Using augmented reality (AR) glasses that includes a heads-up display (HUD) field for warehouse associates is helping improve picking accuracy and productivity, with other applications in view as well, attendees were told at Ecommerce Operations Summit in Columbus, OH.

Adrian Kumar, Vice President of Solutions Design, North America for DHL Supply Chain, said his company has been testing the use of AR glasses in picking operations at eight facilities worldwide since 2015. Given the right kind of profile – low density, high SKU count, cluster picking for e-fulfillment – DHL has seen average productivity gains of 10% to 15%.

“That’s not necessarily a game- changing productivity increase, but for something has a similar cost basis to a standard pick assist device, that you can switch out to your existing operations, I think it’s pretty significant,” Kumar said during his session.

Kumar said for DHL the cost of an AR solution is “more than an RF gun, but nowhere near the equipment for pick to light.” He added that AR provides much more operational flexibility than either RF or pick-to-light systems.

Krishna Venkatasamy, Chief Technology Officer of Lucas Systems, who co-presented with Kumar, said AR devices provide not only navigation guidance to warehouse associates but tell them what to pick and the quantity. “It’s not just how to use the hardware, but how the software can enable operations to be more efficient,” Venkatasamy said.

He added ease of use is a critical factor for warehouse AR applications like this. “If you don’t design the software to make sure the…