Short throughput times and high delivery quality
Pick-to-light: Seeing the "light" in picking
Be it for the provision of material for own production purposes or deliveries to customers, branches and business locations – quick, efficient and reliable picking is increasingly gaining significance as a logistical performance indicator. Those who want to stand out against the competition must achieve long-term competitive edge and not just in terms of the costs involved but also with regard to shipping ability, quality and delivery times. And these demands particularly apply to the food industry. When dealing with perishable goods, the ability to get to products to their destination correctly and in time is of the most notable importance. In addition, consumers' demands for inexpensive food call for a maximum degree of cost efficiency. For picking this means: performance has to be increased and errors decreased. Paperless picking systems provide valuable support to businesses in this process. One of the most renowned and state-of-the-art paperless picking process is the pick-to-light picking process.
Pick-to-light offers several efficiency gains
CSB-System AG, the IT industry specialist, has developed a pick-to-light solution that fully convinces in terms of efficiency, performance, error rates and user-friendliness.
"Picking by light sensor" replaces the traditional "pick by picking note" method. Instead, all relevant information on the picking order is shown on a display. Clearly visible above each stack of crates in the sorting zone, a display shows the picker exactly which item and which amount he has to place in his crate for a specific order. The crate stacks are then transported further with trolleys.
Several employees can process their orders simultaneously. The items that they need to pick are shown on the display in different colors. The assignment of the item to the respective employee is item-number based.
The picking process itself is simple and efficient: Each picker successively works off the items shown in his color on the display. As soon he has completed a picking order, he confirms the allocation of the quantity to his order via the acknowledgement button. For this, there is one or more suspended CSB racks (special industrial workstations) with touchscreens in the picking zone. Once the picked quantities have been confirmed on the CSB rack, the quantities are updated in the order. It is also possible to correct the quantities manually. Batch allocations and reductions are also possible. This way all business locations as well as the entire customer and subsidiary network can quickly and flexibly respond to any changes in the order. Once all items have been allotted the order is closed. Delivery note print can be triggered manually or automatically.
In comparison to traditional picking methods, the pick-to-light solution provides considerable financial benefits:
Quick, secure and intuitive operability
Thanks to the paperless process, employees are no longer bound to paper-based documents or separate data capture devices when processing picking orders. This way they have both hands free to fully concentrate on their picking tasks. They don't lose precious time looking for order positions or reading and checking off documents. This means that you can achieve high picking quotes whilst maintaining very low error rates. Timely and costly inspections are a thing of the past and the number of complaints resulting from faulty deliveries has virtually fallen to zero.
A further benefit of pick-to-light picking is that it requires hardly any initial training, as the principle is highly intuitive and easy to operate. User companies therefore also benefit from an increase in human resource flexibility.
Fully integrated in the ERP System
Thanks to the complete integration of the pick-to-light solution in the ERP system, all information involving the picking order is directly transferred from the CSB-System to the displays in the picking zone. As soon as an employee has confirmed the processing status of their order, the change in stock is updated real-time in the system. That way, the pick-to-light solution also contributes significantly with regard to stocktaking activities. In addition, the system automatically knows when the warehouse needs to replenish the goods in the picking zone, thus preventing any unnecessary waiting times in picking.
Depending on customer requirements, the solution can be flexibly expanded to meet specific needs. Picking takes place on various "tracks" at which a certain number of displays is installed. If for instance the product range or warehouse assignment changes, the displays can be easily moved or added. Extensions to the entire "track" or additional crate stacks are also easily implemented.
Performance increase and cost reduction ensure a high ROI
The reduction of faulty deliveries and increased inventory capacity reduces costs throughout all business units and leads to a considerable increase in productivity throughout the entire company. User companies have reported for instance that not only were they able to reduce their picking costs per order but also managed to increase efficiency throughout all business units.
The significant economic benefits of the pick-to-light method also ensure a high ROI. On average it just takes a few months to recoup the investment costs.
User benefits of the pick-to-light solution at a glance:
- Intuitive usability without extensive training
- No paper documents or separate data capture devices
- Flexible order handling and short processing times
- Extremely high picking performance and low error rates
- Maximum shipping reliability
- Complete integration into the ERP system
- Automatic stock control with stocktaking function
- Automatic replenishment of goods to the picking zone via warehouse
- Flexible adjustment to increasing customer requirements
- Increase in performance and cost reduction in all business areas
- High return on investment (ROI) / quick amortization