Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

DB Schenker views smart glasses for order picking

Steve Rogerson
July 14, 2020

Logistics service provider DB Schenker has introduced smart glasses from German firm Picavi in order-picking operations, with the goal of implementing the smart picking as standard procedure across multiple locations.
During a trial period, the smart picking application was explored in Bremen and Rodgau, Germany, with the team in Rodgau combining this with intelligent scanning gloves from ProGlove.
“Here at DB Schenker, we are continuously searching for ways to improve our operations by efficiency gains,” said Xavier Garijo, board member at DB Schenker. “Our partnerships with Picavi and ProGlove are two of our latest success stories as we drive innovations in contract logistics. By introducing smart glasses and smart gloves in our warehouses, we are investing in our future as the supply chain partner of choice for companies around the world.”
Picavi uses Google Glasses to project required information into the user’s field of vision. This means warehouse workers have both hands available for their primary work of picking goods instead of holding a hand scanner and paper documents. The hands-free product can increase productivity while reducing errors.
ProGlove is an intelligent scanning glove that is activated by pressing a button on the glove, allowing employees to use both hands for picking. It is already in use at DB Schenker’s warehouse in Eching, near Munich.
DB Schenker’s location in Bremen supplies contract logistics for the automotive industry. The use of Picavi glasses led to a measurable and direct increase in efficiency compared with the previously hand-held scanners.
The second implementation took place in Rodgau, near Frankfurt, where Picavi glasses are used with ProGlove to increase efficiency.
“The fact that a company like DB Schenker, with almost 800 contract logistics locations worldwide, has effectively implemented a proof of concept with us testifies to the performance of the Picavi smart glasses,” said Jens Harig, CEO of Picavi. “The strong visual guidance and hands-free approach distinguishes the pick-by-vision solution from other picking systems. This is where we set standards for the market and within the future of DB Schenker.”
The smart-picking technology consists of two components: the glasses and either a finger ring or scanning glove. After the ordered item is picked, which is recorded by the ring or glove scanner, the next order is displayed on the lens of the glasses. The user only needs to look up slightly, meaning their normal field of vision is not compromised. The system is controlled using buttons on the battery pack, which weighs 200g and is attached to the employee’s belt.
The cooperation with Picavi is the latest project in digitalisation and innovation, as DB Schenker works to create the warehouse of the future. Other recent examples include virtual reality training for forklift drivers and the implementation of exoskeletons to relieve warehouse employees of heavy loads.
DB Schenker has around 76,200 employees at more than 2100 locations in over 130 countries.