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How to Use Augmented Reality in Logistics

Nov 28, 2017
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AR in logistics

Five leading logistics companies in U.S. has generated about 15 billion U.S. dollars in net revenue in North America. As the e-commerce market rises each of companies is looking for new ways to cut expenses and get a chunk of this billion-dollar pie.

Technology has always played an integral part in further improvement of logistics operations. With the rise of Augmented Reality the industry is about to take a leap ahead. We’ve already covered possible application of AR in logistics. This article is a much broader study of the AR possibilities in logistics.

AR Applications in Logistics

warehousing logistics

Warehousing Operations

This is the most promising sector for application of Augmented Reality. DHL sites that warehousing operations account about 20% of all logistics costs. Getting this figure down will automatically reduce costs of the whole delivery cycle.

In the meantime, AR can reduce warehousing costs by a quarter at least! Did you know that about 60% of all operations in warehouse account to package locationing and picking? Handling a simple augmented reality headset to your workers will accelerate their work and will help find proper packages during freight loading.

Freight Loading Optimization

cargo_load_plan

The best part about augmented reality is that it can be seamlessly integrated into the existing work circle of your company. As a result, you will improve parcel handling and ensure load optimization, spending less time loading tracks and packing more cargo inside.

Handling Instructions

You probably have all those markers and handling instructions in place on your parcels (e.g. contents, weight, and destination). We can develop a simple AR app that will scan those images and warn your workers in case if they placed parcel improperly.

Cargo Loading

AR can streamline the process of truck loading. It can effectively replace printed cargo lists and load instruction. For instance, it can show loader which pallet to take next, where to find it, and where it is needed to be placed in the vehicle.

Think about free space calculator, an app that estimates and displays an amount of extra free space available in the truck. This logistics app can help workers to utilize extra cargo inside your trucks.

Vision Picking & Completeness Checks

DHL_Vision_Picking

Completeness checks can be done much faster by using in pair with vision picking technology. Vision picking can greatly increase productivity, reduce errors, and support employees. All it takes to integrate this technology is a pair of vision glasses and access to your warehouse management system.

Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery

Last mile delivery is considered as the most expensive and inefficient step in logistics. The inner nature of the process requires individualized approach and forces to work in the most energy-consuming environment – urban space.

On the other hand, e-commerce market poses even more challenging requirements: fast and free delivery. Even such giants like Amazon and Alibaba are forced to invent new ways in order to hide the costs of delivery. E.g. Amazon Prime.

Which is why last mile delivery provokes a whole spectrum of futuristic ideas like drones delivery, self-driving cars, and even flying warehouses. By now the only viable solution is making pickup stations like UPS and Amazon did.

Introducing Augmented Reality to logistics can minimize costs of delivery and optimize time spent to process the order.

On average drivers spend between 40% to 60% of their time searching for a right parcel inside their truck. AR can streamline this process in two ways.

  • AR glasses can guide your workers and show the order in which packages should be loaded into the truck. This way trucks will be packed according to the route of delivery, from the first to the last stop.
  • An alternative option is handing glasses to every truck driver. The AR app will scan barcodes and highlight the desired box.

Visual Approval

Face-recognition technology has been successfully used by industry leaders for years. Meanwhile, the presentation of new iPhone FaceID feature just proved that face-recognition technology is ready for mass market.

Thanks to new AR kit (revealed in recent iOS 11 update) we are ready to apply face-recognition technology in AR applications. For instance, we can create Visual Approval App that your couriers can use as a standard identification method instead of ID cards or signatures.

Last Meter Navigation

Last Meter Delivery

While your drivers are definitely supplied with some kind of GPS-navigation, there are times when it’s not enough. This usually happens on Last Meter, a so-called delivery stage when curriers looking for specific office, front door or reception desk. (A currier is a specialist in the leather processing industry.)

AR-supported glasses could guide you employees inside the building and show them required entrances, as well as provide hints during outdoor navigation.

Bottom Line

Just two years ago there were 6,5 trillion of ton-miles of freight in the U.S. alone. A tenth of this impressive figure could be saved thanks to better navigation, efficient last mile delivery and reduction of human errors.

Augmented Rуality may seem too expensive to implement nowadays. But looking at this figures you will see that AR is exactly the right kind of tech that can make a big impact on a large scale by shaving seconds off routine tasks and improving our productivity.

Need a better logistics?

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Tony

Tony Sol is the business development manager of GBKSOFT, overseeing the production of all writings for both internal blog and external platforms. He is technical-driven person always looking for new benefits of merging business and software.

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