Today, warehouses are not only product storage and shipping hubs. They also offer additional services varying from order compilation to product labeling, repacking, and repair.
DHL research shows that warehousing operations account for about 20% of all logistics costs. And the picking process accounts for 55-65% of the total warehousing costs.
Further, as the process is still heavily manual, it is slow and error-prone. And picking work is often undertaken by temporary employees. That requires extra effort to train new arrivals.
If you aim to make the picking process as cost-effective, fast, and error-free as possible, then an augmented reality app is the key. For example, stats show that constant picking validation can decrease errors by as much as 40%.
In this article, you will find out how to increase order processing and improve warehouse safety by developing augmented reality applications for warehouse logistics. We will also discuss the issues of device choice, AR training, and the integration of AR applications with your in-house systems.
Below are some benefits companies in the warehouse logistics field gain by implementing augmented reality applications.
You already know that item location and picking account for about 60% of warehouse operations. Now, let’s discover how using an augmented reality headset will accelerate your employees’ work and reduce warehousing costs by at least 25%.
AR navigation is better suited for large and medium-sized warehouses, where employees move around by warehouse vehicles. Further, it speeds up the work of new employees, who are not yet familiar with the warehouse.
In a nutshell, AR navigation works as follows:
The augmented reality app contains data on the layout of the warehouse and the placement of goods. First, you should load the list of items from the in-house systems. Next, the application analyzes the item code group in the list. Then, it points to the locations where the items of the code group are stored. Once an employee picks an item, the app reads the item barcode to verify it to minimize mistakes.
Note, this feature is suitable not only for large but also small warehouses.
Using the barcode scanner feature, you can turn even the most basic smart device into a barcode scanner. Employees scan full shelves of products to effortlessly find, track, and decode several barcodes at once with a single tap on their device. The AR app generates overlays right on the smart device screen that show the locations of the desired items. This enables warehouse staff to fulfill orders quickly.
After scanning an item’s barcode, the app communicates with the integrated systems to receive details of the item. Thus, the data is always complete, up-to-date, and accurate. This feature is also ideal for warehouse audits and the preparation of orders for shipping docks.
Picking orders occupy about 60% of all DHL warehousing operations. Thus, to optimize the process of collecting orders, DHL launched a pilot AR project to collect orders.
Evaluation of the AR pilot project results showed an increase in the efficiency of the picking process by 25%. Also, the use of augmented reality allowed DHL to reduce the time for employee training by 50%.
After a pilot testing of this augmented reality platform, DHL launched a global implementation of AR vision picking technology in their warehouse processes.
To improve picking quality and pallet packing accuracy in the warehouse, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) decided to adopt smart glasses and AR solutions.
After two months, the picking performance increased by approximately 6-8% – aiming to reach 100% accuracy.
The GE Healthcare warehouse workers are using AR systems to kit and complete pick list orders up to 46% faster. The AR system receives real-time information on item location by connecting to the warehouse systems. Then it instantly provides workers with clear instructions on each item’s location.
Primarily, AR apps for warehouse logistics are delivered via smart glasses or mobile phones. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks.
|Criteria||Smart glasses||Mobile device|
|Field of view||Limited||Unobstructed|
|Mobility||Low. Requires unpacking and packing. Sensitive.||High. Piece of common equipment kit|
|Battery life||Short||Longer lifespan|
|Connectivity requirements||Uninterrupted, high bandwidth||Lower bandwidth or interrupted coverage|
|Maturity||Immature, less stable||Mature, in wide use|
But the choice of device is up to you. Before deciding, carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of the two options. You can also ask augmented reality vendors for advice and discuss the cost and user experience differences in detail.
But note, you must integrate the map of your warehouse in the app’s core and enhance it with the data about item placement.
Further, your AR development team should ensure that the app recognizes all your warehousing codes quickly and correctly. Moreover, you must continually update the data on new item placement, new barcodes, or the altered warehouse layout.
Note, AR devices require a specific application built by a software development company. The AR app seamlessly integrates with your in-house systems such as WMS, CRM, ERP, etc. As a result, your warehouse employees can download and upload essential data like item lists or customer information. And all your company’s departments will have access to up-to-date warehouse-related information.
So, you will enhance the picking process, save time, and eliminate errors.
Want to learn more about how warehouse AR apps can improve your business processes? Then don’t hesitate to call or message us today. Our team can offer the expertise and insights you need to understand how AR can improve your warehouse management processes and find the optimal solution for your needs.