Use Case

TESCO – Using AR to Increase Supply Chain Auditing Capabilities

Situation

A continuous improvement project aimed at using AR-based remote assistance to streamline multinational grocery chain audits took on special urgency in the face of a global pandemic.

Solution

The Onsight augmented worker platform from Librestream gave Tesco’s auditors the ability to connect with suppliers and employees throughout the supply chain network.

Results

Since deploying the solution, Tesco has been able to maintain and improve its internal auditing requirements. In fact, one Tesco employee completed three supplier virtual site visits in three different countries in one day, all without leaving her home office.

In 2019, multinational grocery retailer Tesco began exploring options for more continuous evaluation of its supply chain. With 45 distribution centers, 6,700 retail stores, and more than 400,000 employees worldwide, the UK-based company wanted to evolve the way it monitored compliance across its supply base, with a focus on continuous improvement.

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The standards and audits team at Tesco felt a technology-based solution was the answer and would provide a cost-effective yet user-friendly approach to utilizing its time and resources. Given the large number of remote support options available on the market today, they were unsure which one would best address their requirements. These requirements included the ability to ensure consistency across all audits, regardless of geographic location and who is performing them, effective use of time and resources when conducting audits and visiting suppliers, and the implementation of a continuous evaluation approach to Tesco’s audit processes.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it accelerated the need for a fitting solution. Suddenly, Tesco’s audit providers could not visit suppliers and distribution centers in Asia and other parts of the world, presenting further challenges to the team. What was originally a continuous improvement project quickly became essential to the effective operation of the audit function.

To ensure business continuity, Tesco turned to Librestream’s Onsight augmented worker platform. With our platform, Tesco auditors can conduct immersive, time-saving virtual audits in remote locations using nothing more than an internet connection and their smartphones, computers, or wearable devices. Using the Onsight app on one of those devices, a plant or floor worker helps the auditor observe and assess the site and its activities. The auditor can do a thorough product or process audit by marking up video and images for clarity and taking control over the camera to adjust lighting and zoom. The data captured from this audit is automatically saved to a centralized knowledge base where it shared with relevant team members.

Tesco’s new remote auditing technology has made it easier to collaborate with remote employees and suppliers, and has helped ensure the audit team was fully deployed throughout the pandemic.

Overall efficiency has improved as well. For example, a Tesco colleague completed virtual site visits in three different countries in a single day, conducting a first product launch audit in Asia, a packaging approval in Ireland, and a hygiene inspection in Spain. Without Onsight, these audits would have taken the better part of two weeks, given the travel required. The augmented reality approach to auditing ensured a more effective use of valuable resources, as well as a reduction in the company’s carbon footprint.

With global teams, vendors, and customers, members of Tesco’s standards and audits team look forward to integrating Librestream’s natural language processing (NLP) translation capabilities to bridge language barriers. NLP simply and securely translates calls in real-time between colleagues speaking different languages with on-screen captions and live spoken translations. Currently, Tesco performs over a quarter of its audits remotely and expects the amount to rise over the coming months as the company expands its use of the Onsight platform. As we enter a new era of food safety and digitization, Tesco has cemented its position as an innovator and leader in the food industry by adopting AR technologies to improve its supply chain.

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