How Computer Vision is Streamlining Supply Chain Management

In the era of Industry 4.0, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a well-oiled machine running their supply chain management processes. Fortunately, recent advancements in technology—specifically, computer vision—have made it possible for businesses to streamline their inventory management, thereby reducing the chances for human error and increasing overall efficiency. Here’s a closer look at how computer vision is helping with supply chain management.

What is Computer Vision?

Computer vision is a branch of artificial intelligence that uses computers to interpret digital images or videos to develop a high level of understanding of those images. In other words, it allows computers to learn and identify objects, faces, scenes, and gestures by replicating the complexities of the human eye. This technology is becoming increasingly prevalent thanks to the advancement of machine learning algorithms and the increasing availability of powerful computers. 

Computer vision is able to be tailored and trained to specific business needs. The process starts by using algorithms that allow machines to learn and collect data in order to accurately recognize objects. This process begins with labeled data, which are images or videos that have been tagged with business specific labels such as work zone, equipment, and even specific individuals. The machine then uses this data to create a model that will be able to identify the specific object when it is seen in an image or video. To train the model, the algorithm is run on a large dataset of labeled images and videos until it reaches the desired accuracy level. By providing more training data, the algorithm can further refine its accuracy and achieve greater precision in its detection capabilities. The result is a computer vision algorithm that has learned how to recognize objects accurately from an image or video feed. This data can then be used to help in several different business processes, including supply chain management.

How Can Computer Vision Help Businesses?

There are many ways in which computer vision can help businesses run more efficiently, but perhaps the most impactful way is through inventory management. Traditional inventory management systems rely on human employees to do everything manually. From scanning items and inputting data to surveying shelves and forecasting consumer product needs – this process is not only time-consuming, but it is also prone to error.

Computer vision systems make it much easier to track inventory. By scanning images of the items, these systems can verify the products’ state, shelf life, and label information. In addition, cameras can track the movement of inventory items using their barcodes. This will drastically cut back on lost inventory, saving the company time and money. Computer vision-powered inventory management will also help reduce shortages of specific items ensuring shelves are never empty. It can even identify damaged goods or even sub-par products or produce that can be removed from the shelves allowing for a better customer shopping experience.   

These days, many warehouses and distribution centers are using robots equipped with computer vision technology to verify quality, pick items from shelves and load them onto trucks or conveyor belts. The speed and accuracy with which these robots operate help to further increase efficiencies in supply chain management processes as well as ensure only products that meet the company’s quality standards are being shipped. By tracking items from production to destination, companies are able to see exactly what items are going where. This ensures that shipments are not lost or sitting in the wrong area of a warehouse where they can go undetected for months or even years rendering the contents useless. 

Creating Quality From Start To Finish

Quality is paramount for manufacturers in this day and age of consumer choice. However, the creation process is usually automated, which can lead to a lack of oversight and errors going unnoticed until hundreds or even thousands of units are produced. This results in lost time, resources, and money – or worse still, if these defective items have been released to consumers creating a PR disaster.

Computer vision on the production line allows for better quality control and the ability to catch problems or errors much sooner. Not only will this save companies time and money but it will also aid in maintaining a company’s reputation of quality products while still supporting a quick manufacturing turnaround leading to happy customers all around. 

Benefits of Using Computer Vision in Supply Chain Management 

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, using computer vision in your supply chain management process can also lead to reduced costs, increased safety, and improved customer satisfaction. 

  • Reduced Costs: When you use computer vision to automate your inventory management process, you free up your employees to focus on other tasks that may be more value-added. This can lead to increased efficiencies and reduced labor costs over time. 
  • Increased Safety: Because computer vision systems can quickly and accurately identify potential hazards in the workplace (e.g., spills, trip hazards), they can help increase employee safety and reduce workplace accidents. It can also monitor if employees are wearing the proper personal protective equipment and if not, alert managers to ensure that everyone is working to create a safe work environment.  
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: By ensuring that orders are picked and shipped accurately and on time, computer vision can help improve customer satisfaction levels with your business. In today’s competitive landscape, this is more important than ever. 

It’s undeniable that computer vision offers several advantages for businesses looking to streamline their supply chain management. From increased accuracy and efficiency to better visibility into inventory levels, this technology is quickly becoming a staple in companies across industries. 

Lunar Eye is on the cutting edge of computer vision technology with supply chain management being just one of the many ways it can be used to improve your business. Contact Lunar Eye for a free demo and to learn more about how computer vision can boost your supply chain management systems as well as additional ways it can boost your business. You may be surprised at all the benefits computer vision can bring to your company.