DHL tests augmented reality application for warehouse picking

DHL announced that it has carried out a pilot project testing smart glasses and augmented reality in a warehouse in the Netherlands. In cooperation with DHL customer Ricoh and wearable computing solutions expert Ubimax, the technology was used to implement ‘vision picking’ in warehousing operations.

During the trial staff were guided through the warehouse by graphics displayed on the smart glass to speed up the picking process and reduce errors. DHL claims that the pilot proved that augmented reality offers added value to logistics and resulted in a 25% efficiency increase during the picking process.

Jan-Willem De Jong, Business Unit Director Technology, DHL Supply Chain, Benelux, said, “Vision picking enables hands free order picking and greatly increases productivity. The technology significantly supports our staff and brings exciting value to our customers. However, this is just the first step in our innovation journey as we believe augmented reality will become relevant for even more supply chain areas.”

The pilot’s objective was to gain insights on the technology’s benefits and limitations. For three weeks, warehouse staff in Bergen op Zoom were equipped with head mounted displays such as Google Glass and VuzixM100. The displays showed the respective task information during the picking process, including aisle, product location and quantity. Overall, 10 order pickers used the equipment and picked more than 20,000 items, fulfilling 9,000 orders within the given time frame. As a result, DHL states that staff were able to operate faster and error free. Currently DHL and Ricoh are jointly evaluating the roll-out of the solution.


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