Pick by Light for Warehouse Operations Use Case
Pick by Light or
Pick to Light
In warehouse scenarios where thousands of orders and picks must be completed each hour, relying on a traditional, paper-based, and highly manual warehouse workflow will not be effective.
Picking systems are used in warehouses to remove things from shelves and move them to the proper packing and shipping regions. The activity of warehouse picking is crucial to the organisation as a whole, but it can also be very inefficient and error-prone.
The supply chain sector is changing due to the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies, which greatly impact the category and affordability of order fulfilment technologies. An all-encompassing application of cutting-edge technologies that can automate or enhance the picking process is required. A picking technology termed pick-to-light or pick-by-light is being used in some warehouses to improve the picking procedure.
The Concept of Pick-by-Light
Pick-by-Light, sometimes called pick-to-light, is a technology that involves lights to guide workers as they pick things from warehouse shelves. The light devices are positioned at item locations, such as flow racks, shelving, workstations, or other storage, to direct employees in determining the proper product locations and amounts needed to fulfil an order.
In contrast to other warehouse picking systems, pick-by-light is thought of as the fastest operator-based picking technique that enables quick collection without a list.
A standard light-based selection system combines a string of characters and numbers with various coloured LED lights. Faster accumulation is made possible by these tracking components while still retaining inventory correctness.
Pick-by-light's significant advantage is its convenience; operators just scan a bar code on a shipping container to start an order in their area. LEDs that are illuminated also point pickers in the direction of the goods and show the required unit quantity.
The operator verifies that the activity is over after collecting all the pieces. When they have completed all the necessary picks in that region, they will move on to the next lit site and continue the process there.
How does Pick-by-Light works
Paperless order picking is made possible by Pick-by-Light systems, which are practical and easy to use. Like previous paperless picking systems, Pick-by-Light installations include both hardware and software components.
Systems for picking by light come from many vendors. In addition, many have particular platform preferences and distinctive hardware product features; however, the majority of the pick-by-light hardware goods have the following system components:
LED Display Device
The alphanumeric light display device, which serves as the main point of contact between the picking system and the operator, has an LED for locating the product's SKU and a quantity display for showing the necessary units.
Pickers can typically use a confirmation button to affirm that the tasks have been finished.
The display device has extra buttons that pickers can use to convey quick picks, over-picks, and other specialised functions by increasing or decreasing the shown quantity.
Display light products offer features, including showing the digits of the available quantity or using LEDs with confirmation. In addition, it has various shapes, sizes, and colours.
The time and expense associated with installation are decreased by the new "track light" product design, which mounts to an existing rack or other media storage.
The light devices are supplied with independent power sources and data, generating several benefits.
Reposition the lights on the duct for an easy SKU re-slotting to accommodate natural system expansion, which is made possible by the "plug and play" installation. Bus-based light technology enables customers to use pick-by-light with greater scalability, flexibility, and independence.
Most of the time, the materials needed for installation are ducts, power supplies, and collectors to mount, supply electricity, and communicate with the system.
The software products that pick-by-light offers enable the configuration and management of the light-directed pick process. For smooth integration to download order file data directly, a dependable interface between the pick-by-light and the users' ERP, SCM, SCE, WMS, and other main host systems is essential in high-volume applications.
From tiny pilot systems to big, multi-site deployments, new pick-by-light software packages have now developed into sophisticated order fulfilment execution systems.
Pick-by-lights also have capabilities that enable them to enlarge or even reduce the size of work zones, effectively adjusting labour to the volume of orders being processed.
It offers information on work that is ongoing, work that has been finished, productivity at the pick rate, and other crucial figures.
Industries that can use
Pick-by-light has been implemented by a wide range of vertical businesses, including:
eCommerce & Catalog
Health & Beauty, Cosmetics
Grocery and Convenience Store
Third-Party Fulfillment Providers
Before using Pick-to-Light or Pick-by-Light in your warehouse, please take into account the following deciding factors (s).
Regular Turnover/New Hires: Because many warehouses are seasonal, recruiting temporary labour and frequent turnover is necessary. It takes time and effort, and it costs money, to train new personnel. A light-based picking approach is simpler to teach and learn for almost everyone.
SKU count: If there are too few products, picking up a light may not be essential. Different technology may be required for big warehouses with thousands of SKUs to increase performance.
Current System Performance: The update might not be required if your current system is accurate and not costing you money. Pick to light, however, is practical if you can gain from reduced labour expenses and shrink.
Current Storage Facility: There may be a considerable cost if moving to pick to light requires replacing a significant amount of equipment. Before continuing, each will need to be assessed.
When using the blinking feature, as contrasted to picking without pick-by-light, productivity rates rise by about 15 to 30%. The pick-by-light function is in demand by many businesses due to its advantages.
Advantageous of Pick-by-Light
Businesses can reap numerous benefits from switching to a pick-by-light warehouse system in terms of cost savings and productivity. Here are a few of the main advantages of moving from light to pick.
Faster collection and real-time updates are made possible by a picking system that is connected directly to the shelves. The item is immediately indicated by the light when it is required, without having to wait for a new list of picks. The time that would have been spent printing a fresh list and starting the warehouse search is also saved.