Augmented Reality supporting Logistics, Supply Chain and Operations

Augmented Reality app allows user quick access to information anytime and anywhere. This is a significant benefit for planning in logistics, supply chain and operations.

Needs and Requirements in Supply Chain Management (SCM)

According to a recent study committed by DHL ( Augmented Reality In Logistics, 2014), the most important needs and requirements concern support in:

1. Picking Optimization

2. Warehouse Planning

3. Transportation Optimization

4. Dynamic Traffic Support

5. Last mile delivery

Picking Optimization
In logistics, augmented reality can optimize the picking process. Any paper-based approach is slow and leads into error. Normally, picking work is often done by inexperienced people. Workers have to be trained with cost-intensive learning tool to ensure they pick efficiently and without making errors. Wearable AR devices offer a solution to find the right route to an item, reducing searching time and training.

Warehouse Planning
Nowadays, warehouses are not only used as storage and distribution hubs, but they accomodate new services (product customization, repacking, and repair). Through AR application it is possible to support new enhancement of services with mixed-reality simulation.

Transportation Optimization
Specific software is already used in freight transportation to plan and calculate the best cargo optimization. The massive introduction of smartglasses can show step-by-step instructions for efficiently load freight in a container or a vessel. Loaders receive load plan and instruction directly on their head-mounted display.

Dynamic Traffic Support
There is a huge demand for solutions to improve punctuality in delivery. Augmented reality can display real-time traffic data and indicate alternative solution (e.g. optimizing routing, improvement of driving safety, minimizing of driver distraction).

Last mile delivery
The last mile is the final section of the supply chain, in which goods are handed over to the recipient. Through AR, there is an improved parcel handling, ensuring load optimization. Mobile and wearable technologies are efficient indoor navigation tool, reducing search and delivery time, especially for first-time deliveries. Also, this methodology improves security of registered shipment, speeding up the entire delivery process.

Next steps
Now the technology offers real-time image recognition, barcode reading, indoor navigation, and seamless integration with the Warehouse Management System. Next generation of wearable and mobile devices will improve the capability to recognize a real object. Project Google Tango and Epson Moverio Pro BT-2000 smartglass have stereo camera with three-dimensional depth sensing that detects the dimensions and spatial positioning of objects in relation to each other, improving mixed reality content. This enhancement allows user an improved visual assistance and providing informed support and training in Logistics, Supply Chain and Operations.