August 30, 2021 | Lynn Drewicz
When seeking to shorten delivery cycles and reduce order picking errors, pick-to-light is a go-to technology for distribution centers (DCs), including ecommerce and third-party logistics (3PL), because it is the fastest operator-based picking strategy. In fact, through improved productivity and accuracy, implementing pick-to-light can reduce labor required by up to 50% – a significant advantage during this time of nationwide labor shortages.
What is Pick-to-Light?
Pick to light is a light-based order picking system for split-case picking of items in the warehouse or distribution center. It can be used for manufacturing, kitting or assembling also.
The light modules direct workers to the right zone and SKU, telling workers where and what quantity to pick. The easy-to-see light also serves as the confirm button when picks are made.
Light-directed picking keeps the worker from having to search between one location and another because the picker is visually guided directly to the location, shown the quantity directly at the location, and all pertinent information is provided directly to the picker.
Therefore, pick-to-light is easy to learn – the worker simply reads a number, counts out the quantity and hits a button to extinguish the light. Training is simple, and since many order pickers are temporary staff hired for peak seasons, it keeps throughput and accuracy high with a minimal learning curve.
See how pick-to-light works – watch our demo video! Please click on the video player below.
Top Reasons to Use Pick-to-Light
- 99.9% accuracy level
- Faster order filling, cutting the time needed to pick orders compared to other systems
- Reduced errors and labor costs
- On average, switching to pick-to-light increases productivity by 40%
- Easy integration with WMS, WES, WCS, ERP, and other host systems
- Access to analytics, including real-time graphical productivity and status information, customizable on the user dashboard
- Technological advances in pick-to-light have increased flexibility and functionality, and have brought down the cost of pick-to-light
Additional Fast Facts about Pick-to-Light
- Light-directed systems decrease mental fatigue in workers, meaning less wasted time and effort, and minimizes the time workers spend walking, which improves throughput.
- Pick-to-light integrates seamlessly with most peripherals including barcode scanners and ring scanners.
- Flexible zoning can promote a team-based approach to picking and accommodate almost any level of demand. Bottlenecks in conventional systems can be remedied by pick-to-light, with the work spread out between all pickers for balanced workloads and improved material flow.
Stay tuned for future articles about pick-to-light’s ROI, configuration and success stories!
Lynn Drewicz, Matthews Marketing Manager, has worked with many global manufacturers and material handling suppliers, from custom technical ceramics, metal fabrication and membrane switches, to industrial samplers, heat exchangers, batteries and automation products. Her hobbies include tennis and music.