Computer Vision in Logistics: A Revolutionary Guide to Better Management

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Subin SabuBusiness Development Executive at CronJ IT Technologies

Friday, July 23, 2021

Transportation of goods has seen a massive transition in the last century, but with this change, problems have arisen. Enter the solution - computer vision.

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Computer Vision in Logistics: A Revolutionary Guide to Better Management
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With the increase in manufactured goods, manufacturers, industries, retailers and ecommerce firms now take thousands of orders every single day, significantly increasing the burden on shipment. What’s more, customers now demand products to be in pristine condition and delivered in as little time as possible.

So how can you handle receiving thousands of orders in a day while guaranteeing their condition, while simultaneously reducing your expenditure? Computer vision is the answer.

What is computer vision?

Our mind has the special power to identify and categorize objects that we see. Here’s an example. Say you receive two apples; one with shiny red skin and the other with brown skin. You can easily say that the one with the red cover is fresh. But a far more complex process works in the background. Our vision inputs the details and our visual cortex processes the rest. This processing usually happens by considering our experiences and interactions with the outside world.

The same is true for machines. Based on AI, computer vision tends to train machines to understand and decode data visually. In simpler words, this technology analyzes images and videos to process valuable data. This data helps in better decision-making and problem-solving.

In logistics, computer vision helps to enhance productivity. It helps in improving traceability and reducing costs.

An in-depth view of the logistics process

According to RapidTrack, a truck management system, logistics is a complex management procedure and it refers to the flow of goods between two points. Firstly, the point of origin (manufacturing). Secondly, the point of consumption (customers). However, a lot of sub-processes are involved in this umbrella term. It includes:

  • Proper information flow
  • Handling raw materials
  • Overseeing the production process
  • Monitoring the packaging of produced items
  • Inventory management
  • Warehousing
  • Transportation management
  • Sometimes providing security

Managing all these processes takes immense manual labor. This in turn leads to higher expenditure and time consumption. Manual errors also add to this list, but logistics solutions by computer vision can streamline much of this complexity.

How can computer vision help logistics companies to enhance operations?

Computer vision provides solutions to optimize inbound logistics, order fulfillment, sortation and outbound logistics processes. Let’s take a deeper insight into how these solutions work. 

Inbound logistics

  • Firstly, in the product acquisition process, computer vision scans barcodes remotely. The best part about this is it can acquire valuable information from damaged barcodes.
  • Secondly, with the help of image recognition technology, computer vision can help to get accurate product dimension measurements as well as categorize the type of package.
  • For manifest verification, images collected from 2D or 3D scanners are processed using this technology to provide an accurate weight of products.
  • The technology can also decode shiny pallet barcodes due to their wide depth of field analytics technology.
  • Lastly, the machine vision technology verifies labels and detects damaged labels for replacement, thereby ensuring accurate label printing and application.

Order fulfillment

  • The first step in the order fulfillment process is the packaging. Hence, with computer vision’s accurate measurement solutions, logistics providers can measure multiple products on the tray with accuracy to find the right packaging option.
  • Secondly, the technology also verifies barcodes with the information in the database to ensure proper products are taken for picking and packing.
  • In a similar way, the technology verifies each product during item verification.
  • The technology also ensures proper shipping label management.
  • Lastly, the machine vision technology analyzes omni-directional barcodes to ensure the right totes are zones in the route.

Sortation

  • In the product categorization and sortation process, providers can use computer vision-generated measurements to categorize, sort and verify products on the belt with ease.
  • This technology provides clear visibility and detection options when it comes to product tracking during sorter induction.
  • Computer vision helps to avoid recirculation by enhancing read rates and detecting gaps in the line.
  • Moreover, it also provides insights into the root cause of reading issues in the form of photographic proof of errors, heat mapping and code quality metrics.

Outbound logistics

  • Firstly, computer vision helps in auditing shipping costs based on products’ accurate volumetric and dimension measurements.
  • Moreover, this technology increases the reading and loading rate of products, therefore it reduces return rates.
  • Furthermore, due to its speed and accuracy of barcodes, it also enables faster outbound shipments.
  • Lastly, based on the accurate weight and dimension measurements of products, providers can optimize the truck space by estimating the number of products a truck can carry. As a result, more products are delivered on time while costs are saved massively.

Conclusion

A summary of just a handful of the benefits of using computer vision in logistics reads as follows:

  • Achieve 100% traceability of overall logistic operations
  • Reduces chances of errors from manual work
  • Simplify loading processes
  • Optimizes loading and unloading processes at dock doors
  • Eliminate mis-ship costs and fines
  • Eradicate costly returns from customers
  • Provides faster shipping
  • Provide accurate pallet scans in mere seconds
  • Automates item verification process
  • Detection of incorrect or damaged items in real-time 

Whether it be for logistics or manufacturing industries, faster results are what the world demands. From improving traceability to shipping correct items to doorsteps, computer vision can help provide operational optimization, and in this fast-paced world, optimization is a must.

Subin Sabu

Business Development Executive at CronJ IT Technologies

https://www.cronj.com/

Subin is working as a Business Development Executive at CronJ IT Technologies, Bangalore. He has more than 2 years of experience in both Content Management and Business Development. He likes to research about different tech-related trends and write articles on them on a regular basis. 

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