What’s far-reaching for ERP system or even business processes if applied with Immersive Experience?
Typically, average customers have thought of video games or entertainment sectors, when coming to Immersive Experience. The Immersive Experience is composed of (Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), 360-Degree Content, Digital Twin, Mixed Reality (MR), and even Extended Reality (XR)).
However, there are vast potentials of the systems that can further improve businesses’ processes and the ERP system. Some of the significant industries have applied some of the systems as AR in a limited amount, yet successfully enhanced the part of business processes as inventory and manufacture sectors.
The businesses/manufacturers forecasted that the ERP system could further be enhancing with variation systems since it allows the bridge between different processes as management, employees, physical, and digital in real-time tasks. The ERP systems had designed to streamline the company’s operations and bring many benefits as even real-time information provided to the company.
Yet several issues need to be addressed: Skills Gap and Training, E-commerce, Testing and Reducing wasted materials, and Remote Workers/Traveling.
These technologies will address these issues, and even pushing the envelope of the applications as real-time communication, collaborators, data-sharing, even employees (white-collar and blue-collar) and more, beyond original creators of ERP implementation system could be imagined.
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To brief-describe these technologies:
1. 360-Degree Contents — an interactive photo or a video recording shot in 360 degrees at the same time, thus enabled the feature: viewing the content with 360-degree capability.
2. Digital Twin — in short words, they are a virtual model of a real-life object, process, or even system. It’s possible to create a digital twin, even if a physical object doesn’t exist, as long as the data does. They are excellent for displaying detailing data, monitoring, control, visualization, and even running simulations.
3. Virtual Reality (VR) — a computer simulation allows the user immersing into the digital world, and gaining the ability to interact with the environment.
4. Augmented Reality (AR) — a computer simulation enhances the user’s perception of the real world. AR system is designed to overlap relevant data with the environment.
5. Mixed Reality (MR) — an attempt designed to combine the best worlds of VR and AR. MR aims to achieve better immersion by integrates whole virtual objects into the real world, thus respond to change in the environment and user interaction in real-time. Sometimes, it was called Augmented Reality 2.0.
6. Extended Reality (XR) — Umbrella terms for all environments that can be enhanced, mixed, or even wholly replaces reality.
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How do these technologies change the ERP system?
The purpose of the ERP systems was streamlining business processes and real-time data-sharing. However, they didn’t address some of the issues altogether: Skills Gap and Training, E-commerce, Testing and Reducing wasted materials, and Remote Workers/Traveling.
How does XR systems solve these problems?
Skills Gap and Training –
There are several factors for the skills gap: The retirement of Baby Boomer, requirement skills have rapidly changed, and even increasing expenditure for traditional training. These aged skilled workers are leaving the industries with decades of knowledge and experiences, which leaves a significant gap in productivity and introducing inefficient performance in processes. This issue doesn’t help the companies who attempted to improve the operations via either ERP implementation or regular restructured methods.
Recently technologies, regulations, and even automation have continuous evolving. Thus it’s difficult for the workforce to keep up as skills are getting more complex, and senior people have some inexperience with technologies.
Additional to this, some traditional training got more expensive, and regular classroom training is ineffective in necessary skills. For example, it’s challenging to teach specific skills to new workers, when it’s coming to sophisticated engines, manufacturing certain materials, or even procedures as operating sites.
Safety is another factor for the issue of training, as specific industries have suffered preventable workplace accidents/fatalities. The numbers have been increasing year over year. This issue costs billions in terms of lives and materials. It’s very challenging to training employees to retain the knowledge and experiences in various situations.
Manufacturer’s processes as the Assembly lines and its workers have still restrained by these issues. That can slow down the processes if even augmented with an ERP system.
For an organization to get the best out of its ERP investment, they have to invest in relevant training. Thus, another issue of training is the cost of trainers and their expense of traveling. ERP systems often require human trainers when it comes to training.
This problematic leads to severe recoups for longer than necessary time for businesses’ operating and ERP implementation.
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Potential solutions –
To train workers effectively, companies may need to shift to XR systems combined with Machine Learning, AI, and wearable/smart devices. These technologies will empower companies by cutting down training time, costs, materials, construction times, and even providing simulations that once considered impossible or very costly.
The University of Maryland’s study showed that users have higher and better retention with VR with 90.48 percent, compared to traditional training as desktop does. That means employees can remember their training better and respond to real-life scenarios quickly and safely. Some of the best parts of the XR system are editable and reusable, thus saving the costs in both short and long terms.
The benefits are not only training but productivity, too. With the help of the AR, the workers can check and complete their tasks faster and easier.
If properly training or reskill people with VR/AR systems, then it’s easier to support highly distributed, flexible manufacturing strategies. This way, it’s possible to increase productivity while performing complexity or customization.
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Shopping markets have recognized that customers have shifted into the digital world for shopping experience, not just brick stores only. However, the processes as order-picking, marketing, and management in a warehouse can be sometimes problematic for any employees and management. For some companies, their business processes have some difficult to adapt to digital experience, as customers have a limited span of attention before shifting to their competitors.
