Spotlight: Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light Systems
Order accuracy and fulfillment throughput are two measures of a successful warehouse that could vary by a wide margin, depending on your order volume, error allowance, and pick rate.
Two solutions that can allow companies to increase throughput & accuracy are put-to-light or pick-to-light technologies. Depending on their needs, these systems offer efficiencies such as reduced lead times, increased order accuracy, labor efficiency, and more. If these are challenges that you face, you may see a return on your investment in the technology faster than you think.
Both technologies use similar hardware and software and allow companies to reduce training time for employees, getting them up to speed – quite literally – faster.
Is Your Business Right for Pick-to-Light Systems?
The profile of a distribution center that could benefit most from a pick-to-light system is housing a fixed set of SKUs with a high volume of orders. Here is how it works:
- Operators scan a bar code on a tote to start an order
- The lights on your pick locations illuminate, directing pickers to designated slots
- Pickers select product in appropriate quantities
- Operators confirm the picks using buttons on the lights
- Steps 1-4 are repeated until the order is fulfilled
- Order is sent to shipping
These systems do have two downsides with higher upfront costs for larger-scale facilities and limited flexibilities in terms of reconfiguration. However, that is often offset through a return on investment that comes with increased order accuracy and labor productivity. Particularly in zone picking operations, this system keeps your team active in an assembly-line process that builds orders actively.
Is Your Business Right for Put-to-Light Systems?
The businesses that benefit the most from put-to-light systems fulfill a high volume of orders from a relatively small number of SKUs, particularly in e-commerce. How it works:
- SKUs are picked in large batches for multiple orders & sent to the put area
- The operator scans a bar code
- Lights illuminate on the put wall indicating which orders need the SKU
- Those items are put to the appropriate order totes, boxes or slots
- Once all items are put to an order, the put wall operator is notified that order is complete & it is sent to packing
- Another associate packs the goods at a packing station
- Order is sent to shipping
While there are more advanced fulfillment systems, put-to-light can offer increased efficiencies and accuracy in fulfillment. It provides a paperless strategy that links an employee to an order and can facilitate distribution centers that house a subset of SKUs that account for a large percentage of item movement. E-commerce, direct-to-consumer-and other situations with a large volume of small line count orders often see the best return.
Learn More, Get Started
By reducing errors, quicker picking and faster fulfillment, put-to-light, and pick-to-light systems are beneficial for a variety of industries. However, it may not be necessary if your order accuracies and workflows are at ideal levels. But are they at the appropriate levels of efficiency? How do you know?
Our team has years of expertise in the utilization of both put-to-light and pick-to-light technologies and would be happy to speak with you if you think your business can benefit from installing these systems. If you are interested, or even unsure if your warehouse is an ideal fit, contact us today to learn more!