvements in performance

voice is far more sophisticated. Voice

system. One approach is to implement a point

and accuracy. Increases in

systems are complex solutions that can

solution onto the client company’s WMS,

worker productivity of up to 35% and a

easily fail if badly implemented. A

usually via a direct connector to the warehouse

reduction in picking errors to near-zero are

consultative approach is essential, in which

management system. Beware however that

common, with rapid payback as a result.

the supplier and their client focus on the

direct connection can result in a more rigid

Where is a voice solution best deployed? Simply put, wherever its users benefit from working hands-free. A good example is high volume, small item picking (for example in an Internet sales fulfilment operation) where a voice-driven, hands-free system can deliver a significant increase in performance with optimum accuracy, reducing costly processing time. Voice is also beneficial in lower volume environments where accuracy is essential such as the maintenance and inspection of high value assets (think aircraft, industrial plant equipment) and for complex component picking such as automotive assembly kits where there can be no room for error.

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Opinion

V OICE technology

Middleware - the third option for voice

Voice has an exciting future, not only for the

implementation – requires data integration

consumer but also for supply chain drivers

between the host and the middleware. This

such as robotics. It is a sophisticated and

solution normally gives far greater control

powerful technology that always rewards a

and flexibility of workflow design and

respectful adopter. n

optimisation (without requiring changes to the host system/WMS). However, care should be taken to ensure that the chosen middleware does not restrict the functionality implementation and a poorly matched

of the WMS by poorly duplicating functions

workflow, depending on the WMS. Direct

or data.

Voice-WMS integration can be a very good option when the WMS has open APIs that

Here an independent advisor can support

enable tailored voice workflows to be designed

the user by selecting and deploying the right

that reflect the optimum process flows.

solution for their operation.

Another approach is via screen-scraping,

Too often a voice system is implemented as

maybe used when an organisation’s WMS is

a static solution and left to operate as it was

remotely hosted and lacks voice or

installed, year after year – even though the

integration facilities. While it is viable, any

business is continually changing. Once

screen scraping application will be restricted

installed, keep your voice system optimised

by the data that is presented by the

with an annual process review in line with

underlying data screens.

business and process changes.

A case in point: VOICE PICKING TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION AT AO.COM Following a trial at online-only retailer AO.com, Renovotec’s voice-picking project has now gone live across the company’s extensive UK logistics operation, where 120 voice-picking devices are being used. AO.com specialises in household appliances and electricals: conservative cost-benefit analysis shows that the new voice technology will achieve payback “well within a year� say Renovotec. The new voice-driven solution updates AO.com’s approach and ensures that the right goods are picked and loaded in the right sequence, delivering higher levels of speed, accuracy and performance.

  

               

         

      

           

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V OICE technology

Success story

In the warehouse efficiency fast lane The Augustin Group, a specialist automotive spare parts supplier to wholesalers and garage workshops, has worked closely with Zetes to transform productivity, accuracy and inventory visibility at its warehouse facilities in Germany.

n order to maximise parts availability for

their capacity in 2017. At that time most

and we felt that Zetes understood us very

its European wide customer base it has

activities in this area were still paper-based.

well.”

invested in modernising critical

Delivery slips were checked off item by item,

warehouse processes using Zetes’

parts were put into inventory without a

Short training

logistics execution solution ZetesMedea.

I

scanner, and order pickers worked with

After just five months, ZetesMedea was rolled

Managing more than 40,000 line items, it has

printed order sheets. Using this system, six

out at the Augustin Group. As part of this

streamlined every critical warehouse process,

employees in goods receiving had to process

process, the warehouse employees were

from goods receiving through to order picking

five to ten trucks every day, while up to twelve

equipped with handheld terminals and mobile

and final dispatch to its customers.

order pickers had to handle 700 to 800

printers from Zebra. Now the displays of the

orders. Even then it was evident that this

handheld terminals guide the users step by

Researching for spare parts for older vehicles

figure would rise to as much as 1500 orders

step through each process, which can be

can quickly become along and fruitless

per day in the coming years.

selected and started using the touch-sensitive

journey. Most manufacturers discontinue

screen. The ZetesMedea menu navigation is

normal supply of stub axles, shock absorbers,

In light of this, Augustin decided in 2017 to

very intuitive, so even new employees can

exterior mirrors, etc. around 15 years after the

introduce a Warehouse Execution System

learn to use it quickly and be deployed in the

end of production of a specific model. In this

(WES) intended to exchange order and

warehouse with very limited training.

field, the Augustin Group has established a

inventory data with their in-house ERP system

position as a leading supplier for customers

and to control and digitalise all processes

In goods receiving, one barcode on the

of the Fiat Chrysler Group. The owner-

between goods receiving and dispatching.

delivery slip or the pallet is scanned so that

operated company with headquarters in

After a detailed market analysis and various

ZetesMedea can send the input data to the

Handewitt near the German-Danish border

meetings with potential vendors, they opted

merchandising system. There the barcode is

can supply approximately 400,000 parts for

for they opted for ZetesMedea, a logistics

linked to an existing order and fed back to

current and vintage passenger cars and utility

execution solution to enhance warehouse

ZetesMedea.

vehicles.

operations.

