As part of its company-wide digitization strategy – DHL Supply Chain – the contract logistics arm of the Deutsche Post DHL Group – is further expanding the deployment of ‘smart glasses’ and wearables.
As one of the first customers worldwide, DHL will now use the second-generation of Glass Enterprise Edition. The device can virtually support the vision picking process in warehouses. Augmented reality in the warehouse is driving a more accurate, productive and efficient picking process.
While user-friendly and intuitive, hands-free picking is providing a positive experience and high approval rating among employees. The successful use of smart glasses in contract logistics has also convinced other DHL business units. In the future, DHL Express will also use these wearables in its hubs.
Smart glasses have been very successfully piloted at DHL Supply Chain in early 2015 before making them a standard in today’s warehouse operations with DHL.
Following test runs in the USA, Europe and the UK, the contract logistics company has rolled out this technology step by step over the past few years and is now using vision picking, a picking process supported with augmented reality, in most geographical regions.
A success that also convinced DHL Express who is using smart glasses at its freight hubs in Brussels, Belgium, and at Los Angeles Airport, USA. Further deployments are planned at the US airports of New York, Cincinnati and Chicago.
“With the second generation of Glass Enterprise Edition, we can now provide our customers and employees with even more powerful, technically optimised smart glasses. The possibility of object recognition is also particularly promising for us in industrial applications.
“With the corresponding software, it is no longer just possible to read out barcodes, locate products and display the corresponding storage compartment; in future, also complex objects can be identified with the smart glasses.
“We expect this to lead to further productivity increases from which our employees and our customers will benefit equally,” said Markus Voss, COO and CIO of DHL Supply Chain.
Improvements to the latest generation of smart glasses include longer battery life, a processor that is twice as fast, and shorter charging times. According to the manufacturer, the devices are also much more robust. Improvements take the industrial use in intralogistics into account.
“These glasses and other wearables such as ring scanners and Smart Watches are already being used commercially in many of our warehouses.
“While these applications are only one part of a company-wide digitalization strategy at DHL Supply Chain, that includes the use of robots, drones, autonomous vehicles and many other technologies, I am particularly pleased with the positive feedback from the colleagues who work with these wearables on a daily basis.
“The operation is so intuitive, their hands are free to “pick” and the visual support helps to locate the products really fast and sort them into the intended trolley boxes. Our colleagues are perfectly equipped to carry out picking quickly,” added Voss.