Light-directed order picking: Fast, accurate and cost-effective.
What is light-directed picking?
Light-directed order fulfillment systems use light indicator modules mounted to shelving, flow rack, work benches, pallet rack and/or other storage locations. Whenever product is needed from a particular location, the corresponding indicator illuminates, drawing attention where action is required. The operator picks the displayed product quantity, then confirms the pick by pressing the lighted button.
By lighting the exact location (or locations) needed, light-directed picking is acknowledged to be the fastest operator-based picking strategy available. In the time it takes to hear and interpret a location number, or read a location number from a pick list of an RF terminal screen, the pick-to-light operator is already making the pick.
Getting the operator to the right location each time greatly simplifies the picking process. Easy-to-complete tasks that are easily replicated dramatically increase pick accuracy.
Hands-Free & Paperless.
No more pick sheets to handle or tally marks to record. Operators simply scan an order number on the carton or tote — and the system does the rest. Paperless picking reduces costs, reduces errors and streamlines operations.
Other computer-based solutions, like radio-frequency (RF) and voice terminals are sequential in operation. The equipment is only capable of showing what the computer thinks should be the next pick. In a light-directed picking system, ALL required pick locations in an area light up at once. This allows the operator to choose the best pick path and even pick in both directions.
Operators in a light-directed system work in assembly line fashion. Each worker’s area is called a zone. Orders are passed from zone to zone on a conveyor, cart or other transport mechanism. This assembly line approach further enhances productivity by reducing walking.
Light-directed picking has been around for more than 30 years. Originally, only the largest facilities with the fastest processing requirements could afford it. Recent advances in technology, plus the advent of Windows-based computer systems, have brought the cost within reach of nearly all order fulfillment operations.