Effective warehouse management relies on various systems to reduce errors, boost efficiency and avoid downtime. Most of today’s advanced warehouses feature broad assortments of cutting-edge technology. Here are some of the benefits managers can anticipate by including augmented reality (AR) in their approaches.
Enhancing Employee Training Experiences
One crucial part of warehouse management involves ensuring that all workers have the skills and education they need to excel in their roles. That’s particularly important since warehouses are fast-paced environments filled with heavy equipment.
AR is rapidly becoming integrated into training programs for warehouse workers and other personnel. Brands such as UPS and DHL have brought AR into training programs, presenting highly immersive content. Taking that approach helps people hit the ground running in their new roles.
AR also works well for teaching lots of people quickly, such as after filling seasonal roles. Some companies use it to educate workers about large pieces of equipment that are hard or impossible to move. Moreover, AR can show supporting content over real-life objects, such as reminding people of diagrams or presenting them with checklists.
Streamlining Building Upgrades
Warehouse expansions are resource-intensive efforts that AR could make easier. The construction sector is also increasing its usage of AR. Thus, projects associated with adding onto a warehouse or otherwise improving it could feature AR glasses that help clients envision finished buildings before construction begins.
Suppose warehouse managers have a particular idea for making a warehouse more functional with an upgrade. They could don AR glasses and see a virtual version of the addition, then confirm that it would give them the desired outcomes.
Besides helping the early stages of such projects progress smoothly, AR could help keep all involved parties abreast of progress. It could also allow people to plan equipment layouts and traffic flows, which is exceptionally important in the era of social distancing.
Improving Productivity and Accuracy
Warehouse pickers play crucial roles in getting the right goods to the people who order them. Statistics suggest pickers spend half their manual picking time walking down warehouse aisles. Managers understandably want to change that. AR offers promising possibilities.
One primary benefit of AR is that certain solutions provide a hands-free method of picking. People wear smart glasses and see supplementary guidance about where to go to retrieve particular items.
Plus, recent research indicated that inexperienced pickers could spend 37% less time completing their orders if using AR instead of paper-based methods. The investigation also confirmed that inexperienced workers made fewer picking mistakes when using AR. Interestingly, experienced workers performed better with paper methods than AR. Researchers noted that a higher understanding of their roles and environments could be the reason why
Warehouse managers know that a malfunctioning piece of machinery can make the difference between an extremely productive shift and an almost worthless one. That’s why so many company leaders decide to invest in smart sensors that can detect problems before they cause equipment failure.
AR could complement such proactive approaches by making it easier for technicians to diagnose and fix problems. Consider the example where an inexperienced repair person must perform a replacement for the first time.
AR glasses can remotely stream content to a more experienced person off-site. That approach allows all involved parties to have the same perspective from wherever they are. Then, the person who has the machine in front of them also gets access to relevant, real-time guidance, helping them finish the repair faster than they otherwise might.
AR Will Continue Gaining Ground in Warehouses
Augmented reality is not widely used in the world’s warehouses yet. However, many forward-thinking warehouse managers recognize its usefulness and have applied it to their operations. As more leaders follow suit, you should see even more eye-opening examples of why AR could help warehouses become more competitive in today’s marketplace.
Emily Newton is an industrial journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She has over five years of experience covering material handling, manufacturing and supply chain stories.