How to plan a Pick-to-Light system
In this article you will find detailed information on planning a Pick-to-Light system. We explain which criteria play an important role and which data you need for your planning. The detailed information on the system itself can be found in the main article Pick-to-Light / Pick-to-Light.
Define your goals
In any planning, the goal must first be defined. No one builds a Pick-to-Light plant without first thinking about the benefits. It is essential to consider the economic factors. Here the requirements are very different. Many details must be considered.
Performance or quality?
Improving performance and quality at the same time is not an easy task. Surely you have often heard the sales or marketing of such advertising slogans: "With the system you improve your performance and quality by xyz %". But what is really behind it?
Increasing performance and quality are opposites. The more performance you expect, the less quality you will get. Quality needs care and time. Performance needs speed. So these two factors don't really go together 100%. We will explain in detail how a Pick-to-Light system influences the two factors in a moment.
Question 1: How do you plan to improve performance or quality?
Stationary or mobile?
A Pick-to-Light solution can be set up stationary on shelves or mobile on picking carts or other constructions. Both solutions use the same displays and are only supplied with power and data differently.
In a stationary installation, the power supply and data are provided by the permanently installed controllers, which are connected to 230V and Ethernet. The controllers supply the displays via 4-wire cables. In the mobile solution, the displays communicate with the higher-level system via WLAN and are supplied via exchangeable batteries. By using the central LUCA server, the batteries can even be changed during operation. A mix of the two requirements is of course also possible.
Question 2: Do you have racks or picking carts that you want to equip with a Pick-to-Light ?
The changing staff
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get the right personnel. The experienced long-term employees usually know their tasks by heart so that a glance at the picking list or assembly slip is enough to get the job done quickly and with high quality. But what about the changing or rotating personnel?
Changing or rotating personnel often face a major challenge to quickly and correctly find the appropriate storage bins and complete picking. This is one of the most important factors when planning a picking or assembly operation.
Question 3: How often do your staff change jobs?
Multi-Order-Picking in order picking?
When picking with a pick list, the picker can usually only pick one order at a time. His performance is not particularly high in this case. Although the pick lists are often route-optimized, his travel time through the warehouse is not optimal.
The Multi-Order-Picking method can be used as a great help here. In order to achieve an optimal result, the same articles should appear in several orders. With this method, the picker picks one item and immediately distributes it to several orders accordingly.
Question 4: Is your job structure suitable for a Multi-Order-Picking ?
Do you perform assembly at a workstation?
Assembly tasks with Pick-to-Light very often involve different additional tasks that have to be performed in the process. If the assembly is simple and self-explanatory, the employee only needs the information about which parts he needs for each assembly step. This can be exactly fulfilled by a Pick-to-Light on a shelf.
If the assembly is very complex and requires further information, drawings, pictures, explanatory films, further measuring devices, etc., then a worker-guide system with additional screens and devices must be set up at the workstation.
Question 5: How complex is your job at the assembly stations?
Determine the need
There are many different types of Pick-to-Light / pick-to-light displays. To determine exactly which displays are required, the need must first be roughly defined.
- If you are sequencing individual parts in an automotive project, then you probably do not need any quantities of the displays (always 1 piece). A display with one LED and pushbutton is sufficient here.
- If it is about an eCommerce project, then the withdrawal quantities are very relevant. The Pick-to-Light displays need a quantity display.
- If you need a system for high-performance and high-quality mounting, then the displays should also be equipped with access sensors.
So define your needs and select the appropriate displays. The list of all available displays can be found at Pick-to-Light Hardware.
Question 6: Define the flow process and determine the types of Pick-to-Light displays.
Define the quantities
If you already know what types of Pick-to-Light displays your flow process needs, then define the following quantity inputs:
- Number of displays per display type.
- Length and number of pieces of sub-profiles for the installation of the displays.
- For complex installations, draw a layout to determine cable routes and number of controllers.
Question 7: How many Pick-to-Light displays and subprofiles do you need?
We will help you plan a Pick-to-Light system and clarify these issues together with you.
Many years of experience in paperless order picking