Matching warehouse locations and items Rapid growth

“Zetes was the only vendor that was able and

With a large number of identical items, only

The company has grown very quickly as a

willing to address our individual requirements

the outer packages are labelled and then

result of the e-commerce boom and the

and processes,” explains IT specialist Marc

transported to one of the warehouse locations

expansion of Fiat Chrysler. Sales have risen

Berlau, who was very impressed by the

proposed by ZetesMedea. “All processes in

by 30% per year in the last two years alone,

cooperation with Zetes during the planning

goods receiving could be mapped in

pushing logistics processes to the limits of

phase. “Only a few meetings were necessary,

ZetesMedea, resulting in a 300% increase in productivity,” says Weger. ZetesMedea also supports the transfer of items from goods receiving to the warehouse location. After the item barcode is scanned, the program proposes a warehouse location, which the employee usually accepts and confirms by scanning the barcode at the shelf location. “If necessary, the merchandise can also be taken to another unoccupied warehouse location, which of course also has

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Success story

V OICE technology

to be scanned”, explains Berlau. By matching warehouse locations with items, users always know which items are present at which location and how many there are.

SOS for colleague assistance There is also a distinction in the next step between processing a single order or processing multiple orders in parallel (multiorder picking). The closer it gets to the departure time, the more often order pickers are guided to process a single order to

seamlessly documented procedure, the error

improvements. “In the past, wall-to-wall

ensure that it will be ready on time. “Here as

rate in order picking is virtually zero”,

counting kept 50 employees busy for an

well, ZetesMedea offers us maximum

emphasizes Weger. This makes it possible to

entire day, and sometimes there were

flexibility with the selection options”,

dispense with an additional check scan at the

miscounts during the back-and forth

emphasises Berlau. Further flexibility is

packing station. In the past, the pick and

registration of the 40,000 or so items,

provided by the SOS button, here pickers can

pack lists had to be checked off again by the

resulting in inventory errors”, according to

press this button directly on their handheld

employee concerned. “Eliminating the check

Berlau. With ZetesMedea they were able to

terminal to ask for help from their colleagues

at the packing station gives us enormous time

change to permanent cycle counting. In

when a deadline is at risk.

savings”, summarises Berlau.

conclusion, using ZetesMedea the Augustin

Although the SOS button is rarely used, it

Group has digitalised all processes between

helps to ensure delivery quality. Thanks to

Integrated inventory

good receiving and goods dispatching,

ZetesMedea, on time fulfilment is already at a

Changing the inventory checking procedure

making them significantly more productive,

high level. “With the clearly structured and

yielded further savings and quality

transparent and reliable. n

Empowering your supply chain Enabling agile, scalable warehouse efficiency to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. - ZetesMedea

www.zetes.com


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V OICE technology

Success story

Voice for Picking & More at NBG Home BG Home provides a wide

N

range of quality, on-trend home decor and accessories, lighting, wall décor, soft home goods and more, delivering

affordable home furnishings to customers worldwide with over 1500 employees in five global management offices and multiple distribution centers. One of the largest home décor manufacturing and importers in the world, NBG Home prides itself on unparalleled quality, style and highly efficient distribution. The phenomenal rise of the eCommerce portion of the business, in conjunction with acquisitions to the family of brands for NBG Home, has helped drive the need to embrace new omnichannel technology for operations.

Double Digit Productivity Improvements

workers are in such high demand. “The definition

Streamlining the Process with Voice

Motorola scanners with voice are now deployed

of a ‘long timer’ has changed,” says Napper, “it’s

Dwayne Napper, Director of Distribution for

every step of the way from picking, inventory,

much shorter than I’ve ever seen.” He continues,

NBG Home, brings a strong WMS systems

stock movement, directed put-a-way, stock

“Voice has helped us with training for the

background and expertise in operations

change and receiving. Adding voice smoothed

workforce, especially in the eCommerce area.

optimization, led the implementation of the

the transition to the new warehousing application

We have programmed the processes with voice

Sage Advanced Warehousing application. “I

and provided double digit improvements in

to remove as many extraneous steps as

was familiar with voice technology and initially

productivity for many processes. This continues

possible, which helps new people ramp up to

looked at voice to bridge the gap and

to be an important part of optimizing operations

rate faster.”

streamline the process of moving to the new

as the business has shifted to a larger portion of

system”, says Napper. “We wanted a solution

eCommerce sales and more retailers are looking

Deploying voice was also smoother than

that did not require a server and could be

to NBG Home to hold the inventory and deliver it

anticipated. “I was pleasantly surprised,” says

deployed incrementally within the DC.

directly to the consumer. Order volume has

Keith Bigger, Inventory/QC Manager, NBG

Avoiding server-based technology that could

increased, as well as order frequency, and voice

Home, “I thought there was going to be more

be a single-point-of-failure was very important

automation has helped ensure picking for

pushback from our associates, but the team

to us,” adds Napper. The AccuSpeechMobile

eCommerce is optimized.

was very open to the solution and embraced

voice solution does not require a server, so

using it.”

deploying it on mobile scanners was ideal for

Voice Helps with Personnel Turnover

the project.

