19 Jul Augmented Reality For eCommerce, Warehousing And Supply Operations
Emerging trends in new technology has proven to be a major operating influence in many modern industries today. In particular, Augmented Reality is expected to have a great impact on the supply chain, warehouse management and eCommerce. But what is Augmented Reality all about? How can it be useful in everyday business operations?
Augmented Reality (AR) – technology helps to enrich objects, surrounding us in our everyday lives by providing us with relevant and useful information. It expands our physical reality by adding computer-generated informative layers to objects in the real environment. These informative layers can contain text, images, time stamps, GPS data, video, audio, etc. But it’s not limited to simple data display. As an interactive real-time user interface it supports advanced collaboration with objects and digital services.
How Does It Work In Practice?
- First of all, a device with video-capture options, camera or a see-through device like glasses or lenses, capture the physical reality which can be augmented.
- The captured scene is scanned to identify markers where additional virtual content should be placed.
- When the scene is defined, the system requests virtual content and produces a mixed picture of the real environment and virtual content.
- Data from the mixed picture can be sent to and ERP for further analysis or specific actions.
What Kind Of Devices Can Be Used?
- Smartphones, cameras, tablets, with powerful processors, high-resolution cameras, GPS, etc. These devices are the most suitable for fast access to AR apps but they can’t grant hands-free use.
- Stationary displays can grant much better recognition of people and objects but it is fixed in a permanent location.
- Drones enhanced with cameras can provide more flexibility and reach places, which can’t be reached safely and easily by people.
- Headsets with paired displays. Such devices help users to see augmented reality without seeing both real objects or virtual data.
- Smart glasses and lenses. Such combination helps users to see re-displayed reality with virtual elements.
Many unforeseen issues and challenges may appear during the warehouse management process. The ability to shop online 24/7 has changed the way that companies that store and deliver products have to operate to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.
Moreover, any delays in delivery, closures for inventory control cost companies decreased trust rate and customer satisfaction rate. eCommerce companies can’t afford such losses. The only way to remain productive and efficient is to automate everything that can be and eliminate any possibility of human error, unpredicted delays, mistakes in product delivery or other items. All this is well and good but how can AR and ERP help prevent some of these main issues?
Benefits Of ERP And AR Synchronisation:
- Better space management. AR in combination with ERP procurement planning can help organise storage space more efficiently, analyse how to store products before they even arrive in the warehouse.
- Better product pick-up process. AR devices can help personnel find faster routes to products, give additional info about each box or pallet without spending much time and automate inventory management through synchronisation of data with ERP.
- Better communication. Effective communication between workers in the warehouse and other company departments was always an issue. AR and ERP synchronisation can allow much more accurate information exchange between personnel on sight and all company departments.
- Better time management. Effective time management in warehouse operations depends on eliminating the guesswork in the location of products. AD additional information layers can significantly help with faster order picking and synchronisation with an ERP allows real-time order status check.
- Better accuracy and order tracking. Synchronisation of ERP and AR helps to reduce mistakes which occur due to incorrect receipts or purchase order changes as well as poor data transfer between departments.
- Better products management. Fast identification of pallets which are stacked, loaded or wrapped incorrectly can be also better managed with AR devices. It can help to prevent accidents when pallets fall due to overloaded shelves, broken planks or missing nails. Things which people might not notice can be more easily identified with AR devices.
- Lower labour cost. You can use less experienced entry-level personnel equipped with AR devices and these devices can undertake personnel training on the spot as well as help in tasks with little experience or knowledge, just by following real-time instructions provided by ERP and displayed in AR device.
- Lower personnel accidents risks. AR device can help identify potential risky spots and inform the worker about danger or give instructions in real-time how to act if the accident had occurred.
Warehouse and supply chain management are made up of complex processes and with increasingly demanding pressures on eCommerce operations that call for quicker and more accurate order processing the overall product delivery system is facing hitherto unseen challenges.
Companies that want to operate successfully in the eCommerce arena will have to embrace new technologies and seriously consider their potential to avoid being left behind in the race for evolving:- efficiency, lower handling costs and greater levels of customer service.