Welcome to the Business IT feature, with articles about the latest equipment and solutions to help your business become more information driven.

chazTo become ‘wired to win’ in today’s data-dominated world, first you need to be inspired by reading features like this one. And second, you need to turn your IT provider from a simple supplier into a partner in your success by working together to identify your specific needs.

The recent integration of Honeywell, the logistics IT experts, with Vocollect, the voice picking specialists, is a timely development in this important area, bringing together two leading companies with a shared interest in supply chains and finding better ways of working for their customers.

Talking to Darrell Williams, Honeywell’s Regional Director, Northern Europe and South Africa, the merger with Vocollect means not only that Honeywell’s product solutions now combine printers, RFID and all major data collection methods and voice, but its approach is different too. Honeywell’s focus these days is on serving the customer, analysing their processes, looking at their specialisms and supercharging workers with the right solution, backed by training and service support through their network of certified partners.

In Darrell’s experience, most businesses Honeywell work with don’t operate anywhere near maximum efficiency, so the appropriate technology needs to be used to redeploy people to have more value, do more and be better utilised, and get it right first time:

“Success with business technology comes down to getting value out of the grey.  Analysis by expert partners is the most important step.”

Voice is now the central technology in logistics, as Darrel sees it; it’s the most effective way to work, but he recognises that you also need Auto ID and RFID in certain circumstances:

“The more times items are handled, the more you need voice. Voice consistently proves more accurate than bar code scanners; workers don’t lose focus anything like as much, and you can train them much more.”

He mentions case studies in food manufacturing and wholesaling in the UK, where workers have typically become 25-30% more effective. And in cold store studies in less developed South Africa, he talks of 95% productivity increases and staff achieving 99.98% accuracy. “The return on investment with this technology comes from cutting errors in picking, and reducing or eliminating audits. We have workers spending large amounts of time doing non-productive work, which is easy to improve with voice, and they end up driving the productivity themselves. Generally workers are apprehensive when they switch to voice picking, but they all end up wanting it.”

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