The operational complexity has increased as

A Very Positive Experience

business from major retailers has shifted to

“Voice is very much a product that can help

Workflow Automation

smaller batches with LTL or parcel shipping.

you,” says Napper. “First, you have to know your

Automating workflows was another important

Handling the increased volume and complexity

business and the challenges you face, the

benefit. “We liked the fact that we could

with the same personnel has been a business

cultural diversity of the people that work for you

program it, and we could take steps out of the

requirement. In this competitive market

and the surrounding workforce. Once you know

process,” comments Napper. “From an

executing last mile delivery efficiently is critical.

the environment and challenges, you can

operator standpoint, streamlining a ten-step

Another area where voice automation for DC

choose how to use voice to alleviate as many of

process into a two-step process is a big win

processes has brought benefits for NBG Home

these challenges as possible, the key is knowing

for us, which improves productivity and

is with the transient workforce. Workforce staffing

your people and your systems, and what you

accuracy as well,” he adds.

has been a challenge in this market where DC

need to make that work together. We generate

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Success story

V OICE technology

thousands of transactions a week in our eCommerce business and it’s extremely rare to have a ship error,” says Napper; “AccuSpeechMobile’s voice solution was ideal for these processes.” Working with AccuSpeechMobile has been a very positive experience. “The best of any I’ve had with vendors,” says Napper. “They have always been there when we needed help,” adds Bigger. “The times when I had issues and communicated with AccuSpeechMobile, they were very responsive, very accommodating and did everything they could to help us out in times of need.”

Extensibility NBG Home has trained the in-house team with the AccuSpeechMobile voice solution and can add voice to any process that they feel would benefit from voice automation. All major workflows are automated with voice now, and in the future Napper envisions voice improving processes beyond the warehouse floor. “Processes that are repeatable and can benefit from streamlining and reducing manual entries, such as bill of lading creation, are under consideration for voice automation,” says Napper. “I’m always looking for the next thing out there,” Napper continues, “Voice has been a good fit for NBG Home, delivering benefits now and offering extensibility for the future.” n

Speech To Productivity Voice Automate Picking & Many More Work昀ows

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V OICE technology

Opinion

The only constant is change By Alex Reneman, CEO, Mountain Leverage.

he logistics industry, like most, is

T

Mountain Leverage has certainly seemed to hit

constantly dealing with change.

the mark. As one customer with a medical

Driven by rising workforce costs,

voice application said, “I feel that the level of

changing regulation, and the

customer service Mountain Leverage provides

increasingly strict need for

goes above and beyond what a lot of other

accuracy, Warehousing operations are always

companies provide. It's nice to know that if I

searching for best practices in order to

have a question or issue with something, the

streamline, automate, and improve efficiency

support team at Mountain Leverage is always

while staying current with new industry norms

very quick to respond and help resolve things.

and emerging technologies.

Thank you for many years of your commitment to excellent customer service.”

Mountain Leverage, and our European division, Voice Beyond, have been at the

Emerging Applications

forefront of voice picking solutions for

As voice applications continue to diversify into

warehousing since the early 2000’s. Founded

new workflows, this type of customer feedback

within the mountains of West Virginia, the

is imperative to the company’s growing

company has grown to service customers

portfolio. Finding new applications in

around the world by applying traditional

Healthcare, Maintenance & Inspection, and

craftsmanship values to high technology

Voice Directed work, Mountain Leverage is

systems. Mountain Leverage has seen the

seeing an upward trend in expanding voice

consistency of change over the years.

operations. Previously uncharted workflows are continuously adopting voice technology to

Alex Reneman: “By being an active partner with our customers, staying informed of our market and constantly looking to the future, Mountain Leverage brings much more value than just the systems we deliver.”

Through our core concepts and value-based

streamline processes. A prime example is

business practices, Mountain Leverage has

found in food inspection as perishables, such

been on the cutting edge of voice

as fruits and vegetables, are being inspected

applications, becoming a leader in our field.

on the loading dock, increasing the overall

length of tenure is decreasing as the millennial

Investing in experienced and knowledgeable

efficiency of inbound loads while ensuring

workforce creates a stronghold in

employees who are willing to grow and

higher product quality and delivering real-time

manufacturing and logistics operations.

advance the field of voice-enabled solutions

information to buyers, stores, and suppliers

has allowed Mountain Leverage to develop a

alike.

