Advantages, Disadvantages of Pick To Light Systems

The most important part of a warehouse operation is to pick orders and send them out as quickly as possible. Many systems have been used to achieve this goal. These solutions include:

·      Pick to Light
·      Voice Directed
·      Hybrid (a combination of light and voice)
·      Carousels
·      Mini-Load AS/RS
·      Unit Load AS/RS
·      Visual Sort

I will be explaining and offering advantages and disadvantages of each of these solutions. But for now, what is “Pick to Light”?

A Pick to Light System relies on light modules located on picking locations including carousels, carton flow racks, shelving storage racks, static shelving and batch picking carts. The lights identify the

A Pick to Light module. (Courtesy:
A Pick to Light module.

location from where the pick is to be made and the number of items to pick. Once the picker achieves his task he pushes a button on the light module to confirm that the pick has been performed.

Advantages of Pick to Light

The Pick to Light System avoids the need for warehouse or distribution centers to use paper pick orders. The fact that a picker doesn’t have to receive the paper order, read it line by line and then travel to the location to make the pick improves productivity and accuracy.

Instead of a paper order, an order in the Pick to Light System is downloaded from a Warehouse Management System computer to the light modules attached to the pick locations. This reduces labor costs, increases picking speed and productivity, improves order accuracy, and cuts down in travel distance. Moreover, up to 50% fewer workers are needed to perform picks and warehouse executives receive real-time information on the progress and status of a pick.

Those who favor this system cite reports that claim that one picker can perform more than 450 picks an hour using the Pick to Light System.  This is said to be 10 times more than pickers can achieve in warehouses that use a paper ordering system.

The equipment used in a Pick to Light System is easy to use and integrate into a warehouse that already has an existing Warehouse Management System or Enterprise Resource Planning System.

Warehouses that perform piece picking or broken case picking or If 20% of your SKUs require 80% of your picking labor, then you are a candidate for a Pick to Light System.

The best applications for Pick to Light include:

·      eCommerce and Mail Order
·      Apparel and Footwear
·      Automotive Aftermarket Parts
·      Food, Beverage and Groceries
·      Pharmaceutical, Health and Beauty
·      Reverse Logistics
·      Consumer Goods Manufacturing
·      Value-Added and Customized Products
·      Retail
·      Vending

Disadvantages of Pick to Light

The Pick to Light System performs best when the picks are smaller and the pick face area is dense, permitting pickers to concentrate on the work.