Monday, May 20, 2013

MMH Reports "Automation: Voice or WMS"

Why Are Some End Users Turning to Voice Rather Than Upgrade Their Legacy WMS for New Functionality?

That's the question posed by Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling, in his May 17, 2013 article "Automation: Voice or WMS." His article indicates that "rightly or wrongly, companies view a WMS implementation as risky, costly and painful. It’s one of the reasons most companies keep their WMS in place for a decade or longer, even when that system is no longer meeting all of a company’s needs."

Trebilcock referenced survey questions posed to companies by Ian Hobkirk, managing director of Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors. Hobkirk "noticed a trend among clients that are implementing workarounds to extend the life of a legacy WMS."  Hobkirk says. “Each has a legacy WMS that isn’t very flexible. They would rather install a workaround than upgrade their WMS.”

In addition to creating workaround code for the existing WMS, Hobkirk adds, “many companies are deploying voice to achieve functionality that is going to be too hard to get through the WMS alone..."

Unfortunitely, for many warehouse professionals, adding voice is a two-edged sword due to the costs and complexity of integrating a server-based proprietary picking system to their existing WMS. Supply Chain Insights  2013 Power of Voice Research Report, reports the Top Three Reasons why distribution professionals avoid voice technology  are 1) “too expensive” ; 2) [as a result] ‘too many competing priorities”, and; 3) “hard to integrate with other systems.

Innovation in voice technology has eliminate this 'Rock and a Hard Place" senario for the WMS market. Mobile innovation means voice placed solely on the mobile device avoids completely the high risk and fear associated with traditional server-based integration.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Retailers ‘Out-of Stock’ Losses $70 Billion, A Practical Alternative

By Gary Bockhold, President, Waterview Corporation
Does this sound familiar?  Your customers walk into your national retail chain stores to make a “need-it now” purchase and as they walk the aisles to the desired department they pick a couple of impulse items that are merchandised on your store’s end caps, power wings or floor displays. But, when your customers arrive at the location of their “need-it-now” product(s) they discover it’s OUT OF STOCK!
Disappointment and frustration kicks-in. The customer drops the impulse items and walk out of the store empty-handed and race to your retail competitor’s location. There they find their “need-it-now” product and likely additional impulse purchasesIs there anything worse than losing the revenue from your frustrated customers?  You bet there is. You also lose the customer loyalty to your store brand to your competitor.
Unfortunately this ‘out-of-stock” (OOS) scenario remains an all-too-common costly occurrence for the retail industry. The national average OOS at retail chain stores is estimated at 7% which results in lost sales and more importantly dissatisfied customers.
The Top Ten National Retail Chains have annual sales in excess of $1 Trillion which translates to $70 Billion in lost sales due to out of stocks. The overhead and time consuming burden on in-store personnel to quickly, frequently and accurately perform inventory and cycle counts has yet to reduce OOS outages. At the store level retailers run a complete inventory about twice a year, just prior to peak season, and prior to the spring season. Otherwise interim weekly inventories counts seldom account for all SKUs, resulting a year round accuracy rate of 70% or less, with accuracy degrading by 2% to 3% each month. What a task...  hundreds of thousands of SKUs, across hundreds of store locations. 
How can retailers curtail these ongoing and excessive OOS losses? Mobile innovation has delivered a new-to-retail and cost efficient solution to speed the execution of more periodic and more accurate inventory counts, while avoiding increases in new personnel and related overhead costs.
One such innovation is the AccuSpeech Mobile Voice Solution for Existing In-Store MobileApplications, when installed on your existing mobile in-store devices can reduce OOS outages and related losses by allowing your personnel to run inventory counts with faster and more accurate voice commands and confirmations. By leveraging voice technology OOS outages can be reduced by at least 20% or more. What does 20% translate in savings for your retail operation?  For an industry still reeling from a 7% OOS,  improving retail stores OOSs by as much as 1% can result in annual incremental sales of $10 Billion based on the above scenario…simply by ensuring more stock availability.
For more information, call AccuSpeechMobile at 949-435-1001 Ext. 222, Waterview Corporation at 912-236-3295 or click here to join me and AccuSpeechMobile staff in a personal Web Briefing at your convenience. I would be glad to discuss and examine with you practical solutions for improving in-stock positions and most importantly approaches to keeping your customers coming back.
R.G. Bockhold
Waterview Corporation

