Pick-to-Light has been shown to be one of the most productive person to goods order fulfillment solutions for high volume, full and split case fulfillment operations. A highly accurate and cost effective order fulfillment methodology, pick-to-light increases throughput rates by efficiently directing pickers to selected product locations with digital light displays and directing the details of each of their picks.
This reduces operator walk/search time while dramatically decreasing operator errors. It also frees an operator’s hands for more efficient picking and packing.
How Pick-to-Light Technology Works:
Pick-to-Light systems (also known as pick-by-light systems) generally consist of a racking system with an array picking or product locations (also referred to as pick faces) that each have a Pick Quantity Display (or PQD) associated with it.
A PQD is a bright, easy to read, LED display panel that is used to direct a pick as part of the order fulfillment process.
While there are a wide range of Pick Quantity Displays available, they usually consist of:
- An indicator light (used to draw a picker’s attention to the location).
- One or more numeric and/or alphanumeric displays (used to indicate the quantity of items to be picked from that location).
- One or more push buttons (used to confirm task completion).
- Up/down push buttons (used for incrementing/decrementing the quantity if needed).
- Illuminated arrows to indicate exact product location (if that PQD is shared between two pick locations).
Optional Pick Quantity Display/Pick-to-Light system features can include:
- Large format lights (for either scrolling messages or display of item description/lot number).
- Audio sounds (for pick confirmation).
- Hand held radio frequency device integration.
The Pick-to-Light Process:
To initialize a pick, the picker scans a barcode associated with an order carton or tote. Invata’s warehouse control software then triggers the Invata Pick-to-light PQDs to automatically direct the picker through the picking process until that order is complete.
A PQD lights for each item to be picked, indicating the quantity necessary for that order. The operator picks each item, confirming each pick by depressing a confirmation button.
If an item is shorted, the picker can indicated that as well via the PQD.
All information regarding that and other orders is updated on a real-time basis via Invata’s warehouse software and is subsequently used to drive functions such as replenishment, labor allocation, bucket brigade boundaries, and dynamic pick line slotting.
Enhanced Operational Flexibility and Productivity through Pick-to-Light:
Ideally suited for team concepts such as zone picking or dynamic zone balancing (bucket brigade picking), Invata pick-to-light systems are both efficient and easy to learn.
Order selector training on a pick-by-light system is easy and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes, enabling the use of temporary labor to meet seasonal peaks and month end surges.
And with light based systems, both the productivity and accuracy of the order selector is dramatically enhanced over results obtained in either paper or RF based order fulfillment processes.
Benefits of an Invata Pick-to-Light solution:
- Eliminates the need for paper pick lists, labels, and RF terminal handling.
- Dramatically improves productivity while decreasing counting and substitution errors by enabling hands free picking.
- Is easy to use, requiring minimal operator training.
- Allows real-time replenishment response to order selection activity.
- Allows productivity and accuracy tracking of individual pickers.
- Enables dynamic zone balancing through bucket brigade management of order selection zones.
- Can be integrated with other order selection technology such as ASRS, radio frequency terminals, carousels, A-Frame picking, and other picking methodologies.
- Enables proactive throughput management through real-time productivity reporting.
- PQD’s feature built-in diagnostics for use in trouble shooting and system maintenance.
- System is fully integrated with Invata warehouse control software for host reporting and management, and real-time decision execution for such functions as replenishment, labor allocation, bucket brigade boundaries, and dynamic pick line slotting.
- Includes fully integrated exceptions processing capabilities.
Pick-to-Light Integration Considerations
Of equal importance to the performance of a pick-to-light system is the warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse control system (WCS) software used to integrate a pick-to-light into an intralogistics system. Invata’s own FastTrak® warehouse execution software suite is a key asset to achieving optimal performance for pick-to-light systems of all types.
To learn more about what an Invata pick-to-light solution can do for your operation, contact us. We’ll be happy to share more about our rich history of employing pick-to-light technology to enhance order fulfillment productivity.