The Age of Voice in Maintenance Processes

Productivity and efficiency are characteristics present in the environments of companies that have logistics assets, which are forced to maximize their productive capacities and reduce operating costs. The condition and availability of said assets acquires a degree of importance depending on their participation in the success of the operation or business.

For Maintenance areas, this represents a constant search for new and innovative ways to increase the reliability, availability and useful life of your industrial plants and equipment, always through effective cost control.

The planning and scheduling of maintenance work for large volumes of equipment and facilities has seen systems such as Voice Inspections a way to streamline processes, reduce errors, anticipate revisions and, above all, capture increasingly complex and independent procedures.

How does it work?

Through voice commands, the user guarantees continuity in the standard operating procedures because he has his hands and eyes free while avoiding the cumbersome task of documenting.

What advantages does it offer?

  • Simplified documentation by completing observations and documentation of findings while performing the task
  • Improved compliance, complying with the standard of operating procedures (SOPs) ensuring standardized and constant processes
  • Process improvement through the use of best practices
    Improved security by enabling hands and eyes free at the inspection point
  • Fast and guided training thanks to standardized structured and step-by-step documentation
  • Increased staff retention allowing technicians to be more productive and accurate

In a case study, for example, in the inspection of a company’s own trucks and transport fleets, a total reduction in the inspection time of its assets of almost 25% was projected after using voice technology.

To have more information about this solution and to speak to our experts, write to us at

Seven Keys Aspects the Manufacturing and Distribution Industries Must Ensure When Choosing a WMS

In recent years, customers have become increasingly demanding and are asking manufacturers more. Customers want orders to be delivered faster, more precisely and more tailored to their needs, all at a lower cost.

Manufacturers and distributors are expected to deliver orders more quickly than in the past. While many companies remain linked to processes, practices, and systems that perpetuate these warehouse management problems, others recognize these challenges as opportunities to strengthen their competitive positions in the market. They are taking warehouse management to new levels by adopting advanced solutions that help them deliver what is requested perfectly, reducing labor costs and maximizing the use of space and equipment, as is the case with WMS systems.

Beyond the limitations of existing ERP systems, (Enterprise Resource Planning) advanced warehouse management solutions position companies to excel operationally and drive profitable growth in today’s hyper-competitive markets. The key capabilities of an advanced warehouse management solution include:


1. Inventory Management
This function allows identifying all the materials to be used in the production process to be stored on site, as well as each and every one of the products located for sale, the analysis of the spaces, the characteristics of the items to be stored, your needs preservation, its fragility, types of packaging, rotation and transport, among other characteristics.

Depending on this, the way to identify each and every one of them, their precise location, the way to mobilize them to group the orders and their loading system in the transport are chosen, with the idea of ​​having all the details that they are going to program. to complete and deliver orders, combined with product rotation according to the FEFO / FIFO (First Expires, First Out) / (First In, First Out) principles.

2. Order management
This function allows transactions to be processed quickly and perfectly, regardless of where they are carried out, since the WMS provides detailed, real-time information on each of the products, their quantities stored, scheduled manufacturing, their specifications and even sales history.

3. Work and task management
In this process, flow analyzes are generated, balancing workloads and tasks, depending on the technical and human resources available. This allows for greater productivity, in general, by grouping work orders and locations, with similar or complementary attributes, in batches and waves so that orders are received, also carrying out both picking and packaging, so that they can be shipped timely.

4. RF and voice direction
They help improve productivity through the use of hands-free connections with advanced voice recognition technology, for ordering, replenishment, and receipts, among others, without the need for cumbersome lists, labels and scanners, greatly improving the productivity and accuracy of the order.

5. Workforce management
Maximize worker performance in the warehouse or distribution center through workforce planning. Improves the ability to monitor work and provide real-time feedback to workers and supervisors during picking, packing, and shipping activities.

6. Slotting
This function allows to increase productivity by minimizing the movements of the operators, determining which are the high-rotation products and placing them at face height. This strategy minimizes the disruptions caused by variability in demand, allowing locations to be adjusted according to seasonality, special promotions or changes in customer order patterns.

