Vangard Hits the Floors with New Shaw Industries Partnership
Today, Vangard Voice Systems, a provider of enterprise voice solutions, and Shaw Industries Group, a flooring manufacturer that makes $5 billion in annual sales and employs around 28,000 people, went public with a partnership that will see Shaw using Vangard’s Mobile Voice Platform (MVP).
MVP is a device-independent environment that speech-enables a given host, allowing for hands-free and eyes-free use. According to a joint press release from the two firms, Shaw expects that MVP will lead to increased efficiency and safety since workers will be free to look around their environment without having to engage with a graphical user interface or keypad. MVP is also expected to bring cost cuts.
“What they saw in the value of the technology was that it gave them control to utilize voice wherever they thought it was needed in the supply chain,” says Dan Villanueva, vice president of marketing at Vangard.
“They didn’t have to change their proven business processes to accommodate the value proposition of voice. They’re speaking to the issue of using older technologies that require you to replace technology or rebuild it,” he adds.
Vangard’s technology is independent of where the application resides, whether that be the Web, server, a device, bit client, etc.
Villanueva says that Shaw will eventually use MVP in a number of applications. The company will begin with warehouse cluster picking, and then move on to a cycle-counting application that will provide statistical data about inventory. Further down the line, once Shaw’s internal staff has become more proficient using the technology, it is considering expanding the Vangard deployment to include dispatch and delivery, vehicle inspections, yard management, and transportation applications—essentially everything up and down the supply chain.
The deal is only one of what Villanueva says will be more future announcements of partnerships with other Fortune 100 and 500 companies.
“Something we’ve learned in the last 18 months is that the adoption process of voice technologies for the business world begins at the enterprise level,” he says, “because the enterprises, the largest companies, are the ones with the greatest sense of urgency to cut costs and optimize their systems.”
The integration of Vangard’s technology into Shaw’s system is being handled by Excalibur Integrated Systems. Villanueva says based on the experiences at Shaw, Excalibur is talking to its other customers about Vangard’s voice solutions. This is how much of Vangard’s business actually begins, Villanueva suggests.
“We’re a small company, but we have very good partners,” he says. “Wavelink is a great partner. They have 8,500 enterprise customers worldwide, and they are our master distributor for the [automatic identification and data capture] market. Their team is bringing us into their enterprise customers and the partners that they have with their enterprise customers. There’s no magic dust about how Vangard gets in. It’s our business partners.”
Magic dust or not, if all goes well for Vangard and Shaw in this deployment, the partnership may bear many similar fruits down the line.