This change in the workforce brings with it not

highly regarded, world-class customer experience.

only new bodies but a totally new approach to Other emerging voice workflows include

operations: systems must now be

semiconductor inspection and vehicle

multidisciplinary, allowing cross-trained

As founder and CEO, my primary function is

servicing applications. Real-time data capture

workers to easily learn and effectively operate

to establish and encourage an environment

and immediate reporting are becoming the

essential resources throughout the workplace.

conducive to growth within the company, its

norm, and the ability to gain advantages in

Fortunately, the generation currently entering

employees, partnerships, and field. Mountain

performance and accuracy demonstrated by

the workforce is well used to communicating

Leverage is a company of leaders, both in the

deploying voice inside the warehouse has

with computers using voice thanks to Siri,

industry and as individuals. Each person on

become a pivotal shift across the industry.

Alexa, Google, and other mainstream AI

the team takes ownership of how the

applications. New technology has allowed

company is presented and the entire

Workforce Challenges

voice systems to become free of the old

customer experience. By continuously

In addition to new and changing workflow

constraint of having to train a user’s voice to

seeking feedback from our customers,

demands, Mountain Leverage continues to see

the system before they could effectively deploy

employees, and the market at large, the best

fluctuation in its customers’ workforce. The cost

its capabilities. The best systems are now

outcomes can be identified and realized.

of labour is rising, regulation is increasing, and

“training optional” allowing new users to “pick it

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Opinion

V OICE technology

up and go,” while still providing the capability

demand application for mobile systems

throughout the US. As a partner, Mountain

to train words, if needed, for complex

management.

Leverage has experienced first hand how

utterances or unusual accents.

growing up with immediate access to VoiceSupervisor, currently available free on the

information has allowed this generation to

Robotics- the next big thing in automation

iOS and Google Play app stores, allows all

become more active researchers and fast

Seeing the technological advances in today’s

users of Vocollect voice systems (regardless of

learners as new technology emerges.

manufacturing and warehousing operations

their original supplier) to access and manage

leaves one wondering what could be next. The

their voice system right from their mobile

It is inevitable that as new technology is

ability of upcoming generations to quickly

device. No longer does a supervisor have to

developed, the manufacturing, logistics, and

adapt to new tech makes it even more evident

walk back to the office and log into a dusty PC

warehousing operations around the world will

that robotics will most certainly be the next big

to monitor a user's dialog or assign a task to a

continue to adapt and grow according to the

thing in automation. However, unlike the

user; now, they can monitor, manage, and

demands of the consumer. In today’s society

futuristic conspiracy theories wherein humans

message workers directly from their phones.

of immediate gratification, the speed,

are replaced by robots, human capabilities will

efficiency, and accuracy with which we

most likely still be necessary to achieve the

Change is the one constant that can be relied

operate will continue to grow; being on the

highest outcomes in work.

upon throughout the industry but sometimes

front end by anticipating and preparing for that

it’s not just about reacting to change, it’s about

growth is where Mountain Leverage shines- by

Mountain Leverage has been building systems

creating it. Mountain Leverage and Voice

being an active partner with our customers,

with the capability to combine voice direction

Beyond actively support and celebrate change

staying informed of our market and constantly

and robotic automation to ensure both human

in both tech and the new incoming workforce

looking to the future, Mountain Leverage brings

and artificial resources are performing at peak

as a community partner with New Force West

much more value than just the systems we

levels. The merging of voice and robotics with

Virginia. This program, located in the coal

deliver.

today’s requirement for immediate access has

fields of Southern West Virginia, provides

resulted in Mountain Leverage continuing to

software development training and

grow with the market by building an on-

employment matching with tech companies

Make change, don’t fear it. n

Warehousing operations are always searching for best practices in order to streamline, automate and improve efficiency while staying current with new industry norms and emerging technologies.

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Warehouse Management

n

Systems

Automation – future-proofing your business with a WMS Over the next two years, 66% of organisations expect supply chains to become increasingly complex, not least in response to growing consumer concerns, according to Automation in Intralogistics research undertaken by Sapio Research, on behalf of Jungheinrich UK.

For those planning to implement automation, semi-automation, or indeed optimise their manual processes, one of the most important products to have in place is a robust Warehouse Management System (WMS). Why? Because businesses need to be able to manage existing core logistics

Steve Richmond, director-logistics systems, Jungheinrich UK

processes, along with future proofing business software platforms so that as the company expands, it can respond to change and add automation such as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), other types of automation or more complex customer-driven picking strategies. Additionally, recent innovations within the warehouse have seen an increased demand for voice technology and wearable devices. To ensure that businesses are able to introduce the latest technology they must be able to expand the capabilities of their legacy WMS.

Flexibility The initial design and specification of the WMS will determine how flexible a facility will be going forward. For example, if you currently operate a manual warehouse and employ conventional order picking technology, could your WMS adapt if you were suddenly faced with an upsurge of online orders, which brought about a dramatic shift in your typical order profile, such as during peak sales periods like Black Friday or Christmas? Order processing profiles and picking requirements may change significantly. For example, a facility may suddenly be required to shift from a bulk or unit load-based operation by a customer-driven need to fulfil single item picks at a much higher frequency.

