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Published on September 2nd, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise


AR/VR in the Supply Chain

Emergent Insight:
Supply chain logistics means keeping track of lots and lots and lots of things. Millions, maybe billions of things. And getting them from one place to another. Perhaps on the other side of the world. This quick overview at ARPost delivers a report on the present and increasing use of AR & VR by supply chain businesses. Along with artificial intelligence, augmented & virtual reality are helping companies move products faster and more efficiently. We see it when we receive an online order in two days or even same day. At this point an industry such as supply chain logistics must invest in emergent technologies. It has to keep pace with the rest of the world or companies that don’t change will be left behind.

Original Article:
Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Supply chain companies across the globe are making increasing investments in AR/VR and are transforming several industries.

We are witnessing the evolution of AR/VR in the supply chain. What started out as a hi-tech trend for a select few, has grown into a best practice for large enterprises and smaller companies in the global supply chain. Warehouses, production facilities, shipping companies, and retail stores are relying on immersive technologies to work faster, safer, and more efficiently.

The Current State of AR/VR in the Supply Chain

Right now, there is a clear growing trend among companies operating in the logistics and supply chain industry. A survey published by Statista indicates a significant growth in the investments these companies make in AR/VR technologies: 8% in 2017, 23% in 2018, and 34% in 2019.

AR/VR in supply chain - investments from 2017 to 2019
Share of supply chain leaders who are planning to invest in AR and/or VR worldwide from 2017 to 2019; Source: Statista

The main fields of applications for AR/VR in the supply chain according to Forbes are:

  • Order picking in warehousing;
  • Predictive modeling for the internal supply chain loop;
  • Secure and efficient delivery.

However, the outlook on the future indicates that AR/VR is penetrating every layer and operational structure of the supply chain.

What Is the Outlook of AR/VR in the Supply Chain?

From industry forecasts to current projects being implemented across various supply chains, a picture emerges. It shows that AR/VR in the supply chain is one of the key factors for progress. It is especially valuable in the current period when so many employees work remotely.

With data at their fingertips and the possibility to join their colleagues in a virtual environment, work does not have to stop, even though office buildings are closed. After analyzing various ways in which immersive technologies are being adopted in logistics and supply chain, we have came up with the following current and future developments:

1. Inventory Management

Using augmented reality to manage and count stocks is saving time and improving accuracy. This is one of the findings of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. After running a pilot plan in 2018, the NHS has implemented an AR solution across several hospitals to track both inventories and patient data.

The result: 95% improvement both in cost and in time efficiency. This is more than encouraging for other industries managing stocks, especially warehouses, production facilities and distribution companies.

2. Remote Collaboration in Data Visualization

Virtual reality helps transform abstract data into visible and interactive objects. They help production managers make strategic decisions and logistics supervisors distribute stocks to various warehouses according to necessities.

Thus, AR/VR in the supply chain is one of the most efficient ways of getting the most of big data, such as inventory movement, customer demand and market trends.

3. VR Training for Employees

A case study shared by Deloitte shows how VR has helped a large logistics organization train the relevant employees for working with a new piece of equipment. A VR app ensured that:

  • All employees took the training;
  • They worked with a highly detailed interactive 3D model of the equipment;
  • The management could trace the progress of each employee.

The VR training app not only offered better results compared to traditional instruction methods, but also helped the company cut travel and accommodation costs for employees working in different locations.

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About the Author

The Emergent Enterprise (EE) website brings together current and important news in enterprise mobility and the latest in innovative technologies in the business world. The articles are hand selected by Emergent Enterprise and not the result of automated electronic aggregating. The site is designed to be a one-stop shop for anyone who has an ongoing interest in how technology is changing how the world does business and how it affects the workforce from the shop floor to the top floor. EE encourages visitor contributions and participation through comments, social media activity and ratings.

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