An article published on the APICS website describes five ways augmented reality enhances supply chain management, as derived from a 2016 partnership between DHL and augmented reality hardware companies and software providers. DHL found that partnering with Vuzix and Google, as well as Ubimax to test incorporating AR in logistics activities positively impacted worker efficiency and reduced error rates leading to an average 15% improvement in productivity. In addition to providing logistics solutions, DHL is testing the application of AR in operations, warehousing, and logistics in order to capture more of the streamlined work efficiencies and reduced error rates at the individual and enterprise level from incorporating technology. ABI Research released the following top-five benefits of using AR in supply chain management.

Efficiency increases: The virtual communication of next steps in performing tasks frees up workers’ hands increasing overall efficiency in performance. Instead of flipping through instruction manuals, workers can see the information necessary to complete tasks in their fields of vision using smart glasses.

Cost reductions: AR enhances instant communication by enabling remote users to see what the wearer is seeing. Travel expenses and downtime can be reduced by circumventing the need for individuals, such as offsite managers, consultants, or manufacturers to be physically present.

 Safety improvements: Safety warnings in the wearer’s field of vision coupled with the worker’s hands free from holding instruction manuals, enable users to be more focused and potentially avoid distractions or injuries.

Error minimization: Virtual models and instructions are available in the user’s field of vision providing real time directions for completing tasks. Errors can thus be minimized by the visual clarity and instant feedback provided.

Fast ROI: AG enhances the ROI of training employees, accessing information, finding solutions and completing tasks by immediately pulling up answers on the smart glasses. Guidelines, checklists or diagrams are quickly available in the user’s field of vision leading to employees being more productive.

+6th AR benefit: The 4G or 5G connectivity available for certain AR devices enables employees to receive guidance anytime, anywhere. Continuous remote connectivity could continue to grow as cellular wireless AR develops.

How can manufacturing companies and employees benefit from AR?

What are examples of AR tools that can enhance Supply Chain Management?

How does AR improve employee performance?

APICS – Five Ways Augmented Reality Enhances Supply Chain Management


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