A densely populated warehouse can prompt a chaotic working environment. In vast storage facilities, such as those operated by Amazon, a constant item picking system is in place. Thousands of employees negotiate the shelves, performing their individual picks to be dispatched to customers. A high speed needs to be sustained without compromising accuracy; this is tough in huge picking landscapes and can be similarly problematic for small scale businesses with a proportionally smaller workforce.
Distribution and storage companies intent on improving both efficiency and accuracy in their warehouses have preached the benefits of a particular breakthrough in tech: augmented reality eyewear. Initially marketed to an assortment of sectors, an apparent home for this wearable technology has been established within warehousing and distribution.
Google Glass and Android’s Vuzix M100 are leading the takeover, predominantly in vision picking. The Vuzix M100 model is frequently ranked highly by professionals as it is tailored specifically for industry. Additionally, they feature larger batteries for longevity and can be fixed to pre-existing safety goggles if required.
How instrumental to warehouse success can smart glasses be? There are a number of reasons as to why operations managers are selecting this vision picking technology:
- Naturally, a wearable tech permits a hands-free workforce. This repeatedly emerges as a key sticking point. Workers no longer have the burden of a handheld mobile device and/or list. Rather, they have greater freedom which enables increased efficiency when picking goods from shelving units.
- With information detailing the imminently picked product visible, workers don’t need to check back and remind themselves of orders. The information about each pick is constantly fed to the employee who can use automated scanning systems to register the item at the point of selection. Moreover, certain models are able to recognise the codes applied to items and shelves. As the employee looks around the space, the glasses pick these up and graphics appear informing them what to collect as well as where to go next.
- This constant and reliable cycle of information between the operating system and the employee is hugely transformative in the improvement of efficiency and accuracy.
- Images of orders can also be conjured. This visual representation of the product can only function to further improve pick-rates and accuracy.
- DHL, after successful trials, have implemented vision picking in one of their warehouses in Benelux. With the adoption of both Google Glass and the Vuzix M100 Glasses, it was found that errors could be decreased by as much as 40% when vision picking was in place. Human error is dramatically reduced; this clearly produces a huge financial advantage.
- As well as projecting imagery for workers, vision picking hardware can often capture photographs. This can be really helpful in sending visual messages back to other staff with immediate effect. From alerting team members to a situation, to delivering images to embellish reports, this feature clearly puts warehouses at an advantage.
- Improved navigation supplied by smart glasses puts employees at a huge advantage. Workers aren’t blindly searching shelves for picks; rather, they can be guided comprehensively through a potentially complex warehouse layout with ease.
Evidently, an upgraded level of efficiency and accuracy in the warehouse are the prime outcomes of the implementation of smart glasses in this field. With DHL already adopting the technology, it doesn’t seem unrealistic to see further examples of businesses of all sizes enhancing their workforce with vision picking technology.
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With thanks to:
- MHL news