Marketing has oversaturated, and it’s necessary to stand out from the competitors to catch prospective buyers. Sometimes, traditional marketing took a long time to reach customers or ineffective, as some customers have become jaded or unfamiliar with certain products/services.
Management in warehouse and Order-Picking are both crucial processes for customers to receive their correct products along with the right quantity. Currently, they are challenging to do, since manual inventory is quite slow and prone to human factors. That part combined with very time-consuming and lengthy for logistics companies. That potentially leads to mix-up or loss of inventories, when it comes to shipping to customers.
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Potential Solutions –
VR/AR system could help customers by comparing two different products in smart mirrors or smartphones, along with testing them before purchase the actual product. This application can offer similar uses with almost any products like cars, clothes, tools, etc.
Marketing can be improved by similar applications, as AR technology can offer insights about the products before being purchased by customers. This technique can enhance the whole experience of the users to the next level. IE the companies can attach their customers efficiently by providing relevant details/information on their products through customers’ AR applications, or making their products/services excitement by companies’ promotion applications.
With the help of the AR system, Management in warehouse and Order-Picking will be easier when trained with AR and replace the bulk handheld devices with HMDs (Head Mounted Display), thus boost productivity and reduce errors/shop-floor confusion.
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Testing and Reducing wasted materials –
If the ERP system has successfully implemented, that doesn’t mean it’s successful with reducing the wasting materials ultimately. That part only trimmed excess manufacture processes. Sometimes, the content have wasted by several factors as mistaken/revoked orders, flaws within materials, human elements, product spec changed, and even external environments.
Besides that, sometimes, it’s necessary to create several prototypes to find concrete data, testing concepts, or even presenting visually presentations toward clients/suppliers/funders.
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Potential Solutions –
With XR systems as AR, VR, MR, or combined system, the employees can create some prototypes, demonstrations, or even mass-production without even using materials or reducing wasted usages before finalizing the processes.
One example of this method has used in Real estate, Architecture/Design: The significant agencies have to design their immersive experience more immersive as clients could view their portfolio or prototype of clients’ dream houses/business buildings. The clients and designers can explore building designs in a 1:1 scale, and can experiment with different parameters, without wasting valuable time/materials as traditional model miniatures/planning papers do.
Another example is Engineering, Maintenance, and Repair: When repairing/maintenance, engineers can receive useful data quickly. This AR system can be paired with an advanced AI system to provide engineers with valuable suggestions.
During the design phase, designers/engineers can take advantage of a digital twin, as it will allow them to see their creations in a virtual environment without the need to build costly prototypes. Another function of a digital twin is the simulations for digital creations, thus more accessible to running simulations and collecting analytical data in real-time processes.
In a virtual environment, automobile engineers constructing their digital prototype vehicle, and then testing it in various virtual environments as weathers, roads, functionality of automobile, etc. Of course, there will be still necessary to produce a real prototype vehicle for human interaction and physical testing.
Another usage is “See what I see” feature, that allows expert view things from the user’s perspective. Imagine a designer tweak the design, while at the same time, the client/expert/operator finds any issues. If that happens, then the designer can quickly change the layout, then upload the updated plan.
These methods just further simplifies business processes and cutting down research and department (R&D) and development time into a much shorter time than traditional methods allow.
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Remote Workers/Traveling –
Currently, some difficulties could potentially be producing poor relationships between experts and employees. It depends on the severity of problems or time-limited, thus necessary to bring in experts or seniors immediately. However, there are the challenges of traveling or the availability of experts.
Sometimes, external influence as weather, mechanic problems, increases costs, etc., can lead to delaying or canceling flights. Besides that, some aging experts may retire and take knowledge with them, or some got injured. Thus, this will shorten the pool of experts available for troubleshooters. Management/employees have to scramble for the remaining experts or searching in different locations or services to compensate for the loss of some human resources.
That move will place heavy pressures on companies, who relied on quality or small margin of error for the operations.
Additional to this, business traveling can be stressing, exhausting, time-consuming, and high expenditures. It takes a high amount of time to do repeating chores and attend the same meetings in different locations. For example, the company will send middleman to promote their products/services in different places and different time zones.
That means the potential of human errors as fatigues, stresses, and even lack of experience/knowledge will rise, and it will costs the companies several millions to billions if not implement solutions quickly.
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Potential Solutions –
With the help of the VR system, it’s easier to get a connection between experts and employees/managements via being remote workers. Remote corroborates works contribute to fostering better relationships between people and workers since experts can be reaching at anywhere and anytime.
Thus, the users can solve their problems faster and safety, since experts can work together with troubleshooters by using the “See what I See” feature as previously mentioned, as they encounter unexpected situations or sophisticated technologies.
The difficulties of business travel will reduce when implemented adequately with the VR system, along with lowering travel costs altogether. This way, some of the business meetings can hold in a virtual room, and only traveling if necessary.
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Many ERP implementations’ success cases have proven the ERP systems’ worth. However, new technologies have appeared lately as cloud technologies and XR systems. They have shown the ERP systems hadn’t reached true potential yet.
Yes, it will be very costly and time to implement the new technologies, but when technologies become mainstream, the payoff will immense for any businesses early adopt the immersive experience. This immersive experience will open endless possibilities for any company and market.
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