topVOX Limited is the UK business within the global Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG) which has grown from a Voice Solutions Provider to a Total Solutions Provider for all of your Logistics Hardware, Software and Support needs.
topVOX is still ‘The Choice for Voice’ with the world’s most technically advanced industrial Voice solution, Lydia®. However, we also supply and maintain a range of hardware from all leading manufacturers including our own Voxter® Voice Wearables as well as provide world leading WMS’s and TMS solutions through EPG and Partner companies.
Tim Just, Managing Director at topVOX, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
WLN – What are your best-known products and services?
The Lydia Voice Suite with the Voxter voice terminal and the Voxter Scan Elite back of hand Scanner as well as the Lydia VoiceWear are our best known products in the UK. However internationally we are also very well known for the LFS supply chain execution software which consists of WMS, TMS, Material Flow Controller, Yard and Dock Management and many other modules.
WLN – Which market sectors and countries are your customers in?
As a group we operate globally however topVOX operates in the UK and Ireland. Our customers come from a range of sectors and the key sectors are: 3PL, Retail, Wholesale, Automotive, Aerospace and e-commerce.
WLN – Which ones are growing fastest?
We are seeing some large growth in all sectors and for topVOX particularly, both Automotive and e-commerce have been the biggest areas of growth. Our largest UK ecommerce customer has been growing at the rate of over 20% p.a. for the last few years.
WLN – Who are your major customers and what do you do for them?
We have a very fast growing parcel delivery company that uses Lydia Voice. Not for picking, they don’t do that, but rather for sorting and moving product around their Hubs and Depots. This is a unique solution that has been developed over time form a Proof of Concept to a small parcel sort through to now anything that used to be manually handled being controlled by voice. The customer initially worked with us to learn how the technology could be used to using it and learning from it themselves to finally jumping in whole heartedly and deploying everywhere they feel it could work.
In e-commerce we have designed a range of bespoke Lydia Voice software solutions with their in-house team to meet their everchanging requirements and we are now bringing them new cutting edge developments to enable even further reach across their whole supply chain.
WLN – How do your products benefit your customers’ businesses?
The benefits experienced by our customers are more than we ever promote to them and are driven by our ethos of Freedom, Flexibility and Reliability. Typically the recognized benefits are; Accuracy, Productivity, Visibility, Control, and generally Process Optimization. Other benefits are; ‘ease of use’ and ‘simplified training’, software and hardware that best meets their needs, flexible nonconstraining contracts, flexible service offerings etc.
WLN – Why should customers choose you as their main supplier in your area?
At topVOX we have always believed in flexibility with integration and in deployment. As such we have developed simple tools to integrate with various systems in many different ways. Many WMS providers and even customers can and have used these tools to write their own voice solutions which allows them full flexibility and control of their operations without the need to have ongoing consultancy costs from us.
WLN – What’s business been like in the past year? How have conditions changed over this period and how have you reacted?
Business in general has been good for topVOX and indeed for the group as whole.
We have invested hugely in the R&D as well as Infrastructure in addition to staff with a view to continuing to grow the business globally.
We are extending offices in Germany with new ‘state of the art’ AR and VR systems to support customers in the design and testing of warehouse layouts as well as setting up new enhanced Maintenance facilities with our Technical Solutions Centre at our Head Office.
We have invested heavily in the teams globally with both new staff and enhanced training for current staff.
WLN – What were the business highlights for you in the last 12 months?
The topVOX business in the UK has doubled again year on year for the last 5 years now and we are expecting the same again next year.
WLN – What’s been your most outstanding recent project?
Our most outstanding project in 2017 is an automotive project where our new ‘Lydia Pick Manager’ is being deployed across multiple sites in multiple countries for one the world’s biggest automotive OEMs.
WLN – How have you fine-tuned your offering in the last 12 months and why?
There are 2 main drivers for the developments brought out this year and they are firstly ‘Security’ and secondly ‘Global trends in Cloud Solutions’ for multi-site, international and Global companies.
WLN – What recent enhancements have you made in customer service?
This is a key area for topVOX and we have ‘bolstered’ the support teams both here in the UK and in our international operations.
In our Head Office we have restructured the Support and Maintenance teams and are launching a new global ‘Lydia Care’ solution early 2018 and we have doubled the teams in both the USA and UK with more planned for 2018.
WLN – What new products have you brought out?
We were the pioneers of ‘Plug & Play’ voice solutions worldwide and have many of these deployed around the world and many are award winning solutions.
We have now improved on this with our new Lydia Pick Manager solution which is again a Plug & Play solution however this is a cloud based tool meaning that it can be deployed very simply and quickly and can be used for any size of operation whereas our original P&P solution was site specific which can be used across many sites and many processes.
It is designed to be fully multi-modal so if a customer wants to only deploy Voice then that is fine; if they wish to deploy Voice Picking with Scanning for Goods In, for example, then the Lydia PickManager can do this with its existing tools set.
WLN – What factors do you see affecting your business in the coming year? How will you turn these into opportunities?
Mobility solutions are absolutely having an impact on voice solutions. Many voice solution licenses are ‘fixed’ to specific devices limiting the flexibility of the technology. This has never been our ethos. Our licenses are hardware independent and will always be so. We can and have deployed solutions on PCs, Laptops, Smart Phones, tablets, smart watches and smart glasses using a mix of technologies including iOS, android and various versions of windows in the same operation.
We are constantly embracing these technologies and seeing what our customers are doing with a view to helping them.
WLN – Are you planning to branch into any new areas, target new customers and take on more people?
We are already using Voice in ‘Checking’ processes for ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ as well as other processes. However what is really exciting are the endless possibilities that rapidly growing and expanding technologies are throwing up. So for me the key is: wherever a process can be ‘mapped’ it can be voice enabled.
WLN – Are you investing in new premises and extra staff? What about staff development and training?
Training has been a critical part of the success in 2017 and will be even more important in 2018 as we bring on more products and services. This will inevitably mean more staff in the UK, both Technical and Sales and we are also looking at new premises as the business grows.
WLN – Are you involved in any major trade shows or other industry events over the next year?
We are exhibiting at the Intralogistex show on 27th and 28th February which will showcase a completely new technology which will be a game changer in our core product offering.
We are sponsoring the UKWA National Conference on the 7th and 8th March where we will be showcasing our new product offerings.
WLN – What big news from topVOX can our readers look forward to seeing in Warehouse & Logistics News in 2018?
We are already working on the next generation of voice solutions and the key here is in the power of the recognition engine alongside the development of increasingly smart devices and hardware. The more powerful the recognition engine the more you can do with it. Then there is additional logic within the engine itself and how that can be developed in a way to make it simpler and easier to use in more and more complex processes.
WLN – And finally, if you had to sum up your company in a tweet what would it be?
Creating a Smarter Voice Logistics World with Lydia Voice (https://www.lydia-voice.com). Benefit from Lydia® Voice the world’s most advanced system for voice-directed and ergonomic work processes.
01327 261 050