Innovation in Supply Chain Management
Getting products from the factory to the consumer is a complex process that involves a system of different organizations, people, activities, and resources. The goal of any business is to establish a supply chain that is cost-effective, fast, and free from errors. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) may be the key to revolutionize the supply chain. For instance, DHL employees are leveraging AR glasses to speed-up the order picking process. These smart glasses allow employees to determine where exactly an item should fit on a cart while they are picking orders and the most efficient route through the warehouse. The AR technology also helps reduce errors, increases order speed, and reduces the need for intensive job training.
VR and AR tools allow managers to get a real-time view of any facility from an offsite location to ensure that processes are running smoothly. The delivery process involves utilizing navigation systems and manually checking the cargo, which is time consuming and increases the chances of accidents. VR technology can be used to superimpose important information about alternate traffic routes, blocked roads, and high-density traffic directly onto the windshield. Further, VR enables secure delivery options for important packages. Using VR with facial recognition technology, the recipient can be matched with the company’s database to ensure customer verification.
Customers too can leverage VR and AR technology to enhance their shopping experience as seen with Ikea’s mobile application that allows customers to view items in its stores using VR technology. With the recent update to Ikea’s app, customers can use their phone’s camera to view any piece of furniture available in Ikea’s catalog in the room of their choosing. Other companies too are offering features where customers can browse retail store and warehouse aisles using VR headsets. With the potential of AR and VR to enhance the supply chain process, companies need to integrate these technologies to remain ahead of the competition.