One of the most important trends in logistics: the augmented reality

As we have seen in previous articles, technology is the best way for companies to improve their processes increasing efficiency. In logistics this is vital because is the perfect way for organizations to get a competitive advantage, adding value to their customers. One of the most important elements for any business is the supply chain management and levering it with technology could mean an amazing opportunity for them. Currently, we can not talk about any company without technology because this is transversal for almost all the processes in it.

Currently, logistics processes around the world are increasing the use of technology, more specifically in the supply chain management. One of the most important contributions for being applied in this kind of industry is the augmented reality. This innovative concept is bringing a new world of opportunities for organizations.

What is augmented reality?

Before we can show how companies are using this concept or how they can start to implement it, we must explain it.

Augmented reality is basically the way how we can see our physical and real world virtualized in an electronic device – like smartphones, wearables or tablets-. In other words, it is to take our material and visible environment and merge it with a virtual one, creating a new realism in real time. This disruptive technology lets people interact in a digital world with the components of their real living. Moreover, augmented reality gives to users valuable information about the world around them in an interactive way.

This technology is being used in a lot of industries, like entertainment, healthcare, restaurants, games, among other businesses that are giving to customers multiple benefits and valuable data.

Understanding how augmented reality works, we can show how this technology will transform the supply chain management and the logistics processes.

Augmented reality supply chain

One of the most important elements in the supply chain management is the picking process, where workers have to collect multiple articles to satisfy what customer needs, that is to say, that a picker must take a client order and picks what it requires. This could be a very slow and heavy process because the picking operator must see what the client needs, find it in the warehouse and register in paper or another device manually. With augmented reality, this vital part of the supply chain’s process can be optimized in an excellent way.

Using this technology, workers can not only see in their devices the information about the order they need to fulfill but also can find easier what they are looking and pick it, besides, with augmented reality, pickers can register immediately what they are collecting, reducing errors, avoiding manually process and improving productivity.

Another important benefit of augmented reality is the warehouse planning. Today, these storage places are being used to accommodate and keep products, but with this innovative system, companies can take advantage for these places. Augmented reality gives to companies the possibility of watching virtually how they can storage more efficiently their products and optimize their spaces. Moreover, this digital approach can show to businesses how to establish better route ways inside the warehouse to move their goods cost-effectively.

Augmented reality can also help companies to plan their storage places before their construction. In a virtual environment, organizations can measure and establish the spaces they require, being able to build the perfect warehouse for their needs, saving costs and resources.

shepherd-distribution-services_logistics_supply-chain-management
Image courtesy of Shepherd Distribution Services at Flickr.com

But augmented reality not only can help logistics processes in picking and storage, it also is a great support for transportation procedures. This technology can help delivery vehicles for seeing driving conditions, like traffic, weather, route circumstances, among other elements optimizing distribution processes, increasing driving safety and improving supply times.

In addition, augmented reality can also facilitate the code delivery classifications or new labels that must be considered in logistics processes, like international trades or printed instructions for containers. In other words, this technology helps companies to read and understand more easily all those tags, advices, and codes classifications for freight and merchandise handling.

In conclusion, we can say that augmented reality is an excellent way for improving logistics processes. This new trend will change how companies work with their supply chain and the relation with their providers, competitors and customers. As we have said above, technology is the better ally for all organizations, especially for the logistics ones, which are so dynamic. If companies do not take advantage of this, they will be relegated in a world that is increasingly demanding more information in short times, which can be handled with augmented reality. In addition, it is important to say that if a company can lever up their manners with this disruptive concept, it will reduce its costs, improving its processes, giving to their clients better experiences and satisfying their requirements.

Related: What you need to know about digital supply chain by David Kiger

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