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How to Use Augmented Reality in Logistics

  • Rating — 4.9 (63 votes)
  • by Tony
  • Updated on June 11, 2020
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    8-9 minutes
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.

How are businesses embracing 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 (Samples: FreightSnap and Freightview Apps).

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.

Need a AR app for warehouse logistics?

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.

International Trade

With growing number of emerging-market countries transport flows are increasing greatly. This represents a considerable opportunity for logistics companies but the complexity increases too, as there are many regulations and requirements in trade around the world. AR can be useful in international operations, for example, before a shipment, the system could assist in ensuring the shipment complies with the relevant import and export regulations, or in verifying trade documentation. An AR device can scan trade documents or goods for key words and automatically propose changes or correct the commodity code classification. After shipment, AR technology can significantly reduce port and storage delays by translating trade document text such as trade terms in real time.

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.

Dynamic Traffic Support

Traffic jams  are often  affecting the smooth running of many economic processes that largely depend on the smooth flow of  goods. They have calculated that problematic traffic ultimately leads to  about 1 % of gross domestic product loss for Europe each year. As a result,  there is a demand for solutions to improve punctuality.

In future, to optimize route with real-time traffic data there will be growth in the use of dynamic traffic support. AR driver assistance apps (either with glasses or a windshield display) may be used to present information in real time in the driver´s field of vision. Basically, AR systems will have a key advantage that the driver doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road. 

Reduce logistic costs with Augmented Reality. Want to know how?

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.

Last mile delivery

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

Did you know that approximately 50 percent of time drivers spend looking for the box  within their truck for the next delivery?

At present drivers must remember where the box is placed in the truck. In the future,  each driver will be able to get an essential information about a particular parcel  by looking at it with their AR device. This information could include the type of goods, weight, delivery address, and whether it is fragile or requires specific positioning to avoid damage.  There will ability to calculate the space requirements for each parcel by the device in real time, scan for a suitable empty space in the vehicle, and then identify the place where the parcel should be, taking into account the planned route. AR devices allow to find the right box for the driver  efficiently and to make  the search process more easy and considerably accelerated at every drop-off.

GBKSOFT

Furthermore, AR could help to reduce the frequent damage of package. Currently, the matter of damaging parcels is that drivers need a spare hand to close their vehicle door, that compels them to put parcels on the ground or hold them with one arm. With an AR device, the vehicle door could be closed ‘hands-free’ – the driver could give a voice instruction, for example.

Visual Approval

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

Thanks to new AR kit (revealed in recent iOS 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 couriers looking for specific office, front door or reception desk. (A courier 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.

Introducing the services that increase customer loyalty

The logistics providers could use AR to perform new services for their customers, such as assembly and repair, and provide new customer support tools. 

 More and more logistics providers wish to add value to customers with such services  as assembly and repair. In the coming years AR could train and aid warehouse staff to assemble a variety of products that keep the high standards of service, potentially reducing cost for customers. The system could ensure quality control by monitoring each work step (via enhanced image recognition) and detecting errors in the assembly process. 

In repairing, to support the identification and fixing of errors there could be used a visual way, notably with the ever-increasing number of end-consumer technologies and gadgets. Such interactive repair guides could reduce training costs as well as the technical staff ’s average repair time. 

Augmented reality is the technology that extends our world perception, adding layers of digital information on it. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos, graphics to it. Also, it can be defined as a system that complies with three basic features: a combination of real and virtual pictures, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.
Augmented Reality could be crucial for logistics companies. AR can reduce warehousing costs by a quarter at least! By using a system, each worker can see the digital picking list in their field of vision and – thanks to indoor navigation capabilities – see the best route, reducing their travel time by efficient path planning. Using automated barcode scanning, the system can check whether the worker has arrived at the right place, and guide the worker to quickly find the right item in the truck.
AR device requires a particular application to work with it that can be designed by a development company to meet your specific business needs. But Augmented Reality 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.

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 R?ality 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.

Want to streamline your logistic processes with AR system?

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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