A

utomation will play a key role in enabling organisations to meet the evolving intralogistics complexity and it is firmly on the UK business agenda: within two years, the majority of organisations plan to have automated at least 50% of supply chain operations. Additionally, as organisations embrace 24x7 warehousing in response to customer led demands for unprecedented levels of immediacy, visibility and sustainability, intralogistics operations are increasingly taking centre stage. With automation now a focus for many businesses as they aim to drive productivity, increase efficiency, improve accuracy and reduce costs, Steve Richmond, director logistics systems at Jungheinrich UK, looks at the role of the Warehouse Management System (WMS) in today’s supply chain and why it has to be able to adapt to the evolving needs of a business. 36

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Jungheinrich’s WMS is designed in such a way that it is highly configurable to the needs of each user. In its standard form, the WMS supports an extensive variety of functions as well as centralised master data management. It controls and optimises a range of processes such as incoming and outgoing goods management and order picking.

But what if the WMS couldn’t accommodate

4. Investigate fully Enterprise Resource

this change?

Planning (ERP) systems that boast extensive WMS functionality – in some cases, the WMS can be limited. 5. Ensure that your WMS allows for semi- or fully automated materials handling systems to be introduced in the future.

Within a temperature controlled facility the job of the WMS is, arguably, even more crucial. If, for instance, personnel time within the storage unit is restricted because of the temperature, it is doubly important to make sure workers are as productive as possible. And, with many temperature-controlled sites using multi-depth storage systems, it is essential to choose a WMS that has the functionality to recognise and support such methods.

5 key points For those charged with selecting a ‘future proof’ WMS, here are 5 key points to consider:

Process optimisation More and more businesses are optimising their processes and looking at more flexible solutions so that they can remain competitive. What Jungheinrich is seeing is pre-existing WMS systems working hard to ensure that the functions they provide are scalable and able to work with the latest technology.

The software supports the complete transparency of all processes through its extensive reporting features and analysis options. It can be linked to numerous system environments using standard interfaces and can be redesigned to fit with existing systems. The system also offers a series of special functions and extensions for complex logistics processes or automated warehouse facilities. For instance, route management, hazardous substance storage, multi-client capability and material flow modules can be simply added as required. To meet the ever-evolving environment, the Jungheinrich WMS also undergoes constant development, ensuring it continues to convert incremental gains into significant increases in productivity. Additionally, more than 450 input dialogues are individually configured to administer and manage all internal material flows in the warehouse, ensuring sustainable, scalable and efficient processes regardless of size or industry. It leads users through the work processes and required inputs in a stepby-step manner and ensures a seamless, end-to-end intralogistics operation. n

1. Recognise where the system’s boundaries are – and ensure that they are flexible enough to move with your demands. If you do not have flexibility in your WMS, your ability to adapt your business model is very limited and your chances of moving with the changing demands of your business will be greatly diminished. 2. Select robust software that has an established track record – rather than a system that has been developed uniquely for your use. 3. Try to choose a suite that is feature rich – you may not need many of the built-in functions now but it is reassuring to know that they are there and can be switched on in the future should you require them.

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Warehouse Management

n

Insight

A few hacks to increase warehouse distribution efficiency By Vikash Kumar Chaudhary, senior SEO Executive, Tatvasoft.

O

perations are the heart of any business and the warehouse industry is no exception. Below are some tips to help you to optimise your existing facility

containers to increased reliability and sharing of information and greater flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions of customer specifications, lean brings about a sea change in the warehouse mindset.

the product might be needed next. In case, if something cannot be tracked or recorded in the transaction, just ensure that the transaction is eliminated right away and placed on a list of movements to fix.

and achieve higher throughput. In addition to this, try recording data that can increase productivity and accuracy, and lower labour costs. Capture real-time information using bar codes and radio frequency identification tags can get products off the dock quickly and reduce human issues typically caused by manual receiving, such as counting and data errors, from the tracking process. Also, automating data collection allows managers to change product locations based on order consistency and picking difficulty.

3. Prioritise fast 1. Keeping things organised One of the common reasons for poor efficiency is having a poorly organised warehouse. That’s why it is extremely important to have a thoroughly thought-out floor plan so that your employees, as well as customers, can navigate with ease. In visual terms, products and packages should be accessed by people without getting into each other’s way or stepping on each other’s toes. In addition to this, you can even think of labelling items clearly on the shelf, destination or point of origin, group packages by their contents. On and all, the layout should make sense to your employees, so they’ll be able to find the items they need without having to look at a spreadsheet.

