Supply Chains Improving Thanks to VR and AR

When you hear the terms virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), no one would blame you for immediately thinking of video games. However, these technologies also hold a lot of promise when it comes to improving supply chains.

For example, DHL is using AR to help speed up order picking and reduce errors in the process. Smart glasses allow their workers to see precisely where items should go onto carts during the picking process while also displaying the picking list to the worker at every moment. It can also show them which route through the warehouse is the most efficient one to take. When you compare this to the past method of having order pickers walk around the warehouse with a piece of paper and hand scanner, the improvement is clear.

Amazon and other large retailers and distributors typically have distribution centers, warehouses and manufacturing facilities situated at various locations throughout the country and even overseas. Managers can’t be everywhere at once, but they do still need to keep an eye on everything. VR and AR tools allow them to gain a real-time look at whatever site they need to check in on around the clock to make sure everything is running smoothly. While it’s undoubtedly useful in day-to-day operations, it takes on a new level of utility in the case of natural disasters that have caused disruptions to the supply chain and prevent key personnel from reaching the site.

Technology Helping Delivery Drivers

Delivery drivers are also benefitting from virtual reality. They are using it, for example, to superimpose vital information straight onto their windshield. This means they don’t have to take their eyes off the road to see blocked routes, traffic conditions, and alternate routes they can take. They can even view information about the load itself without having to physically enter the back of their truck.

Although many great applications of this technology are already in use, there is a great deal more that can be gained from incorporating AR and VR into supply chains. Implementing these technologies strategically can give firms the upper edge over their competition while making work safer and more productive for employees.

This blog post was based off of an article from Forbes. View the original here.

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