Every industry vertical today is constantly seeking innovative solutions for streamlining operations, boosting overall productivity, and excelling in services. When we talk about innovative technology, then AR and VR certainly come to mind.
Augmented reality has already made its mark in gaming, real estate, and online retail sectors. But slowly and surely, it’s taking a leap into warehouse management too. With its ability to overlay digital information onto real-world simulations, AR is proving to be a game-changer in warehouse management in multiple ways.
From revolutionizing picking to managing inventory, augmented reality in warehousing has the potential to reshape this entire sector for the better. This post delves into some of the most striking ways in which AR is improving warehouse management.
What is AR in Warehouse Management?
AR in warehouse management is the integration of digital information, virtual objects in particular, into the real-world environment of a warehouse’s arrangements or surroundings.
By using AR-enabled devices like headsets or glasses, a warehouse worker can visualize and interact with software-generated overlays that are superimposed on his/her physical surroundings.
With a steep rise in online retail services, warehouse managers are in dire need of systems that can help them in proper resource management including location, allocation, and shipment. While warehouse software systems were already in use, AR heads-up displays will further notch up warehouse management.
AR will provide workers with 3D visualization that can result in real-time visual cues. These visual cues can guide workers to the precise location of items, and help them with quick object tracking and inventory accounting, thereby improving accuracy and minimizing errors.
Ways in which AR is Changing the Warehouse Game
#1 Perk Up the Picking Process
Proper order picking is crucial to warehouse operations, which is why it needs to be done right. AR is proving to be an effective tool in this domain by optimizing the process with visual cues.
The digital overlays of AR glasses or headsets can display item details, their quantities, and optimal routes and guide them to the exact shelf location of any specific item, making navigation easier.
#2 Optimization of Layout Planning
With proficient AR app development, organizations can procure apps that can assist warehouse managers in the optimization of layout planning. This can be done by overlaying digital models onto physical space (which is pretty much what IKEA does).
Proper layout is necessary as it minimizes unnecessary movement, makes optimum space utilization, and results in operational efficiency. Warehouse managers can take assistance with AR and optimizing layout by visualizing different configurations, testing storage capacity, and optimizing the placement of equipment and goods.
#3 Timely Maintenance and Repairs
AR-powered apps can make warehouse maintenance easier and better. AR devices can assess and display maintenance instructions instantly to technicians. But, a warehouse runs on several devices.
AR devices can give specific troubleshooting guidance along with equipment diagrams and can speed up the repair process. By helping technicians identify issues correctly and carry out repairs effectively, AR can bring down the time spent on maintenance and get things up and running quickly.
#4 Operational Efficiency
We have already mentioned that AR-based apps can bring operational efficiency to warehouse management. How? AR headsets give them instant information and make navigation easy by helping them locate specific items. This approach can significantly speed up the entire picking and packing process.
Also, since your employees don’t have to go through logs to check availability, and search and navigate physically, it reduces fatigue among workers, leaving them focused on other important tasks. It also minimizes the risk of manual errors thereby enhancing operational efficiency.
#5 Streamline Training and On-boarding
Proper and proficient training of new warehouse staff remains a challenge for organizations. Augmented reality offers a powerful solution to this by providing highly interactive, intuitive, and immersive training experiences.
Since AR is capable of simulating real-world scenarios, it becomes easy for trainers to guide trainees through the core operations like picking orders, handling equipment, and managing inventory.
Also, trainers can train staff without concern about any real damage. Trainees can receive safety guidelines, troubleshooting tips, item details, and other procedural instructions hands-on.
But AR not only provides pragmatic training but also reduces training time and speeds up the onboarding pass. Apart from training new employees, AR can also help in honing the skills of existing staff.
#6 Better Ergonomics and Safety
Safety and ergonomics are two defining factors of any workplace including warehouses. Incorporating AR technology can increase safety and improve the ergonomics of the warehouse environment.
The overlaying digital information can provide workers with safety warnings, and procedural information and warn them about restricted areas.
Keeping workers informed about various aspects of the operations including equipment handling and notifying them about potential hazards can go a long way in mitigating the risk of accidents resulting in a safer work environment.
#7 Optimization of Inventory Management
Augmented reality is playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing inventory management. For a long time now, the conventional methods of inventory management have been prone to errors and time-consuming as well. AR attempts to simplify these processes with real-time data visualization and visibility.
AR-powered devices can scan item-level RFID tags and barcodes on products and display information like expiration dates, storage details, and expiration dates. This eliminates the long repetitive manual tasks like data entry, thus reducing manual errors as well.
Since warehouse managers have updated and accurate information right at their fingertips, they can make informed decisions like demand forecasts, storage optimization, and stock replenishment.
#8 Better Collaboration and Workflow Optimization
Augmented reality encourages better and seamless communication among warehouse teams. With AR devices, workers can share real-time information and data with each other. This proves useful while working with remote experts who can offer guidance and solve problems virtually.
AR also facilitates workflow optimization. By providing workers with information like performance metrics, favorable routes for picking orders, and task prioritization, AR helps employees in working up their schedules accordingly and adapt to the changing requirements, improving their productivity.
AR and VR app development continues to unravel the many discrepancies of traditional operations and it has now made its way into warehouse management. Augmented reality in warehousing is transforming this industry by enhancing its operational efficiency, improving employee productivity, increasing accuracy, and streamlining training procedures.
It also helps with workflow optimization and the optimization of inventory management. However, procuring AR apps or systems isn’t a cakewalk. One needs to consider factors like integration with existing software systems, setup costs, and proper implementation of AR solutions.
So, it’s better to make a detailed plan and of course, find a suitable AR app development firm to get things started.