7. Kitting
It is the way to add value to the product before delivery, considered in many places as “maquila”. It is viewed as adopting deferral strategies that allow for light transformation of products in the distribution center to accommodate customer requests.

WMS for every need
Huge gains in warehouse performance can be achieved by implementing an advanced warehouse management system. Manufacturers and distributors investing in an advanced warehouse management solution can strengthen order management, increase labor productivity, and maximize their use of warehouse assets

As customer demands increase and supply chains grow more and more globally, companies must drive gains in warehouse productivity and performance to avoid overwhelming costs. These investments also promise benefits in terms of increased warehouse visibility, agility, and productivity. In addition, they lay the foundation for profitable growth and for the success of today’s and tomorrow’s hypercompetitive markets.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Fundación Segundos de Vida

Cerca Technology joins the work of the Fundación Segundos de Vida, supporting the families of children with cancer in Colombia.

In Cerca Technology we recognize that integrality is one of the keys to success, that is why from Talent Management it was launched the Corporate Social Responsibility policy to demonstrate the commitment as a company in positively impacting social, environmental and economic improvement.

Within the framework of this policy, projects such as Eco-laborador are being carried out that seek to promote habits of care for natural resources inside and outside the company, as well as the relationship with Fundación Segundos de Vida, a non-profit organization that carries out a continuous accompaniment, legal and psychological support, and a family basket for hundreds of children suffering from cancer and their families, who are going through difficult situations due to this disease.

With the support of Cerca collaborators who have added positively to this great initiative, we have established different activities in order to support the foundation. Monthly we make an economic donation, 50% contributions from employees and an additional 50% paid by the company.

Likewise, Cerca has supported with other social initiatives this year: Blood donation; donation of toiletries; volunteers for hospital parties and plastic caps collection points which are delivered to the foundation for later sale. With the money collected, food vouchers are bought for the mothers of children who receive treatments in hospitals.

We know that this is the beginning of many activities that we will support as a company, and we thank the collaborators and managers for making this possible. We invite our business partners to join these initiatives that certainly generate value and also positively impact our lives.


Julieth Giraldo

Human Talent Coordinator

Cerca Technology


Collaborative Planning: Win Together or Die Alone

Interpreting market data is the vital work for which demand planning must ensure, it greatly improves responsiveness and positively impacts consumers, inventory levels, marketing team strategies and consequently income. However, this task is not easy to do, because today’s consumer wants the same experience, availability and assortment online, in stores and through different channels.

Additionally, companies must understand that the consumer is unique, that is, a group of people between 25 and 30 years cannot be considered to have a purchase pattern, even if they fit in the same age range, which is known today as True Demand.

Notice that your company is part of an integrated value chain

Organizations that thrive have learned that they are part of an integrated value chain and that success comes from collaboration in capturing, managing, and treating data. For some experts, this is a formalized process that allows companies to reduce the whip effect present in demand planning and, on the contrary, favors the joint work with business partners in favor of collaboration planning and forecast replenishment (CPFR) in a structured way. It also promotes the satisfaction of customer needs through the efficient use of the skills and knowledge of suppliers and other business partners.

6 steps to achieve integrated collaboration

To achieve synergy between common areas that business partners have such as logistics, operations and demand planning, there are six key aspects to consider (see image 1):

  1. Develop a front-end agreement and purpose
  2. Build a forecast collaboratively
  3. Structure a collaboration order plan
  4. Define order generation and inventory plan
  5. Ensuring the fulfillment of the order
  6. Assess the collaborative performance of partners


In short, it consists of winning together or dying alone. Even if partners do not implement a formal CPFR process, any trusted environment and collaborative interaction can greatly benefit each of the business partners. The companies that are prospering today and those that are striving to keep up with the market, do so by working together towards a team vision in the collaboration of supply and demand plans.

What is the Difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

To clarify this topic, and understand the difference between Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is useful to begin by mentioning some simple definitions.

The AI ​​refers essentially to the ability of a high-tech or computerized device to simulate the human mind. AI software routines and systems provide what appears to be logic, memory and decision making in these devices. As its name implies, artificial intelligence can be interpreted in a general way as the incorporation of human intelligence into machines.

