With e-commerce becoming a massive force for just about everyone in the logistics industry, trickling down from major players to the smallest companies in the field, it's vital for all involved to keep up with the latest supply chain trends. Those firms that cannot keep up are likely to be left behind in the warehouse technology revolution. It's important for executives to consider the power cutting-edge mobile devices and wearables can provide in increasing physical inventory efficiency these days.
There are many practical applications for wearables when conducting physical inventory counts, all of which serve to make these processes go more quickly and with greater accuracy, according to EBN Online. The ability of any logistics firm to seamlessly incorporate the use of connected mobile devices and wearables into their larger operations will help them take the vital next step forward, because of the various applications they carry. For instance, mobile devices can add NAV barcode scanning data to a warehouse management system in real time and make the whole process much easier to complete. Wearables carry a similar benefit, depending the type used, but the latest models also really move businesses into next-gen territory.
Smart glasses bring a clear vision
Smart glasses feel like something out of science fiction, but they are beginning to catch on with a lot of logistics companies in the real world, according to a report from Minyanville. As the name implies, these are wearable devices that remain connected to a WMS platform and display relevant information directly into a worker's field of vision. They show users information about exactly how to pick and pack certain items in the warehouse, the easiest path to the items they need to pull from shelves and the latest inventory data.
The significant benefit is that smart glasses are hands-free. They can record video and transmit in real time when needed. There will never be any question about what workers should be doing in a given situation, because the exact instructions they need will be directly in front of them at all times. Visual guidance increases efficiency and decreases the number of errors made in inventory or picking processes.
Major companies in the logistics and transportation fields have already started to incorporate this kind of technology into their daily operations, and they say the results have been positive. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus recently adopted wearables across a number of different production and logistics processes and have enjoyed productivity gains of roughly 500 percent.
More common tech catching on too
Apple's entry to the wearable field – the Apple Watch – is moving into more commercial and industrial uses as well, including those that can benefit logistics companies, according to Computer World. Apple Watches now pair with a growing assortment of digital assistants and data-based apps that help workers adhere to the most efficient operations possible by transmitting new orders to certain employees as soon as they come in or tracking the status of any given order in real time. In the future, more offerings could connect the Apple Watch to smart glasses and other technology based on augmented reality.
In general, it's a good idea for decision-makers in the logistics field to continually review all emerging technology and whether it will mesh with their existing inventory management software. Having the ability to examine these issues on an ongoing basis will empower the best possible steps forward as the industry evolves.