DHL rolls out augmented reality tech initiative

DHL Supply Chain is rolling out the next phase of an augmented reality technology-led project, following reports of a successful trial in the Netherlands.

As part of the Vision Picking Program, pickers at DHL warehouses are equipped with smart glasses which display where each picked item needs to be placed on the trolley. The supply chain organisation says vision picking enables hands-free order picking at a faster pace, along with reduced error rates.

Throughout 2016, the smart glasses will be piloted across various industries such as technology, retail, consumer and automotive industries. The data available from these pilots will further determine the technology’s potential for broader implementation.

Since the initial trial kicked off in the Netherlands in 2014, DHL has worked with its tech partners Google, Vuzix and Ubimax to refine the solution and the organisation is now expanding the initiative across these different industry sectors on a global scale.

Markus Voss, CIO of DHL Supply Chain, said: "The Vision Picking Program is DHL Supply Chain's first translation of what augmented reality solutions can look like for supply chains.

"The broad spectrum in which the technology can be applied across various sectors is exciting to us, and the potential of this technology for business is still largely untapped. We believe this programme is a game changer in how we run our supply chain operations and deliver added value to our customers."

The augmented reality work is part of DHL's wider look into how it can use technology in its supply chain operations, with the organisation committed to trialling a range of robotics and Internet of Things-style solutions in the years ahead. The company recently used robotics in one of its German warehouses for order picking – the robot, which is developed by the French start-up Effidence, is an automated trolley that follows pickers through the warehouse and takes care of most of the physical work.

The pilot sites for the next stage of the Vision Picking Program are spread across the US, mainland Europe and the UK, with the Ricoh facility in Bergen op Zoom, where the solution was first tested, established as the launch site for this new exploration phase.

Click below for more information:

DHL Supply Chain