For example, these machines can be used to move and manipulate objects, language recognition and problem solving. Today, the routine of AI is in an increasingly wide range of consumer electronic products, from Bluetooth speakers and smartphones to portable devices of all kinds.

Machine Learning, as the name implies, can be interpreted in a general way as empowering computer systems with the ability to “learn”.

The purpose of ML is to allow machines to learn by themselves using the data provided and make accurate predictions. Then, instead of software routines coded with specific instructions to perform a particular task, Machine Learning is a way to “train” an algorithm so you can learn how to do it. “Training” involves providing enormous amounts of data to the algorithm and allowing the algorithm to adjust and improve.

As an example of ML we can see how the vision of computers has been improved, to recognize an object or image.

At this point, then we can say that ML is a subset of AI, in fact, it is simply a technique within it.

In the industrial aspect, the AI ​​can be applied to predict when the machines will need maintenance or to analyze the manufacturing processes to obtain great efficiency gains, saving millions of dollars.

On the consumer side, instead of having to adapt to technology, technology can adapt to us. Instead of clicking, writing and searching, we can simply ask a machine what we need. We could ask for information such as weather or an action such as preparing the house for bedtime (turning off the thermostat, closing the doors, turning off the lights, etc.).

Finally, it is also true that ML represents currently the most promising path towards artificial intelligence.

What is Change Management?

The Change Management concept refers to a series of activities that are developed during the transformation processes to help concretize the adoption of the change.

In the context of technological transformation projects, it involves considering a series of impacts on processes and people, which must be addressed to support the success of the project and obtain the expected benefits.

From the strategic perspective, it is necessary to validate the relevance of the project within the framework of the organizational objectives.

From the perspective of the processes, what should be changed? What improvement? And above all, how do we measure it?

From the perspective of people it is necessary to consider that the adoption of change is a process with stages and that throughout the project people should be provided with space for each of these stages.


The management of the change and its two components should be understood as a parallel project that supports the implementation project of the tool.

What are the change management activities for a software implementation project?

Change management needs vary from project to project, so a diagnosis must be made that includes an understanding of the organizational culture, the identification of those involved and impacted, the measurement of willingness to change and a deep understanding of AS. and the TO BE of the processes.

Once the change drivers and the map of the involved and impacted have been identified, a plan is drawn up that usually includes awareness-raising activities, a complete communication plan (hearings, messages, channels and media), and training activities. in technical skills how soft skills.

Why is change management important in projects?

Because when it is not considered, there is a risk of impacting duration, quality and cost of the project.

This aspect is often left aside and the importance of allocating the budget of the project is reduced, also, sometimes it is reduced to few and unstructured communication actions that lack context and intention.

However, many post-implementation studies point to the management of change as a fundamental factor in the success of the project.

It is then essential to plan and timely execute a change management project that considers the specific needs of the project, that ensures a team with the required skills and an organization aware of the need and the benefits that the change represents.

Autor: Aimara Fagúndez, Professional Services SOLA Manager at Cerca Technology


What are the Critical Points to Consider When Designing the Replenishment Strategy in my Distribution Center?

Replenishment is basically defined as the process in which the preparation or picking1 locations are periodically supplied to complete their capacity with reserve stock, generally from pallet type locations. If preparation locations are used in the warehouse, they must be stocked regularly. The quantities supplied are based on the total capacity of the preparation location and the quantity of the article prepared for that location.

There are several types of replenishment that you can consider implementing. Some of the most common are:

  • Normal Replenishment: This type of replenishment is the most common and generally works by bringing a full pallet of merchandise from higher rack levels to a first level preparation location. These locations are usually a little larger (usually the difference is in their height) so that the so-called “security mattress” exists and prevent the location from being left empty before the replenishment is completed.
  • Cascade Replenishment: These replenishments occur when a second replenishment can be made from one preparation location to another. For example, the first replenishment is made from a reserve location to a box picking location and a second replenishment is generated from the box picking location to a unit picking location.
  • Replenishment of cherry pick: This replenishment called cherry pick by some software manufacturers WMS (Warehouse Management System), is very useful when you have pick locations in mezzanines that are small lightweight bookshelves or “bines” among others. In this model, a partial pick up of merchandise is made in different reserve locations to consolidate a “mixed pallet” of products and then take it to the pick area to deconsolidate it and fill the picking locations in a logical sequence and route. This method helps reduce both routes and equipment utilization as well as product availability times.

