What are Pick to Light Systems? | Exotec

Pick-to-Light Systems: Elevating Order Accuracy

Pick-to-light system being utilized at an Exotec Skypod system picking station
January 19, 2024

Pick-to-light systems utilize light displays and sensors to guide warehouse pickers to the correct items in orders, enhancing accuracy and efficiency. These system are game-changers in increasing order accuracy.

Consider this: out of 1,000,000 orders, if the average order picking accuracy is 99.4%, it means that 6,000 orders could be wrong. That translates to 6,000 unhappy customers. These figures highlight the importance of implementing technologies like pick-to-light systems to maximize order accuracy.

What is a Pick-to-Light System?

Pick-to-light systems typically involve placing light modules at each location where items are stored or will arrive at goods-to-person stations. When an order is received, the pick-to-light system directs the picker to the correct location by illuminating the corresponding light module. The picker then picks the required quantity of items as prompted on a screen and confirms the pick by pressing a button or scanning a barcode, which extinguishes the light and updates the inventory system in real-time.

Benefits of Pick-to-Light Systems

Incorporating pick-to-light system into operations yields numerous advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Improved Picking Accuracy: By guiding workers directly to the correct items with visual cues, pick-to-light systems drastically reduce picking errors, resulting in higher order accuracy rates.
  • Increased Productivity: With clear visual indicators and optimized picking routes, workers can complete orders more quickly and efficiently, leading to higher throughput and increased productivity.
  • Quick Training Time: Pick-to-light systems are intuitive and easy to use, requiring minimal training for new employees. This reduces onboarding time and allows workers to become proficient more quickly.
  • Real-time Inventory Management: By tracking item movements in real-time, pick-to-light systems help provide accurate inventory data, enabling better inventory management and reducing the risk of stockouts or overstock situations.
  • Order Fulfillment Speed: By streamlining the picking process and minimizing errors, pick-to-light systems enable faster order fulfillment, reducing lead times and improving customer satisfaction.
Pick-to-light and put-to-light systems being utilized during order fulfillment with the Exotec Skypod system

An order being fulfilled with the Skypod system, which utilizes pick-to-light and put-to-light technology

Enhancing Order Accuracy with Goods-to-Person Systems

In addition to pick-to-light systems, an array of automation can collaborate to enhance accuracy and streamline order-picking within and alongside goods-to-person systems such as the Exotec® Skypod system. This innovative solution utilizes autonomous mobile robots that travel between storage racks and picking stations to store and retrieve goods. 

Station Screens
Once goods are transported to a picking station, the station screen displays the order details including the items to pick, quantities, and their locations within a storage bin. These screens play a vital role by providing real-time information and instructions to operators. 

A pick-to-light system featuring light modules directed at storage locations within bins guides the picker to the correct item’s location by illuminating the corresponding module.

Barcode Scanners
Barcode scanners further enhance accuracy by ensuring that the correct item is picked. Scanning items during picking confirms that the right product is selected, integrating seamlessly with the warehouse management system.

Put-to-light systems seamlessly complement pick-to-light systems. Once an item is picked up, the put-to-light system directs the operator to the precise location for placement, whether it’s within a designated slot in a put wall or predetermined preparation container. 

Weight and Dimension Scanning
Following the picking and downstream dispatch of items, integrated scales and dimension scanners serve as an extra layer of validation. They verify the weight and dimensions of picked items, guaranteeing alignment with the order specifications.

Automated Label Machines
Automated label machines are designed to efficiently generate and apply labels to packages based on predefined criteria such as product information, order details, or shipping requirements.

Warehouse Execution System
Warehouse Execution Systems (WES) have proven to be effective tools for optimizing warehouse operations. They seamlessly coordinate automation, encompassing station screens, pick-to-light, and put-to-light systems while optimizing resource allocation, providing real-time visibility into the status and location of inventory, and managing other warehouse processes.

Together, these tools create a cohesive and efficient warehouse environment, significantly enhancing accuracy and productivity so customers receive the correct orders.

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