What’s the Use of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Warehouse Operations?

For many different businesses, augmented vision can be quite helpful, particularly for logistics and warehouse management. Item selection is the aspect of...

Written by Niel Patel · 7 min read >
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For many different businesses, augmented vision can be quite helpful, particularly for logistics and warehouse management. Item selection is the aspect of warehouse management where augmented reality advancements can be most successful and promising. Handheld mobile devices and smart glasses with augmented reality software minimize time commitments and the error rate by assisting warehouse workers through order picking processes. Additionally, such direction can allow new hires to complete their training much more quickly and begin working productively right away. 

Inventory accounting is a difficult and challenging task, especially for large warehouses. Most often, ineffective management systems that don’t have the most recent stock information and can’t stop employees from making mistakes are to blame for inaccurate inventory. Most warehouses still utilize management systems that rely on paper. However, such a method is slow, unreliable, and prone to mistakes.

There are already several high-tech systems available today for streamlining warehouse operations. VR in warehouse management makes it easier and faster for employees to complete their jobs, raising the work standard and productivity. Thus, the expense of putting new warehouse management techniques into place quickly pays for itself.

Let’s explore more about them in detail! 

Strategic Planning with VR and AR in Warehouse Operations

In the field of logistics, effective warehouse management ensures that the appropriate goods will be delivered at the right time to the right customers. Every small step in the logistics process should result in effective order picking, ensuring that the right products are delivered to the appropriate clients without being misplaced or damaged. Additionally, these products are provided on schedule to ensure customer pleasure. A corporation should employ AR VR use case in warehouse management to accomplish this goal, including well-trained staff, functional machinery and equipment, and the most recent technologies to ensure that these operations are completed effectively. The process of picking an order and delivering it to the client in accordance with their contract using VR or AR technologies is known as virtual or augmented reality warehouse picking.

Of course, these technologies operate differently; managing warehouse operations with VR is different from doing it with AR. In place of our current experience, virtual reality creates a computer-generated simulation. So that managers can choose the best manner to provide data, it can show a filled warehouse rather than an empty one. Additionally, it may be used to demonstrate various warehouse problems without really having to deal with them, which can help personnel become more adept at handling pressure.

However, with VR in warehouse management, 3D items are produced and added to our existing world as an augmentation, allowing workers to deal with computer-generated products rather than actual ones or train on new, expensive technology. The usage of augmented and virtual reality in warehouse applications can start as early as the hiring of staff and continue through the final stages of inventory counting and report delivery to other departments. The organization will be able to accomplish its objectives more effectively by using these applications, which finally offers it a competitive advantage that enables it to compete in the market.

AR VR Use Case in Warehouse Management 

You may establish a more effective and efficient approach to managing your supply chain operations when you decide to integrate AR and VR technology throughout your logistics or engage with partners who use these technologies. Utilizing VR and AR in warehouse operations has a number of advantages that can boost your business’s bottom line as well as employee safety. 

Warehouse management, employee development, customer experience, and operational visibility are some of the key areas where you might anticipate gains. 

# Better Warehouse Management 

The usage of VR and AR technology can help you run your warehouse more effectively. You may receive real-time data and insights, expedite operations, and minimize errors by using VR/AR software and solutions. Members of your logistics crew may find it much simpler to manage operations remotely with the help of these technologies. For instance, warehouse managers can make choices utilizing real-time data and virtual reality simulations while managing warehouse operations from any location. As a result, you won’t need to worry about paying for frequent journeys between warehouses and may probably engage a single management team to oversee various sites. Given that labor costs typically account for 60% of warehouse fulfillment costs, employing virtual reality could be a wonderful method to reduce costs and streamline processes.

# Improved Employee Training

Since warehouses often feature massive, sophisticated equipment that employees must be trained to handle safely, training may be time-consuming and expensive. Getting personnel trained and certified on equipment takes the average warehouse 6–8 weeks, and if additional equipment is introduced later, you’ll need even more training time. VR in warehouse management can be used to train staff members cost-efficiently and safely, increasing productivity and lowering the likelihood of workplace accidents. Companies can create and conduct thorough training programs that resemble real-life jobs using virtual reality without risk endangering actual employees or equipment. You may save money, improve training, and enable new employees to finish their training from any location in the world without the need for costly instructors or in-person courses.

# Transformation of Item Selection

Picking issues can vary based on a number of criteria, such as the size of your warehouse and the amount of vertical space it has, the usage of automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) or their absence, the number of employees you have and their level of experience. Pay close attention to the features that address the most pressing difficulties you currently encounter when selecting the functionality bundle for your AR program. Later on, once you’ve experienced the benefits of AR-supported item selection, you’ll be able to increase functionality and incorporate additional features.