About Waterview Corporation
Mr. Gary Bockhold is a seasoned professional with over 40 years of distinguished leadership in Sales, Marketing, Management and Executive Experience in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry with both National and Store Brands. As president and CEO of Waterview Corporation he has developed over $200 Million in new business at manufacturing selling prices since 1996 while working with and supplying products to every national and regional retail chain.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cabela's Ramps Up Technology Rollouts

The Retail Information News (RIS) article ‘Cabela’s Ramps Up Technology Rollouts’ reports that the omnichannel retailer continues to make technology “investments and advancements in its store, its customers and its technology to stay ahead of the curve. It has done so with its use of inventory, improved forecasting, analytics, and the many ways the retailer engages with its customers both inside and outside of the store.”

Cabela’s implementation and optimization of its “omni “or multi-channel distribution processes includes the use of AccuSpeechMobile’s voice solution to increase the speed and accuracy of its 1000 plus order fulfillment workers. 
The web-video “On the Path to Saving $1Million Per Year” Cabela’s Sr. Business Process Improvement Manager, Kevin Thompson, underscores how Cabela’s has been leveraging AccuSpeechMobile to deliver not only substantial cost reductions, but also improved inventory management, reductions in workforce training cycles and related costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
At Cabela’s three national distribution centers, the company’s warehouse workers speed the completion of orders across three distribution channels, retail stores, e-commerce and catalogues using instant voice commands and responses. The Cabela's WMS from Mahattan Associates was voice-enabled by 2 members of Thompson's Business Process Improvement Team using the  wizard-based AccuSpeechMobile Customization Console, which enables Cabela's mobile devices to deliver all the necessary voice capabilities while avoiding any complex server integration with the WMS application

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Top 3 Reasons Distribution Professionals Avoid Deloying Voice For Their WMS

But Innovation Can Change Everything.

Supply Chain Insights 2013 Survey “ The Value Proposition of Voice-Directed Warehousing” revealed the top three reasons for not adopting voice productivity for the warehouse.  With continued focus on pioneering voice technologies that depend on complex, costly server-based integration with a customer’s WMS, the results were not surprising. The survey indicated from both voice users and non-voice users, that WMS Voice solutions  were:  1) “too expensive” ;  2) [as a result] ‘too many competing priorities”, and; 3) “hard to integrate with other systems”.

The 2012 Aberdeen Group Survey, “Voice Users Speak Out”  just a year earlier indicated that the majority  of companies that have made substantial investments in older server-dependent voice technologies, find it difficult to justify the high costs to maintain their investments  in voice due to the high cost of change management. Here’s what they said.
  • 42% due to cost considerations, we “batch” a number of changes together so that we   can justify the time and money to get the changes done
  • 37% We don’t consider changes because the cost to have the vendor modify the application is just too high
  • 26% We’ve paid too much for changes that seemed trivial to us 
The Aberdeen Group Survey said “The remarkable thing here is that cost is the top concern. Majority of all current voice users have a major issue when changes to voice apps are needed. They either delay change until they can justify paying to open/update the code, or they avoid change altogether”.

The good news is how leading enterprises have proven the impact of AccuSpeechMobile’s all-mobile voice innovation and how it seamlessly voice-enables your actual WMS applications and workflows... eliminating any server-based integration.  Voice innovation means distribution professionals can get all the control they want over voice deployment, speed in implementation and the ability to implement voice changes quickly and cost efficiently.

Innovation has made a difference. Here’s an AccuSpeechMobile customer that’s leveraged innovation to achieve substantial cost savings and business process improvements.