Because of what has been described above, replenishments are definitely a useful tool to complement your daily operations; however, keep in mind the following recommendations so that they do not become a double-edged sword:

  1. For replenishments to work correctly, you must know in detail the information of your ABC products by logistic rotation. The number of visits to the location and the units or boxes dispatched in a certain period of time are key so that the replenishments are generated in an adequate manner. High rotation vs. Very small locations or few locations can exponentially increase the number of refills that you probably will not have the ability to handle.
  2. Assignment of the safety mattress and resupply capacity. It is important to find the right numbers for the so-called safety cushion or reorder point and the amount that will replenish at the location. If the security mattress or the replenishment quantity is very low, it is possible that your location will be left empty before completing the next replenishment, generating delays in the selection of orders.
  3. Take into account the availability of the adequate equipment to complete the refills. The most common equipment used to execute re-stockings are the forklifts, the trilateral and the order picker (for cherry pick), in some cases complemented with pallets for cascade or cherry pick type. If you do not have the necessary equipment to perform all your refills, these can become a stone in the shoe since storage and selection operations will be delayed. If you do not have enough equipment, you can think of different strategies such as generating workgroups to execute all the pending refills before starting the next work shift or the next wave launch (order groups).
  4. Over-allocation or so-called “overallocation”: Some WMS systems provide functions such as over-allocation in which product is basically assigned from a picking location even if the material is not yet there (the replenishment has not been completed). It is important to make sure that even when the order planner has made the launch of the wave, the replenishment has been executed before the selection operator arrives to execute its task. Otherwise, it will have to wait for the replenishment to run or skip that task, which will force it to return later, affecting the flow of the logical sequence of picking and the time of selection of the orders.
  5. If you have implemented a WMS, the implementation of a Slotting module is recommended to optimize the layout of your picking locations, the time of selection and preparation of orders and the replenishments generated.

In a world-class distribution center after picking, replenishment is one of the most labor-intensive tasks, accounting for around 30% of the demand for resources. Replenishments are a very useful tool when optimizing your process flow, but at the same time they must be programmed and executed with due care to avoid inconveniences and negative impacts on the operation.

A selection or picking location is a location assigned to a SKU (usually one location is associated per item, but it is not the norm) to facilitate picking. This location is generally replenished from height or reserve locations.

Voice Technology, Performance beyond Operation in Picking Tasks

At present, the reduction of operating costs, the adequate management of the workforce and the level of customer satisfaction are some of the most important indicators with which the efficiency of business management is being measured. From the logistics area, the reengineering of the processes and the productivity provided by the systems applied to the distribution centers are, without a doubt, the greatest contribution that the logistics area makes to achieving these objectives.

The voice is par excellence the most effective form of communication, which is why the implementation of technological tools based on Voice technology, which allow to perform the daily tasks in the distribution center more quickly and accurately, are ideal at the moment of reduce costs in the company.

Vocollect Voice is an innovative technology designed specifically to optimize the workflow in the distribution centers and, although initially its use was oriented to the tasks of picking, the benefits generated in these tasks and the need to extend the levels of performance in other processes such as reception, storage, loading and unloading, has led to extend the reach of this technology to each of the processes within the distribution center. The companies that already use this technology have reported improvements between 15% and 30% in the productivity of the Distribution Center and levels of accuracy above 99.5%.

The implementation of Vocollect voice technology has a positive impact on Order Preparation, Batch Control, Product Traceability, Replenishment, Cross-docking, Transfer, Audit and Control, Cyclic Counts, among other tasks.

The Vocollect Voice technology, therefore, represents a competitive advantage in the logistics operation, over other companies.

Author: Cerca Technology

Read also: Voice Technology | Good Practices in the Implementation Process of a Distribution Center

The Logistics Management Indicators

One of the determining factors for any process, whether logistic or production, is carried out successfully, is to implement an adequate system of indicators to measure the management thereof, so that indicators can be implemented in strategic positions that reflect an optimal result in the medium and long term, through a good information system that allows to measure the different stages of the logistic process.

