Addressing customers’ order picking needs with layered technologies

Dec. 3, 2020
When navigating today’s high-paced supply chain, tools like a pick-to-light system and telematics are vital to visualizing improvements and ensuring quick and accurate order fulfillment.

By Erica Moyer, product manager for pallet truck and stacker line, The Raymond Corporation

Consumers are ordering a wide variety of products and expecting faster delivery at a lower cost. Due to this increased demand, warehouse inventory is expanding at an overwhelming rate.

Low-level order picking adds another layer of complexity. This is an extremely labor-intensive and costly activity. In fact, up to 55% of warehouse operating costs and 70% of operating time are attributed to the pick process. The cost of mispicks have large ramifications that could affect your bottom line and have the potential to impact your customer’s satisfaction and future business if the wrong product is shipped or not enough product is delivered on time.

To address these challenges, it is important to recognize the opportunity for increased accuracy and efficiency by visualizing current state performance versus the desired future state results, and then deploy layered technology options to achieve that future state. Operator assist technologies, such as batch pick LED light systems, support the visualization of possible solutions to your picking challenges. And when combined with telematics platforms, in turn, these technologies help operations identify opportunities for additional improvements and increase operational efficiencies.

Pick-to-light system

A pick-to-light system is designed to help reduce picking errors by using LED technology to visually reinforce product placement for order fulfillment in batch picking applications. This technology maximizes operator productivity by directing operators to the desired customer pallet — enabling them to quickly move to the next pick with confidence.

Many of today’s pick-to-light systems work in conjunction with voice-directed picking systems, allowing selectors to work hands-free. The warehouse management system (WMS) sends the voice pick receiver the pick list(s). The voice pick receiver then directs the order selector on where to go, which part to pick and how many pieces to pick for each customer order. When the selector verbally confirms his/her pick location, LED lights associated with the pallet will turn on. Once the selector confirms the pick quantity and customer with a verbal command such as “2, Alpha,” the LED lights that are associated with that customer pallet(s) will turn off.

Data collection

Telematics systems enable increased efficiency and productivity by collecting data you can use to visualize and monitor key performance indicators like the movements of lift trucks, personnel and assets in your warehouse.  These solutions allow you and your teams to secure vehicle access, manage and monitor impacts, review electronic pre-shift forklift checklists, and report and analyze vehicle and operator utilization for improved productivity.

Through accurate location tracking, geofencing, zoning, proximity awareness and asset tracking capabilities, telematics with RTLS can optimize processes, reduce operational costs and deliver a fast ROI. Operations can then visualize and identify areas of congestion and take action to adjust travel paths, facility layout and slotting for optimum throughput.

Additionally, RTLS can reinforce workplace rules and proper training as operators and pedestrians are alerted when they enter or leave a restricted zone, like a freezer. Ultimately, these practices lead to customer satisfaction and reduced operating costs with faster, more accurate order fulfillment.

When navigating today’s high-paced supply chain, tools like a pick-to-light system and telematics are vital to visualizing improvements and ensuring quick and accurate order fulfillment. With the right partner and solutions, operations can complete orders quickly and accurately, saving time and money while ensuring customer satisfaction.

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