2. Adopt lean operation practices If we recall way back from its historical roots, warehouses (known as storage for goods) seem to have evolved at a fanatic pace. With the increasingly globalized marketplace, highlevel inventory management, rapid receiving and shipping dock management, customers crave for nothing more than accurate, flexible pick and pack services. By considering lean warehouse operations, owners can strive for significant, long-term and sustainable benefits such as reduced handling time, reduction in loading/unloading times of trucks and 38

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Another crucial aspect when organising your warehouse is keeping your priorities in mind. Every element you have chosen must favour your fastest -moving products. Let me reveal one of the deepest secrets of bestsellers. They don’t tend to sit on the shelf for very long. This means make sure your employees can easily retrieve them at all times. Gone are the days when professionals had to go back all the way to the back just to retrieve a product. Moving all the fast-selling products to the front of warehouses can save an adequate amount of time. Besides, they should be kept low to the ground and close to the loading dock. It’s all about focusing on moving better -performing products to the front while keeping the less popular products at the back. I would suggest going over your inventory and rating your products based on how often your employees need to retrieve them. It’s time to change.

4. Automate data collection By tracking and automating everything, you can make sure that everything is put away in the right spot, whether it’s a rack or shelving. Make sure that your professionals scan all the destination locations, put fast-moving items in areas that are easy to access and don't forget to assign the ones close to pick slots where

5. Using inventory management software Collecting data on the shipping containers, products moving in and out of your facility is a common practice in a warehouse. Hence saving time here become inevitable. Using an inventory management software can work wonders. Right from viewing how many products are present on the shelf to when shipments require to go out and when new shipments are due to arrive, any and every information can be achieved with the help of such software synced with your data collection devices, so you won’t have to worry about entering that information twice. Also, these intelligent programs even help in anticipating future outcomes like inventory shortages, delivery delays, and other potential problems. They keep a log of the history of your facility’s operations to help better predict what’s going to happen in the future. n

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Warehouse Management

n

Systems

inotec UK delivers warehouse solutions project for high-end appliance manufacturer WMS

W

arehouse signage and floor marking specialist, inotec UK, has recently completed a ÂŁ60,000 project for an electrical appliance manufacturer at its 23,200 sq m national distribution centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The contract has seen inotec install 540 sq m of infill walkways, 1800 m of line marking, 600 floortags, 550 multilevel labels and 5500 single location racking labels to improve health and safety, accuracy and productivity

vehicle traffic areas. As the number of pedestrians within the warehouse increased, it became important to implement clearly marked pedestrian walkways around the site. This solution increases health and safety on site by ensuring pedestrians have a designated route to avoid any potential collisions with truck traffic.

on site. The busy facility services both ecommerce and B2B retail customers.

minimum disruption to productivity. The inotec team was able to lay the walkways overnight so that they were dry and ready for use in the morning. In addition to a quick drying time, the UV top coat offers a hardwearing and longer lasting solution for high traffic areas, preventing degradation from pedestrians and trucks.

The complete project saw inotec install 540 sq m of Duraline Rapidshie red infill walkway around the warehouse. Previously, the site only had minimal marked walkways across

For a quick drying time, inotec used Duraline Rapidshield for the walkways which is cured with a clear UV topcoat. This meant there was

In addition to the walkways, inotec replaced existing line marking. These had become worn and needed refreshing for the new storage system being implemented. The new Duraline Rapidshield yellow line marking installed clearly highlights the fixed bin locations making it easier to store and retrieve products. The project also saw inotec lay corresponding bin location numbers within the same area.

Foortags and racking signage For the final element of the project, inotec supplied and installed 600 floortags around product storage bins. The floortags can be RF scanned and each one is unique to the bin in front of it. As the floortags are set slightly

inotec UK has installed 5500 single location racking labels to increase accuracy and productivity.

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The floortags installed by inotec UK can be RF scanned from truck height and can withstand heavy traffic.

below floor level, they are able to withstand foot and more importantly truck traffic wear and tear. This prevents them from being scratched or damaged and ensures accurate barcode scanning. Truck operators are able to scan the barcodes from the trucks without having to dismount each time. As well as floortags, inotec supplied multi-level and single location racking labels which integrate with the warehouse’s new storage system. The labelling system allows personnel to easily store and retrieve products. Kevin Wells, warehouse operations manager comments: “Originally we only asked inotec to quote for warehouse line marking, however, each time we discussed the project we realised there were more jobs inotec could do for us that would improve our operation. This led to inotec supplying infill walkways, floortags and warehouse racking labels. “Before we placed any orders with inotec, they arranged for us to visit sites where previously they had

completed similar projects. This allowed us to see for ourselves the quality of their work. We were extremely impressed with their professionalism and workmanship and it was these qualities that won them the initial project. “We put a lot of pressure on inotec by giving them a ridiculously short lead time to deliver the project, but they pulled it out the bag and got everything completed in time. The inotec team managed everything on site and liaised daily with us to let us know which areas they’d be working in and if stock needed moving. This kept the installation process running smoothly and led to minimal disruption. “Steve Towler, inotec’s southern sales manager really understands logistics. His warehouse experience meant that he was able to relate to how we work and advise us accordingly. If he wasn’t visiting on site, he was always on the end of a phone and this allowed us to have a strong working relationship to deliver a great result.” n

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igo WMS s how Ind to discus r cost savings e can deliv warehouse r u o y r fo IGO.co.uk WWW.IND digo.co.uk in @ s indigowm 91 375 6700 1 ) (0 +44

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Analysis

Low power IoT service revenues to exceed $2.6 billion by 2024, as operators seek new revenue streams new study from Juniper

and LoRa, will provide stern competition to

as smart traffic monitoring, smart parking and

Research has found that

cellular low power IoT technologies. The low

connected refuse collections, as those which

service revenues from low

investment cost of unlicensed spectrum

will benefit from low cost wireless

power IoT technologies will

networks, enabled by cost-effective network

connectivity.

