Software for multi-user picking at the Pick-to-Light

Which Pick-to-Light software is required for picking with several employees in one picking zone?

Several employees in one Pick-to-Light picking zone (multi-user picking)

A Pick-to-Light system in a warehouse consists of many compartment displays mounted on the storage compartments. The displays show the picker the pick quantity directly at the storage compartment. The picker confirms the removal directly at the acknowledgement button of the compartment display.

In the standard case, picking is divided into picking zones where a single employee works. The Pick-to-Light software activates a single picking order for the employee (or also a batch for Multi-Order-Picking).

In some situations, however, several employees are supposed to work in the same picking zone with Pick-to-Light . Each employee picks his or her own picking order. Here we show you the optimal Pick-to-Light process with multi-user picking and explain exactly how our software works.

What is the solution for multi-user picking and Pick-to-Light ?

Picking with Pick-to-Light starts with different methods. You can find out more about this in the separate article "Methods for starting picking orders with Pick-to-Light". Once the picking order has been started, our application software can also control the process differently. Here there are: single-order picking, Multi-Order-Picking, which differ seriously from the principle.

However, in order to present the topic in a simple way, we choose a simple picking method for the explanation of multi-user picking, in which all compartment displays are activated at the same time. The classic for a Pick-to-Light process (single-order picking).

So you start the picking order and thus activate all the matching compartment displays. Your colleague, the second picker, does the same. What happens now? If your and his Pick-to-Light compartment displays were to light up at the same time with the same colour, you would not be able to distinguish his orders from your orders.

Solution 1: Each picker must be assigned its own colour.

The LEDs of the displays have 7 different colours. This means that assignment is no problem. When activating multi-user picking, the employee has to identify himself by a barcode or selection of the colour at the beginning.

Our tip: We always recommend that staff keep the same colour for at least the whole day.

If the displays for the two orders are switched on, the problem arises here if some compartments are occupied twice. In this case, the removal from the storage compartment must take place one after the other (serialisation).

Solution 2: Removal from the same storage compartments takes place one after the other

Even though our Pick-to-Light compartment displays have split LEDs (top and bottom), which makes the simultaneous display of the two colours theoretically possible, the withdrawal and the display of the withdrawal quantity must take place one after the other. For this purpose, the control is specially synchronised in our software.

The second withdrawal is only displayed after the first withdrawal has been acknowledged.

In other words: After activating the second order, all the shelves of the first order light up and additionally the shelves of the second order that do not overlap. So how is the second employee supposed to recognise that behind his colleague's withdrawal his withdrawal is also displayed later? The answer is very simple.

Solution 3: The LEDs of the storage compartments with multiple occupancy start flashing.

By the flashing of the LEDs, both employees recognise that the second pick will follow behind the pick. This means that the first picker must complete his pick more quickly at the flashing storage compartment so that his colleague can also complete the pick. At the same time, the second employee notices from the flashing compartments of his colleague that he is about to make a pick.

This solution is very intuitive and quick to understand.

So what happens if the second employee is faster than the first? This can happen if the first employee has to count out large quantities at his storage bins or has many more items than the second employee in the picking order.

Solution 4: If necessary, the sequence of withdrawals can be changed with the F key when the LEDs are flashing.

The F key can be freely configured in the Pick-to-Light compartment displays. We use this option in the software and change the order of the withdrawals when the key is pressed. In this way, the second employee can "bring his pick to the front". In this case, the LED flashes in his colour and he can complete his withdrawals immediately.

Conclusion

Simultaneous picking by several employees in one picking zone is possible without any problems. The synchronisation of the picks is coordinated in the software of the multi-user picking process. Although 7 colours are available in the LED, from experience we recommend using a maximum of 3 pickers in one picking zone. Otherwise, the optimal orientation of the pickers is no longer given and the waiting times for picking colleagues are too long.

Many years of experience in paperless order picking

Pick-to-Light