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Voxware, Inc., a leading supplier of software for voice-enabled warehousing operations, has announced that Albert Heijn, the #1 food retailer in the Netherlands, has deployed Voxwares voice picking software in its four regional distribution centres (DCs), with plans to expand across its two national DCs.
The solution was delivered to Albert Heijn by Vanboxtel, a strategic Voxware partner in the Netherlands, and operates on Motorola MC3090 mobile computers. Over the course of the upcoming months, upwards of 5,000 users across all sites will be voice-enabled for picking, making this the largest rollout of voice-based material handling in the Netherlands, and one of the largest in the world.
Voice-based picking has been successfully rolled out in the four regional DCs in the last two months, and the national Albert Heijn DCs will be targeted for deployment in January 2008. A consortium including Vanboxtel, Motorola and Voxware will manage this large-scale voice deployment. Three years ago there was no place for voice at Albert Heijn, commented Boudewijn Canrinus, Director, Business Processes and Systems for Albert Heijn. We were already using handheld RF terminals and achieving high productivity rates. We considered deploying voice, and knew that our worker productivity rates would increase even more. However, at the time the limited number of voice providers resulted in costly investment prices and prevented us from preparing a valid business case for voice. Voxwares open standards solution has changed the playing field for voice and enabled more choices and increased competition in the voice-enabled hardware market. The resulting downward pressure on prices made it sensible for us to try voice at this time and allowed us to select the software and device of our choice.
A perfect preparation is an important success criterion of a fast and smooth implementation, commented Seth van Gemert, CTO of Vanboxtel. Setting up the Dutch and Polish dialogs and using mobile management techniques in the solution made the integration complete. Working in close cooperation with the Albert Heijn project team enabled us to spread the knowledge of training a voice picker to over 4,000 users in a 2 months time frame.
The benefits of voice picking are well documented, but for a long time rigid hardware solutions have been a barrier to widespread adoption, said Scott J. Yetter, President of Voxware. With our open standards approach, our goal is to enable the seamless conversion and execution of voice regardless of what platform distribution centres are operating with. Were thrilled Albert Heijn has recognised the value of open, standards-based voice software and we expect a timely, successful transition to voice in all of its distribution centres.
About Albert Heijn
Albert Heijn pioneered the development of the supermarket in The Netherlands. The company operates almost 750 stores in a number of formats: the everyday supermarket, the larger Albert Heijn XL, the convenience stores Ah To Go and the internet delivery service Albert.nl. Almost 200 of the Albert Heijn stores are run by franchisees.
Vanboxtel has been developing logistic solutions since 1989. Vanboxtel's core business is the development and implementation of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) for companies operating in the logistics and production sectors. Vanboxtel also designs and implement solutions for transport management, voice picking, mobile vehicle computers, mechanisation, EDI and RFID. This can be accomplished with or without the use of middleware and mobile computers.
Voxware, Inc. (Nasdaq: VOXW) provides open, standards-based software for speech-based logistics that optimise the full spectrum of warehouse operations for greater accuracy, productivity and flexibility in supply chain execution. Voxwares corporate headquarters are in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, with operating offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Germany.