Modern technologies are beginning to impact literally every industry. And while most augmented reality (AR) activities in the industry are still in their infancy, we know from our own experience that the first implementations are the most important. They are what make a much wider audience aware of the benefits of AR. This is also true for the logistics industry, which seems to be much less industrial, but in practice, just like other industries, focuses on quality or efficiency.
Colloquially speaking, the logistics industry is a term taken from the military and is currently enjoying a dizzying career. Nowadays, when time and money count, logistics allows efficient use of these two “raw materials”. It is also closely linked to all phases of a product’s life: the idea phase, production, sales, marketing, and distribution. In retail, e-commerce, transportation and healthcare, logistics has become the foundation upon which these market sectors can operate efficiently. Many companies are following and adapting their current procedures to the current tools offered by modern Industry 4.0 technologies, including: machine learning, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence including augmented reality.
Augmented reality at the service of logistics
The logistics industry is a very broad industry. Therefore, the solutions using AR technology described below apply to many areas of logistics – starting with storage of goods, planning of storage areas or goods, optimization of transportation or documentation such as waybills. Augmented reality can support at least some areas of the logistics industry, and its optimization contributes significantly to increasing work efficiency, reducing the number of errors, and thus improving quality control and efficiency. It is also worth mentioning the minimization of time spent on training employees in connection with taking on new responsibilities.
The manufacturing industry is becoming bolder in using augmented reality (AR) based solutions. Both in the context of rapid assembly and intelligent equipment repair or maintenance. You can read more about it here:
Intelligent warehouse planning using augmented reality
The biggest warehouse problem is planning space so that it can be used optimally. After all, you need to fit as many goods as possible in a limited space, and they often need to be stored under certain conditions.
And if so, before the implementation works, should you check for yourself whether the planned development of the space is effective? With augmented reality it is possible! The technology itself allows us to place 3D holograms in the real space, and in this way we can plan the entire storage area even before it is opened. Even more… AR allows us to plan not only racks, tools, and other equipment, but also the goods themselves. By sending packages with the appropriate dimensions, employees can use the space much earlier and be prepared before picking up the goods.
AR and intelligent storage of goods
Large warehouses have in common the need to quickly find the right goods in the thicket of many packages. And only those who have not completed the order can tell how much time you need to spend on preparing the package for shipment. However, as it turns out, this process can be sped up significantly with augmented reality, allowing warehouse workers to issue many more goods in less time.
So, let’s imagine a situation where our employee needs to finish a shipment. In the warehouse (which, of course, should be organized, properly divided and grouped), there are sometimes situations when an employee is forced to find finished goods much less often. This, in turn, makes it difficult for our specialist to find the item.
A case study
Today, logistics companies can provide their employees with comprehensive knowledge of where a particular good is stored – with the precision of knowing exactly where the shelf and racks are. Thanks to RealWear’s Extended Reality and RealWear glasses, the same employee can be automatically instructed in which direction to go and complete the order much faster, significantly affecting the efficiency of the employee himself as well as the quality of the services provided, for example, by courier companies. In fact, this type of solution is already used by the well-known courier brand DHL, which officially boasts of the benefits that the use of Extended Reality brings to its daily work.
What still needs to be noted is that we don’t have to use only RealWear glasses – we can also use Extended Reality on other mobile devices such as tablet or phone. From our experience – based on cooperation with big brands – we know that customers value the “free hands” of their specialists, so RealWear glasses are currently one of the better solutions.
Efficient information management with augmented reality
Logistics in the 21st century still focuses on paper-based information management. Yes, some data can already be entered into the system and then made available to other entities in electronic form, but unfortunately most companies operating in the logistics industry (or having such a department in their structure) are still not fully exploiting the fruits of digital transformation.
Companies operating in the logistics sector, despite having systems in place to store data and facilitate its processing, end their information management process on paper anyway. In other words, all data from the implemented IT solution end up being printed and sometimes even require additional written supplements, e.g., waybills, forwarding invoices, WZ and PZ documents, damage reports or pallet receipts. Moreover, the manual completion of such documents increases the risk of potential, often very costly, errors that every company should avoid.
Today, augmented reality facilitates the management of digital information. An employee can update all the necessary documents without using his hands – only his voice – and then send them to the right addressees or save them (after the employee updates or issues a new document) in the IT system. Not only can an employee literally be led “by the hand” through the entire process of editing or creating the required documentation – in such a situation, even a less experienced employee can do it! – which speeds up work efficiency. In addition, the solution with AR technology significantly contributes to reducing the number of potential errors.