A pick-to-light system is a simple way to boost your warehouse operations. The system improves workflow by integrating light-displays that guide operators, so they pick more efficiently.

How a Pick-to-Light Boosts Order Fulfillment Productivity

Pick-to-light system implementation improves warehouse efficiency by offering a variety of daily operational and long-term growth benefits. It’s one of the most prevalent and cost-effective ways of ordering for those looking for a warehouse order fulfillment system.

What is a warehouse order fulfillment system?

Today, there’s an increased pressure to deliver orders to customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. An order fulfillment system allows you to meet customer demands by improving organization, order management, packing, shipping, and communication processes.

The first step in improving your warehouse processes, warehousing and distribution services is to consider which type of order fulfillment system supports your current functions or allows you to improve your operations to account for business expansion.

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Types of order fulfillment systems

Voice picking

Pick-by-voice systems are ideal for operations with a high number of SKUs that are in a large warehouse facility. The system uses RFID or WiFi to relay verbal instructions throughout the facility.

Voice-directed warehousing is paperless, hands-free, and eyes-free, ensuring operators don’t have to look down, pushbuttons, or do any other tasks that distract from picking.

RF picking

The Radio Frequency picking solution is a paperless system that employs RF scanners and mobile devices for order fulfillment. The system has a host server that communicates with a WMS to send and receive order information.

Then, the data is sent to the RFs that send operators to the proper pick location. RF picking is typically utilized for the fulfillment of large order quantities of various items.

Pick-by-label

A pick-by-label system is a manual solution where operators use various labels for picking, attaching one to each item selected. Manual label picking is best used for mid to small-sized orders and is inexpensive to implement into warehouse operations, making it accessible to small-scale facilities.

Pick-to-light

A pick to light system allows for hands-free picking, which increases the accuracy and efficiency of order fulfillment. These systems can often be integrated with existing operational procedures, allowing for a smaller learning curve and an economical way to automate picking processes.

Pick-to-light solutions are far more efficient than paper and scanning-based systems, enabling companies that utilize them to maximize their output.

What is pick-to-light technology

A pick-to-light system is order fulfillment technology that’s meant to improve the accuracy and productivity of picking. Additionally, the system is paperless. It works by utilizing alphanumeric displays and buttons at fulfillment locations to aid your employees in manual picking, putting, assembling, and assorting.

Implementing a pick-to-light system in warehouse operations is a simple way to streamline picking and reduce costs.

How does it work?

The standard pick-to-light system works by having operators scan barcodes attached to holding containers. Once the barcode is scanned, the system lights up displays to guide the user to the correct storage location.

From there, the system shows how many of which items need to be picked. The operator then places the items in the holding container and pushes a button to confirm the picking was completed.

pallet racking warehouse

Benefits of implementing pick-to-light technology as a warehouse order fulfillment system

Workers can spot, pick and complete orders faster

PTL is faster than traditional picking methods such as paper and RF scanning. Typically, operations that need to move and sort items with high velocity implement PTL solutions, showing the system’s speed.

To maximize a facility’s operations, it improves the efficiency of order lines, walking distance, scanning requirements, and more.

Fewer human errors with light-directed picking

Errors due to miss-picking can be detrimental to a distributor’s revenue and reputation. Customers want their orders to be fulfilled quickly and accurately. A PTL system is proven to provide near 100% picking accuracy.

Additionally, if you’re going to make the system even more accurate, you can add scanning features that provide additional validation checks.

More orders picked in less time

A PTL solution will boost your operational efficiency because the technology is organized by your work zones that are already established, meaning operators will reduce the time they spend walking. Plus, if an order has to pass through different work zones, the system follows it, which reduces time spent idle.

Ease of use

If your warehouse is large and complex, training operators on traditional picking can take up a large chunk of time. However, one of the benefits of PTL is the decreased learning curve needed to use the technology. With this system, you can cut training down to 30-45 minutes, allowing you to put new hires to work quickly.

Integration with current systems

You can use the system alone, or if you already have optimized systems in place, you can integrate it with the ones you already use. Methods such as warehouse management (WMS), supply chain management, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) can all be used with pick-to-light technology to have better control over your operations.

Final thoughts on the benefits of implementing a pick-to-light system

The pick-to-light system has become essential to many warehouse operations. With its accuracy, efficiency, and low costs, many small and large-scale operations are taking advantage of the benefits of PTL.

The increase in order fulfillment productivity and efficiency allows the system to quickly pay for itself and increase revenue. A pick to light system in warehouse operations offers excellent benefits, making it an advantageous integration for any distributor.