Pick-to-light systems create efficiencies, improve accuracy, and can quickly provide a substantial return on investment

As more and more warehouses and distribution centers look to solutions to increase efficiency, pick-to-light systems are getting more and more attention. So what exactly is pick to light, and how can it benefit your operation?

What is Pick-to-Light and how can it benefit you?

What is a Pick-to-Light System?

A pick-to-light system is a paperless technology used in order picking and fulfillment processes within warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. It’s designed to improve accuracy, efficiency, and speed when assembling orders and picking items for shipment. The system uses a combination of lights and displays to guide workers through the picking process.

Here’s how a pick-to-light system typically works:

Each storage location or bin in the picking area is equipped with a display module. This module includes a visual indicator, such as a light or a numerical display.

The pick-to-light system receives information about the items to be picked from an order management system or WMS software. This information is then transmitted to the display modules associated with the relevant storage locations. When an order picker arrives at a storage location to fulfill an order, the pick-to-light system activates the corresponding display module.

The display module uses lights or numeric displays to visually indicate how many items need to be picked from that location. It might also display other information, such as item descriptions or order details.

Once the picker has retrieved the required quantity of items from the storage location, they confirm the pick by pressing a button or triggering a sensor on the display module. The pick-to-light system then communicates the picking confirmation back to the central management software, which updates inventory levels and order status in real-time.

Benefits of Pick-to-Light Technology

Pick-to-light systems are particularly beneficial in environments with a high number of SKUs and frequent order turnovers. They’re commonly used in e-commerce, retail distribution, pharmaceuticals, and other industries where accurate and efficient order fulfillment is crucial.

There are myriad benefits to pick-to-light systems, including:

Accuracy: The visual indicators reduce the likelihood of human error, as pickers are guided to the correct items and quantities.

Speed: The system speeds up the picking process by providing clear instructions and eliminating the need for manual searching.

Efficiency: Pickers can work more efficiently with reduced training time and improved workflow. There are reduced labor costs because the resulting increases in efficiency and speed – as well as due to the elimination of piles of paperwork.

Lower Labor Costs: Traditional order picking methods add up to one of the biggest expenses in warehouse operations. But systems implemented for less walking, shorter time to order fulfillment, greater order accuracy – all these factors lead to a major benefit in reduced labor costs.

Real-time Updates: The system provides real-time data on order progress and inventory levels.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: All of the above-mentioned benefits contribute to improved levels of customer service.

Versatility:  What’s more, pick-to-light systems can be customized to suit different warehouse layouts and order picking strategies. These systems can be standalone or integrated into existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems or existing warehouse management systems (WMS).

What about Put-to-Light Systems?

Similar to pick-to-light systems, put-to-light systems use visual indicators to assist workers in accurately placing items into the correct storage locations.

Like the name implies, a put-to-light system is a technology used in warehousing and order fulfillment processes to guide workers through the process of putting away incoming items into designated storage locations. These systems are particularly useful in improving the efficiency and accuracy of inventory replenishment and restocking operations.

Put-to-light systems are particularly valuable in environments with a high volume of incoming items and a need for quick and accurate replenishment. They are commonly used in industries such as e-commerce, retail, manufacturing, and distribution centers to improve overall warehouse efficiency and inventory management.

Of course, the optimal setting for both pick-to-light and put-to-light systems is a high-density environment.

Next Steps

Implementing Pick-to-Light and Put-to-Light solutions result in the highest productivity, competitiveness and ergonomics rates.  Our specialists analyze your operations in order to find the best-in-class solution for your business.

Contact a material handling and automation expert to help you streamline your operations to maximize productivity and increase your ROI.