A

exceed $2.6 billion by 2024;

rising from only $290 million in 2019, a growth of 800% over the next 5 years. Low power IoT technologies include low-priced wireless connections that deliver low bandwidth and power saving features suited to asset monitoring.

Cellular low power IoT technologies to grow 3400% over next 5 years

The concept of a smart city has been hindered by the substantial investment required and lack of clarity on securing a return on this investment. These low cost IoT technologies enable stakeholders to secure this return on investment earlier and take full advantage of the smart city proposition.” – Sam Barker, research author.

devices, will drive adoption to exceed 160

“The concept of a smart city has been

million connections by 2024. In response, it

hindered by the substantial investment

The new research, Low Power IoT: Impact

urged low power IoT service providers to offer

required and lack of clarity on securing a

Analysis, Vertical Assessment & Forecasts

existing cellular technologies, such as 4G and

return on this investment,” remarked research

2019-2024, found that the number of cellular

5G, in tandem with low power IoT alternatives

author Sam Barker, “These low cost IoT

low power IoT connections will reach 156

to maximise the capabilities of IoT networks.

technologies enable stakeholders to secure

million by 2024; growing from 4 million in 2019. It argues that decreasing costs of these connections, including LTE-M and NB-IoT, will attract new IoT network users who require low

this return on investment earlier and take full advantage of the smart city proposition.”

Smart cities sector to reach 50 million low power IoT connections by 2024

Juniper Research provides research and

cost solutions.

analytical services to the global hi-tech The research identified smart cities as a

communications sector; providing

However, the research found that networks

sector primed for disruption by low power IoT

consultancy, analyst reports and industry

using an unlicensed spectrum, such as Sigfox

technologies. It highlighted use cases such

commentary. n

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Analysis

\\\ Manufacturing \\\

50% of businesses are looking to expand mainframe capabilities in AI, Blockchain and more Ensono, the hybrid IT services provider, in collaboration with Wipro Ltd, the global information technology, consulting and business process services company, has launched jointly commissioned research conducted by Forrester Consulting to understand the future of mainframe in enterprises.

he study, involving 153 IT decision

T

integrated security and massive parallelisation."

increase its use in the next two years versus

technology and strategy at Ensono. "Everything

research provides two very apt strategies for

just 5% planning to decrease or remove

that made mainframe great in the past –

enterprises that allow them to take full

mainframe activity.

security, reliability, versatility, performance – is

advantage of mainframes – the first being to

still true today, and the latest generation of

refactor applications to take advantage of

The research found that while mainframes

mainframe technology will now run the same

cloud; and the second, to modernise

continue to be considered a critical piece of

cutting-edge applications and services as

mainframes by adopting DevOps. The

infrastructure for the modern business, it was

cloud infrastructure. Mainframe modernisation

research also shows that more than a quarter

surprisingly found to be an important element

is giving enterprises not only the ability to

of firms see mainframes running emerging

of modern technologies like AI and Blockchain.

continue to run their legacy applications, but

workloads like blockchain and containerised

Enterprises are now taking a hybrid approach

also allows them to embrace new technologies

applications. We believe modern mainframes

to their infrastructure, migrating some

such as containerised microservices,

will have a significant role to play in the hybrid

applications to the cloud while maintaining

blockchain and mobile applications.

future of infrastructure. We are confident that

makers at director level or above

Kiran Desai, senior vice president and global head, cloud and infrastructure services, Wipro

across the US and Europe, found

"We believe this research challenges popular

Limited, said: "Mainframe modernisation is

that 50% of organisations will

opinion that mainframe is for legacy," said

central to a long-term holistic hybrid IT strategy

continue with mainframe and

Brian Klingbeil, executive vice president,

for enterprises leveraging mainframes. This

certain business-critical applications onpremises and on mainframes.

Ensono's decades of hosting and managed"Organisations don't modernise in a vacuum.

mainframe experience, coupled with Wipro's

The research supports what we see in our work

deep expertise in mainframe applications

While traditional applications and workloads

with clients where many larger organisations are

support, cloud migrations and DevOps will

(ERP (48%), finance and accounting (45%), HR

settling on a hybrid best-of-breed approach,

help deliver improved services with increased

management (44%) and ECM (43%)) remain

allowing their IT decision makers to use the

efficiencies to clients." n

the mainstay of the mainframe, 25% of those

infrastructure that best suits their project.”

surveyed stated that mobile sites and applications were being put into the mainframe; 27% were running new blockchain initiatives and containerised applications.

