Multi-Order-Picking with Pick-to-Light
Multi-Order-Picking with a Pick-to-Light system means that the compartment displays support the picker when picking multiple orders simultaneously.
What is Multi-Order-Picking?
Multi-Order-Picking is a picking method in which several orders are picked simultaneously by one picker. For this purpose, the individual picking orders are combined on a picking cart to form a batch and are processed simultaneously.
When is Multi-Order-Picking used?
If several orders can be served from the same storage locations due to the order structure, the picker can shorten his walking distances and process several picking orders simultaneously. This saves an enormous amount of time and increases picking performance and efficiency.
Problem definition for batch picking
Imagine that there are many orders on the picking cart (usually 9-16 pieces). You have a pick list in your hand and now you have to find the individual storage bins according to the list. As a picker you know your warehouse and you have no problem with finding the storage bins. You will find your place very quickly. Maybe the total quantity is also very well represented in the list.
You take the items out of the storage compartment and now ... you have a problem! The total number of items must be distributed to the individual orders in a suitable way. So now the search begins.
- First of all, you need to read the appropriate partial quantity on the pick list.
- Second, you must read the order and identify the appropriate carton or tote on the pick cart.
- Third, from your total quantity, you need to count out and file the appropriate number of pieces.
All these activities happen simultaneously and require maximum concentration. Errors often occur in the process, which are understandable when working for 8 hours.
Use of Pick-to-Light for batch picking
A Pick-to-Light system can be used as a very good aid at Multi-Order-Picking . The software of the Pick-to-Light system is responsible for the entire picking process. There are two variants of support here:
1. Pick-to-Light-Specialty displays on the picking cart
The best way to support batch picking with a picking cart is to use Pick-to-Light displays directly on the picking cart itself (Pick-by-Cart) or on an auxiliary construction (Pick-by-Frame). For this purpose, the cart or frame constructions are equipped with battery, WiFi and displays.
After order activation, the info display first shows the removal location. After the withdrawals have been confirmed (e.g. by a barcode scanner), the compartment displays of the individual orders light up and show the appropriate number of pieces directly on the carton or container.
The picker only has to distribute the displayed quantities to the individual orders and confirm the storage at the acknowledgement button.
Set up for Multi-Order-Picking
Before the picking orders are started using the Multi-Order-Picking method, the individual cartons or totes must be positioned on the picking cart and assigned to the orders. The process is also supported by Pick-to-Light and is therefore very quick and easy.
2. Pick-to-Light Displays at storage locations
If the number of picking locations in a work area is manageable (20-30), the Pick-to-Light displays can be statically installed at the storage locations rather than at the picking carts.
In this case, the target compartment in the picking trolley is displayed at the same time as the picking quantity (e.g. "3 - 5" -> three pieces in compartment 5). The deposit can be confirmed directly at the acknowledgement button or with a barcode scanner at the deposit tray.
This picking method is rarely used and so far it has only been used in the automotive industry. In these cases, the picking quantity was always = 1, so that only the deposit tray was shown on the Pick-to-Light display.
The Pick-to-Light system is very helpful at Multi-Order-Picking : minimizes errors, increases performance and enormously ensures the quality of batch picking. The employees are more relaxed and much more satisfied.