Pick to light and put to light use light-directed technology combined with a warehouse execution and warehouse control (WES/WCS) system to direct operators to either pick product or put product from a particular location into a carton or a tote as part of their picking process. Pick to light is also used in conjunction with horizontal carousels, vertical carousels, and vertical lift modules (VLMs).
In these cases, it is not just a light-directed operation because the automated storage system is being used in connection with the light-directed operations. The difference between pick to light and put to light is that with put to light, the operator is directed by light to put product into a staging location, rather than pick it.
The point of the light direction is to provide the operator with a hands-free environment. In other words, the picking process is directed by light displays, not by a mobile device or paper. This eliminates manual verification, improving operator accuracy and productivity in every step.
Generally, there are lights for each discrete location, as well as a light for a bay or an area of operations or group of locations. The light for the bay provides direction to the operator to “pick this order or batch of orders in a particular area or zone.” Then the discrete location lights direct the operator to pick a particular product from a single physical location. They may also be directed to pick a certain quantity of that product out of a specific location, and then directed to distribute that quantity to multiple orders that they’re picking in a batch/cluster.
Pick to light enhances picking speed and accuracy
Pick to light is used to enhance both picking speed and accuracy, and it is highly effective in flow rack picking. If the operator has to look at a piece of paper or a mobile device every time they pick, time is lost—and those seconds add up. Scanning to manually verify each pick can be time-consuming, as well. Pick to light accelerates the picking and verification processes. For verification, a light displays where the operator can press a button and effectively tell the system “Yes, I picked the right amount and now I’m putting those parts into this order or order tote.”
Software to control pick to light and put to light
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and most ERP warehouse management software (WMS) modules, particularly Tier 1 WMS modules, cannot directly control pick to light and put to light. This capability must be provided through an appropriate warehouse execution system (WES) or warehouse control system (WCS). Intek and Minerva’s WMS software suite has full WES/WCS functional capability for pick and put to light and easily controls and integrates with automated storage systems and ERP systems.