Order picking, while a seemingly simple task, accounts for a whopping 55-65% of warehouse costs, presenting a challenge and a great opportunity for improvement. This is where augmented reality (AR) enters the picture, a technology that adds a layer of digital interface to our physical world with the potential to optimize and streamline the order picking process in warehouses.
In the sections below, we’ll dive into how AR technology can directly improve order picking and look at specific efficiency enhancements that augmented reality makes possible. Let’s jump in!
The power of AR lies in its capacity to overlay digital information onto the physical world, enhancing the user's perception and interaction with her or his surroundings.
In the sphere of order picking and warehouse picking technology, AR brings a fresh perspective by offering interactive, 3D visualization and quick object tracking capabilities. AR's potential to transform the traditional inventory process into a streamlined, efficient system is incredible to witness. Plus, having relevant data on hand at the right time can be a game-changer for order pickers. This is precisely where vision-guided functionality supported by AR devices such as smart glasses or mobile apps plays a role.
For example, a picker equipped with AR can follow a digital, 3D warehouse guide that leads them directly to the items they need. No more second-guessing aisle numbers or product locations; AR can significantly reduce the margin for error.
Augmented reality is not just transforming warehouse management; it's revolutionizing worker safety, too.
Let’s look at some specifics of how AR enhances worker safety:
With AR technology, managers and employees can inspect and test changes to warehouse layouts without physically altering anything. By putting on AR glasses, managers can see proposed changes, which saves time, money and effort that would be spent on physical adjustments.
One critical aspect of warehouse management — inventory control — has significantly improved by integrating AR and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technology. Real-time updates on inventory levels help prevent shortages and assist in accurate demand forecasting, ensuring the supply chain runs smoothly.
Augmented reality offers a highly interactive learning experience that can quickly train new or temporary employees. It’s an effective and affordable way to familiarize new hires with warehouse layouts, safety protocols, and tasks.
AR devices can speed up warehouse equipment maintenance and repair procedures. These devices provide technicians with real-time diagrams and detailed troubleshooting guidance, which helps reduce downtime and improves overall productivity.
By providing workers with safety warnings and identifying restricted areas through real-time notifications, AR ensures a safer working environment. There’s no question that this technology helps prevent accidents and enhances overall facility safety for all workers involved.
The transformative impact of AR on the warehousing industry only begins with order picking. With its applications already offering significant improvements in industries such as gaming, real estate, and retail, the potential of AR in warehousing is just being realized.
As this technology advances, we can expect our warehouses to become even more efficient, intelligent, and safe — with AR at the front of this evolution, the future of warehousing looks bright indeed.