# Better Navigation

This capability is needed for warehouses bigger than 100,000 square feet, where workers use warehouse vehicles to move about more quickly. This feature may be taken into consideration by medium-sized warehouses as it jump-starts the work of trainee personnel who are unfamiliar with the environment. The AR VR use case in warehouse management is really simple. An employee opens a list of the available things using smart glasses or a smartphone first. By just uploading the list from the WMS connected with the app, they may complete it in under a minute. The most efficient and quick route for gathering all of the products is then created by software once it has analyzed the list and read the most recent warehouse layout data. Once the route has been defined, the app provides directions for reaching the following place. The directions are presented as pointing arrows that appear as a virtual layer on the glasses or smartphone screen, enhancing the reality that is being caught by the camera. Additionally, a voice-over with simple navigational instructions can be incorporated.

# Finding Objects

If you decide to include navigation in the capability pack of your AR software, this feature is the natural next step. The app immediately locates the object by pointing at it once an employee has reached the required place. However, if your warehouse is smaller than 25,000 square feet and doesn’t require navigating directions, this functionality might also be the very first step in the selection process. But in this instance, the option to load the list of objects from internal systems must be the feature’s first step.

The item code group in the list is examined by augmented reality software, which is aware of your warehouse’s exact layout and the typical item placement in it. The app then indicates where the items of the required code group are while an employee uses the smartphone to scan the immediate area. After an employee selects an item, the app may perform verification through barcode reading, removing the chance for mistakes.

# Reading a Barcode

Suppose your warehouse currently has an electronic barcode reading system. In that case, you can choose to combine it with the AR in warehouse operations so that barcode readers can automatically feed the app with data. You can choose to employ barcode reading with AR apps if you don’t already have a system like that or if you want to use devices as little as possible. Even a basic smartphone may readily replace any barcode-reading device with the correct software. An employee working in a warehouse can select between checking in or picking the scanning option before starting the barcode reading mode in the app. Every item that is scanned during check-in is automatically registered in the WMS. When picking, the software compares the item to the entry in the picking list and provides further details about it on the screen. This type of automatic picking verification reduces picking failures and saves time.

# Data Synchronisation

After the AR app has finished scanning a product’s barcode, it connects to the connected systems (WMS, CRM, etc.) and retrieves all of the product’s data. As a result, all of the information (including the item description, customer information, shipping requirements, etc.) is always correct, complete, and current. The capability may be helpful for warehouse audits, the preparation of orders for shipping docks, and item pick verification in addition to those other uses.

# Customer Satisfaction 

The ability to create dependable and transparent fulfillment might give you a significant advantage over your rivals in the highly competitive world of e-commerce today.  According to the data, people are actually less forgiving than ever when it comes to subpar customer care. One study revealed that, in 2018, 43% of respondents switched brands as a result of subpar customer service, an increase of 10% from 2019. You may give your consumers a more precise and effective delivery experience by utilizing VR in warehouse management.  Delivering shipments on time and lowering the likelihood of delivery problems will help you attract consumers and keep them coming back in an era of low demand and high inflation.

# Greater Visibility of the Supply Chain 

Since the beginning, visibility has been a major problem in supply chains and logistics. It is difficult to try to maintain track of numerous warehouses, moving parts, and employees all across the world.  Thankfully, virtual reality and augmented reality technology can give you and your employees more visibility into your business. Without the need for an employee to be there, logistics managers can handle a variety of logistics processes utilizing tools like 3D visualization

# Cost Reduction 

Predictive modeling is one such feature that can help you gain more insight into your supply chain, spot potential inefficiencies, and enhance overall logistics operations. The following are a few logistics phases where VR and AR technologies can help you save money:

Reducing training costs by developing simulated training that can be utilized repeatedly without additional instructors or training.

Saving on travel costs with VR’s ability to control different logistics activities from a distance.

Reducing costs for both resources and time 

Conclusion- Current Applications for AR and VR in Warehouse Management

Due to all these benefits, adopting virtual and augmented reality technologies is quickly gaining popularity in the supply chain and warehousing industries. These solutions can effectively boost a business’s productivity, sales, and reputation in the marketplace.

Some of the industry’s early adopters decided to use these new applications to enhance work because they recognized these technologies’ promise. Here are some instances of how various VR and AR apps have been used in warehouses.

1. To increase productivity, DHL evaluated and implemented AR warehouse operations. Thanks to AR smart glasses, the business was able to deploy vision picking, which relies on remotely managing an order by selecting the right item and capturing information about it without touching it.

2. BMW is currently utilizing augmented and virtual reality technologies to enhance its warehouse and production processes. Employees of the organization use smart monitors to convey information that appears in their area of vision to management, share it with other employees, and display information about the item they’re working on.

These technologies will not only help managers make better decisions but because the information is delivered instantly and without a lag, task completion times will be shortened.

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