While Christmas is not here yet, some businesses have been experiencing an extended Christmas-like spike for months now. A joint wearable solution by Panasonic and ProGlove will help to address the challenges that stem from it.
A key take-away of the current crisis is that we need to prepare better for unforeseen events. Experts say we need to add resilience to our supply chains. Above all, this calls for flexible solutions to address uncertain market conditions, volatile environments, sudden spikes and abrupt declines. At the end of the day, we will need to go beyond technology, though. As a matter of fact, we will need to strengthen the human frontline worker.
But how do you go about empowering the human worker? It all starts with providing the tools they need to get their job done. So, technology will definitely need to support that, but we need more. Workers need more. They need technology that is built around them. Technology that puts them in the center from scratch. In other words, we need human centered design when it comes to technology.
The Benefits of Wearable Technology in Today’s Supply Chains
Whether it is e-commerce or any other industry. When you look at the supply chains you will inevitably end up at warehouses and logistics. This kind of work tends to be extremely strenuous. Order picking, inventory checking, packaging and all the other jobs in this context require physical effort and human dexterity. However, this is also the environment in which wearable technology will make a difference. Particularly so, if it follows the principle of human centered design.
As items travel along the supply chain through the warehouses to the customer, they are managed by the use of barcodes. Every process step is documented with a barcode scan. Yet traditional scanner guns come with a couple of issues that can be eliminated by means of wearable barcode scanners.
For instance: Glove scanners can reduce common picking errors by up to 33 percent, i.e. if they come with an instant feedback option that confirms good picks and signals bad picks. In addition, they can decrease scanning time by up to 50 percent because workers no longer have to pick them up, put them back down, let alone search for them. This can amount to a time gain of up to four seconds per scan. And these micro-efficiencies can scale big in high frequency scan environments as we typically find in warehouses and logistics.
Panasonic and ProGlove Provide Combined Wearable Solution
So, in effect wearable barcode scanners can raise quality, increase process reliability and boost efficiency. And yet all these benefits can be enhanced even further with a new combined solution by Panasonic and ProGlove. Both organizations partner to offer a seamless package as a stand-alone scanning solution or as essential elements of Panasonic’s voice picking solutions for the supply chain, warehouse operations, inventory checking and retail.
Aside from that, this joint solution provides the flexibility organizations currently need. It helps augment the human worker and paves the way to the digital evolution of the shop floor. It is a critical step as it lays the groundwork for connecting the human worker to the IoT and promotes human machine collaboration at the same time. In that sense, it supplies and leverages technology that serves human needs. This will be critical as we advance further into the era of artificial intelligence and automation. And while some fear that may come hand in hand with potential job losses, chances are – as an MIT Study suggests – we will see more job openings in the future than we will have workers to fill them. Yet if that turns out to be true, we have yet another reason to provide workers with the best possible relief.