No one knows exactly what future distribution centres will look like, or how they will operate with absolute certainty. But it is looking like smart glasses will become the new norm for picking and packing.
More and more prominence is being placed on warehouse establishments to lean down processes within the supply chain, so much so that the world’s largest retail giants are implementing new technologies by the day to ensure they have the most efficient solutions to their growing businesses.
It’s certain that in the coming years there will be a plethora of new technologies touted to be the latest and greatest for picking and packing, but it may just be the case the smart glasses will become a fixed feature in most warehouses.
In this post you’ll see why smart glasses are the next big technology for improving the efficiency of your picking.
What are smart glasses?
Smart glasses are essentially wearable computers that add information to what the user is seeing. They have head-mounted displays that reflect projected digital information or data and are normally run via a self-contained app. Functioning much like a traditional computer, smart glasses have the ability to collect information or retrieve and control data from other instruments or computers.
There is no doubt that smart glasses are geared towards improving work applications and are fantastic at facilitating remote communication and sharing information in real-time. So it's easy to see why smart glasses could be seen as a great business solution for many processes and could potentially revolutionise many industries including healthcare, finance, travel, engineering and more.
Let’s take a look at why they have such high expectations in for warehousing and intralogistics in the future.
How vision picking can transform picking and packing
Good technological developments improve the outcome of processes in some way, and it’s as if smart glasses were made to improve the processes of warehousing and intralogistics.
Order picking with the use smart glasses frees workers’ hands and helps provide a visual guide to improve routes. This reduces human error and ensures a smooth flow of goods from receipt to dispatch.
Take a look at the video below to get an idea of how smart glasses can be implemented in the future.
On the outside, smart glasses make it possible for workers to see optimised routs and track inventory, all while saving time. The process behind this innovation is what is known as augmented reality; a live view of the world that has been augmented to suit a specific purpose.
When applied to warehousing or distribution centres, augmented reality can improve picking and packing efficiencies by up to 25%. In a pilot project conducted in the Netherlands, DHL Supply Chain was able to deliver great increases to productivity to their customer Ricoh by implementing vision picking. Ricoh found that after utilising augmented reality in their warehouses via the use of smart glasses, staff were able to operate much faster and without error.
Many people may view smart glasses and augmented reality as a (literal) vision of the future, however, PwC states that to some manufacturers, the factory of the future is already upon us. Some manufactures in the US are using augmented reality for a variety of applications from product development, to maintenance and repair, to worker training and safety.
Smart glasses can be applied to many different warehouse set-ups, regardless of size; they are easy to install and are well fitted to operations that require greater flexibility.
If you’re looking for a solution that offers high-performance, hands-free guided picking, provides necessary machine performance data and reports and KPI’s, all while being a great resource centre for staff, then it may be worth looking in smart glasses for your organisation.