Currently, our companies have large gaps in the measurement of the performance of logistics activities of supply and distribution internally (processes) and external (satisfaction of the final customer). Undoubtedly, this constitutes a barrier for top management, in the identification of the main problems and bottlenecks that arise in the logistics chain, and which ostensibly affect the competitiveness of companies in the markets and the gradual loss of their products. customers.

Everything can be measured and therefore everything can be controlled, there lies the success of any operation, we cannot forget: “what is not measured, cannot be managed”. The proper use and application of these indicators and the programs of productivity and continuous improvement in the logistic processes of the companies, will be a base of generation of sustainable competitive advantages and therefore of their positioning in front of the national and international competition.

  • Identify and take action on operational problems
  • Measure the degree of competitiveness of the company against its national and international competitors
  • Satisfy customer expectations by reducing delivery time and optimizing the service provided.
  • Improve the use of resources and assigned assets, to increase productivity and effectiveness in the different activities towards the final client.
  • Reduce expenses and increase operational efficiency.
  • Compare with companies in the sector in the local and global scope (Benchmarking) 

Indicators should only be developed for those activities or processes that are relevant to the company’s logistical objective. For the above, the following steps should be taken into account:

  • Identify the logistics process to be measured
  • Conceptualize each step of the process
  • Define the objective of the indicator and each variable to measure
  • Collect information inherent to the process
  • Quantify and measure the variables
  • Establish the indicator to control
  • Compare with the global indicator and the internal competition
  • Follow and feedback the measurements periodically
  • Continuously improve the indicator



Technologies that Allow to Generate and Increase Productivity within the Distribution Center

Where do you see that you can support the increase in productivity, not only from what is now known as Voice Picking?

For more than 20 years Honeywell has worked in Voice Picking as its fundamental pillar of productivity. Nowadays we understand that, although this principle placed us at the top of the technologies in general, it is a paradigm, because it is believed today that we can execute in a more efficient way our assortment process based on everything that concerns the voice technology within the distribution centers.

Why is it a Paradigm?

I return a little to understand the way we see technology before we understand it. This comes in recognition of the operation based on process flows.

What is a workflow? Understood as the study of the operational aspects of the logistics activity, it is the beginning of everything within the Distribution Center: how the tasks are structured, how they are carried out, what their correlative order is, how they are synchronized, how the information that supports the tasks and how the compliance with them is monitored. Thus, the workflows within the distribution center are based on the study of them from the processes of entry, storage, cyclical counting, inventory, assortment etc.

For us at Honeywell, the principle of taking the voice to a Distribution Center, goes beyond the assortment or the Picking by Voice, is to understand all the workflows that arise in the distribution center and support them with voice technology. This is something we call the Talking Store.

The Talking Store

Many refer to the Talking Warehouse as the voice-enabled store and, in short, are the different areas in which voice technology can be applied to achieve greater business performance. This is the next generation in the management of merchandise handling in the distribution center and warehouse.

Today, many managers are reviewing the processes in their warehouse and are betting on voice technology as an enabler of productivity. In a talking store, for example, there are fewer alphanumeric keyboards and bar code scanning is only a secondary support. The argument in favor of voice technology is simple: quantitatively, the voice provides measurable business value.

What other things can we do, leveraging the success and experience of using the Voice in a Distribution Center?

Understanding that the principle of everything is the workflow, looking at the supply chain, we could say that we are in a previous link to what is the demand of the market. What happens if we go to the beginning of the chain? This is where we have the raw material, in this case who we are going to satisfy is not the market, but the production lines and finally the raw material warehouse, which has process flows that resemble those of the distribution center. finished product.

Another aspect is that in order to meet the demand for the products to be delivered, it is required that the transport is in good condition, which is known as an inspection and maintenance plan inside the talking warehouse. And in the face of retail, to be able to supply the gondola or the product that is not found, we can also leverage the principle of the Voice to supply products, take note of the non-existent product, make price changes in the gondola, among others process flows.

These are to mention, some of the uses and applications that we see in order to optimize distribution centers with Voice technology, to convert them into Talking Warehouse.