Integrated security and massive parallelisation Forrester Consulting comments: "Mainframes have long hosted mission-critical business as applications like finance and accounting applications and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications. This remains a constant today with more than 40% of companies with mainframes still running these workloads from the mainframe. However, more than a quarter of firms see the mainframe as a place to run emerging workloads like blockchain and containerised applications. These benefit from

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\\\ Manufacturing \\\

Analysis

Higher levels of automation expand revenue potential for analytical instrumentation manufacturers Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and academics emerge major adopters of analytical equipment, finds Frost & Sullivan.

he rise of the Industrial Internet of

T

instrumentation. It covers the geographic

Things (IIoT) has given a

regions of North America, Europe, Asia-

store and retrieve data in a common format

significant boost to the global

Pacific, and Rest-of-World.

for complex analytical processes.

along with customer demand for efficient

“The market will be bolstered by the strong

analysers, are prompting analytical equipment

demand from Asia-Pacific, particularly, India

manufacturers to offer new solutions that

and China,” noted Balasundar. “Analytical

simplify the analytical process, improve

equipment manufacturers providing training,

automation, store data, and enable access to

awareness, and application knowledge will

analytical instrumentation market, making it more automated, data

• Develop a common data platform that can

• Simplify the user interface and functionality

Expansion

centric, and production oriented. This trend,

of the equipment to make them easy-to-use for laboratory technicians. • Offer predefined templates and method documentation solutions. • Provide a simple push and play operation for operators with inadequate training or skills.

this data for common use cases. Driven by clients’ high throughput and efficiency needs, the total market is expected to grow from US$19.58 billion in 2018 to $20.81 in 2019.

Increasing use “Analytical equipment, including liquid

Analytical equipment, including liquid chromatographs and mass spectrometers, will be increasingly used as diagnostic equipment due to the sensitivity and efficiency requirements of diagnostic applications.” – Janani Balasundar, research analyst measurement & instrumentation, Frost & Sullivan.

chromatographs and mass spectrometers, will be increasingly used as diagnostic equipment

experience considerable expansion in the

Outlook of Global Analytical Instrumentation

due to the sensitivity and efficiency

emerging markets.” For additional revenue

Market, 2019 is part of Frost & Sullivan’s

requirements of diagnostic applications,” said

opportunities in the global market,

global Test & Measurement Growth

Janani Balasundar, research analyst

instrumentation manufacturers will look to:

Partnership Service program. n

measurement & instrumentation, Frost & Sullivan. “Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, academics, and food testing will be the primary end users of analytical instrumentation. However, there will be a dip in demand for gas chromatographs and gas analysers due to the slowdown in the chemicals & petrochemicals and oil & gas markets because of fluctuating oil prices and resource scarcity.” Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Outlook of Global Analytical Instrumentation Market, 2019, is segmented by the product sectors of chromatography, molecular analysis spectroscopy, elemental analysis spectroscopy, mass spectrometry (MS), analytical microscopes, gas analyzers, liquid analysers, and analytical x-ray

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MLIT Oct'19 ADC p45.qxp_IBC publications 11/10/2019 11:41 Page 45

Analysis

AUTOMATIC DATA CAPTURE MOBILE COMPUTING

AI augmentation to create $2.9 trillion of business value in 2021 n 2021, artificial intelligence (AI)

I

augmentation will create US$2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally, according to Gartner, Inc.

Gartner defines augmented intelligence as a human-centered partnership model of people and AI working together to enhance cognitive performance. This includes learning, decision making and new experiences. “Augmented intelligence is all about people taking advantage of AI,” said Svetlana Sicular, research vice president at Gartner. “As AI technology evolves, the combined human and AI capabilities that augmented intelligence allows will deliver the greatest benefits to enterprises.” support/augmentation will surpass all other

the Gartner AI business value forecast.

Business value of augmented intelligence

types of AI initiatives to account for 44% of

Augmented intelligence reduces mistakes

the global AI-derived business value.

while delivering customer convenience and

Gartner’s AI business value forecast

what was previously available to the select

the largest type of AI by business value-add

Augmented intelligence enhances customer experience

with the fewest early barriers to adoption (see

Customer experience is the primary source

human touch and common sense to

Figure 1). By 2030, decision

of AI-derived business value, according to

manage the risks of decision automation,”

highlights decision support/augmentation as

personalization at scale, democratising few. “The goal is to be more efficient with automation, while complementing it with a

said Sicular. “The excitement about AI tools, services and algorithms misses a crucial point: The goal of AI should be to empower humans to be better, smarter and happier, not to create a ‘machine world’ for its own sake,” said Ms. Sicular. “Augmented intelligence is a design approach to winning with AI, and it assists machines and people alike to perform at their best.” Gartner clients can read more in the report: ‘Leverage Augmented Intelligence to Win With AI’. n

Figure 1: Worldwide Business Value by AI Type (Millions of Dollars). Source: Gartner (August 2019).

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