Active Ants’ Stock Pickers Efficiency Increased After Being Given Google Glass

Whether or not Google Glass is useful to the average Joe is debatable. One thing that is not debatable is its usefulness in a business environment. A few businesses have bought Google Glass and are using it to improve their service, this includes Las Vegas Air Conditioning Inc and Active Ants.

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Active Ants is an e-fulfillment company in the Netherlands. Active Ants ships products for around 50 online stores. Active Ants decided to equip two of their stock pickers, people who get stuff off warehouse shelves and make sure it is ready for shipping, with Google Glass.

The Active Ants “Google Glass Experiment” lasted for about a week and it showed positive results. Active Ants found that giving Google Glass and a custom-built stock app to some of their stock pickers reduced their error rate by about 12% and increased their stock picking speed by 15%.

That may not seem like a big change when you first look at the numbers, but if you were to see a company like Amazon implement this, then it could result in a significant amount of time and money saved.

Generally, a picker’s job is done by walking around with a list specifying products and locations. It’s not hard to see how this could impede efficiency. The picker has one hand full at all times when they have to carry around a list. With the custom-built Google Glass app, the pickers can view all that information on the Google Glass display and have both hands free. This allows them to get things down faster, and more easily double check if they got the right thing.

Jeroen Dekker, a managing partner of Active Ants, listed four reasons why the wearable device made the pickers more efficient in a press release.

“The first benefit here is that the picker’s both hands are now free to access products on the shelves. The second benefit is the step towards a paperless world: lists no longer need to be printed, signed and bound. The third and probably the biggest advantage is the time saved by sending orders directly to the Google Glass, without first printing, signing and binding them. The fourth benefit is error reduction. Since the orders appear one by one on the Glass, orders cannot be mixed or forgotten. The traditional paper pick list contains a long list of all orders, which increases the chance of mixing up or missing orders.”

This efficiency improvement was able to be done with the first version of their custom-built app. The company mentions that even though their first version of the app works, there is a lot more that is possible. Their application currently doesn’t take advantage of product image recognition, but they have that planned for version 2.0.

Two workers definitely isn’t a big enough test group to convince a company like Amazon to start giving their pickers smart glasses, but it is a nice example of how Google Glass can indeed help a business. There’s only a handful of businesses taking advantage of smart glasses right now, but as more of these experiments are done, more businesses will hop on the smart glasses train.

Do you have something to add to this story? Have you incorporated smart glasses into your business, or have you visited a business that is using them? Share your thoughts and answers with us in the comments section down below!