The logistics industry has expanded and improved drastically in the past decade. With globalization, the growth of e-commerce, and the advancements in technology, the end-users became more demanding but less patient. And so, we are now living in a world where customer experience significantly connects to fast and accurate delivery. Hence logistics companies are expected to facilitate the constant movement of goods and services in a minimum amount of time. Innovative technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) enable logistics and transportation businesses to optimize efficiency by standardizing the workflows. Using AR for logistics can enhance warehouses’ maintenance, improve packaging and order picking processes. Moreover, it reduces the time spent on transportation and delivery.
In the logistics industry, humans do most operations and the workers’ decisions affect every process. To supply the demand of the consumption economy, logistics companies have to shift their operations from human-dependent to technology-dependent. With the developments in technology, it is now possible to reduce the workload and simplify decision-making and routine operations.
AR technology combines the real world with computer-generated visualizations. This is possible by applications for improving augmenting real-world spaces with additional and necessary virtual information. Projecting digital images, models, and texts to physical objects through advanced mobile devices and smart glasses boosts the workers’ understanding. Also improves their work pace. To lower the error rate in logistics, it is necessary to use technologies like AR and simplify their tasks. It will also clarify most of the logistic business steps like assembly, storage, sorting, inventory, order picking, transportation, and more.
A good receipt is the incoming goods and materials in the warehouse. It is generally the first step that goods enter the logistics cycle. The work here is to unload the received goods, check the quality and quantity, and transfer them to the warehouse. To simplify this step, AR makes it possible to review the incoming goods’ necessary information. For example, how to unload accurately and automate and digitalize the process of quality check and counting.
AR FOR STORING IN LOGISTICS
After receiving the goods, workers transfer them into the warehouses, where also store them until shipping. Since there are many different types of goods made out of various materials, storing them has to be done deliberately. Likewise, the warehouses’ size and capacity are critical elements, which can lead to chaos unless we have precise storage.
In the storing process, AR finds are used o display pictures or videos of the goods to make it easier for the workers to identify which item to pick. Like an in-house GPS, AR displays the goods and workers’ location while showing where the goods need to go by projecting digital maps and signs on the workers’ real-time environment. This way, the best and fastest routes will be used, and process quality will be optimized. Additionally, if the businesses integrate the AR applications in their management and control systems, they can automate the goods’ inventory.
AR FOR WAREHOUSE PLANNING IN LOGISTICS
As the logistics industry evolve and expand greatly, the warehouses turned into gigantic stations. These serve not only for storing purposes but also for maintenance, assembly, labeling, packaging, etc. To keep these massive places in order the warehouses’ design and arrangement should be flawless. Also, there is a constant flow of items as new goods come and go. The warehouses’ plan constantly changes and rearrangements for the new set of goods are necessary. These rearrangements can be formed and checked digitally with AR solutions before physical modification.
By in-depth visualization of the warehouses, we have necessary test measurements. Also, the creation of new workflow plans, and isolation of real-time or future conditions. Also, most of the time and energy spent while planning to remodel the warehouse’s transfer to digital environments. Thus, the expenses decrease, and possible work delays occurring because of any miscalculations are also reducing.
AR FOR PICKING OPTIMIZATION IN LOGISTICS
One of the most extensive steps in the logistics industry is order picking. Considering the complexity of the tasks and high dependence on human activity, it is also one of the most challenging business parts. Therefore, it is typical that a significant portion of the total money spent in the industry is used in this step and for optimizing it. While picking, it is crucial for the workers to pick the correct item from the right place in the minimum amount of time and without any damage. In this case, hand-free working is becoming essential.
Using AR Smart Glasses makes it possible for the workers to work with both hands while continuing to see the additional information and checking the conditions of the goods. AR can help workers pick the correct item with object recognition and confirm if its quality or quantity is adequate in a shorter time. Also, barcode reading and digital-based inquiries built with AR eliminate the traditional paper-based checking system, and again, the workers will be able to use both hands while picking. Besides, we have the automation of the audit for picking items.
The freight loading process is another significant step in the logistics and transportation of goods. It demands competent management to have an optimal operation flow. The accuracy of arrangement and preservation of goods with various freight sizes, weights, fragility, and end destinations is vital. Businesses can use AR systems to better understand the cargo space and more effective estimation and planning instead of subjective measurement or erroneous calculations of humans. For easier and simpler loading and delivery, AR gives to the workers basic information about the goods, and loading and unloading information, with digital highlights in real-world cargo and trucks, both before and during the process. Consequently, we have the optimization of arrangement and positioning for carrying the ideal amount of goods, better item recognition, and faster take-outs.
AR FOR TRANSPORTATION IN LOGISTICS
For ideal and cost-efficient transportation of the goods, businesses should aid the workers in charge with the necessary information about the items and the routes they have to take. AR technology can provide the operators with data and instructions on traffic, alternative and faster routes, and overall transporting vehicle conditions. Besides saving time, fuel, and money by automating displays of these instructions, it can also prohibit the possible damages to the transported goods. If there is a complication in the cargo spaces, AR systems can alert the operators to check the goods and work out the problems to save them with instant precautions and prevent possible losses.
Last-mile delivery is the last and a very costly step of the logistics cycle. Lst-mile delivery is an expensive step happening in distinct structures. In the warehouses or cargo space, it is easier to work for more efficiency and optimization. However, in the urban space, businesses have to adjust their workflow for last-mile delivery. This should be in line with the specific city or town where the goods will transport.
Since every urban area has its own characteristics, it is not possible to plan every phase beforehand. A significant percentage of the job lies in the hands of the operators of the transportation vehicle. AR systems can assist the drivers and carriers with information on the delivery place. For example, highlighting the buildings and showing entrances. It can also work as an indoor GPS and navigate carriers in indoor areas where navigation systems might fail to speed up deliveries.
As explained in this article, there are plenty of ways that AR solutions can be used in the logistics industry. As the technology grows and logistics budgets expand, the necessity for wearable devices and AR systems is increasing though fortunately, they are also getting simpler to use and less