Roger Byford

For a number of years after its start-up in 1987, Vocollect struggled to find its market. In 2001, the company that offers voice recognition technology solutions for applications in warehousing operations made the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s list of the fastest growing technology companies for the third year straight.

Roger Byford, Vocollect’s president and CEO and one of the its founding partners, acknowledges that the economic slump could blunt the company’s performance this year, but he’s nonetheless confident that Vocollect will continue to grow. One reason: The company has barely scratched the surface of the warehousing and distribution industry. And another: It secured a $12.5 million round of venture investment in 2001.

Most of those funds are being used to beef up its tech support and on-site support for Vocollect customers.

The company scored a couple of big wins this year, one at Perishable Distributors of Iowa of Ankeny, Iowa. Giant Eagle installed a Vocollect system at its Butler Refrigerated Meats facility in Butler and plans to follow that with similar systems at its other warehousing facilities.

Larry Baldauf, Giant Eagle’s senior vice president of distribution logistics, describes the installation as “a home run.”

And as far a Vocollect’s stature on the technology council’s list of top performers, Byford offers this: “I’m very, very confident that we’ll be back next year.”

Ray Marano