Disruptive Materials-Handling Solutions: IIoT Pick-to-Light

IIoT pick-to-light devices are the best choice for more than 90 percent of the distribution, warehouse and cellular manufacturing assembly market.
By Thomas R. Cutler
Oct 04, 2017

Identifying the characteristics most needed for an effective picking solution may seem obvious. High visibility, robust order-pick displays and flexible mounting methods allow a system to easily adapt (increase or decrease) with warehousing operation requirements. Simple intuitive software must be part of the mix when selecting best-practice picking solutions.

Trevor Blumenau, the CEO of Voodoo Robotics, based in Plano, Texas, argues that Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) real-time, Web-connected, leased pick-to-light devices are the best choice for more than 90 percent of the distribution, warehouse and cellular manufacturing assembly market. With such a declarative claim, it seems imperative to dig a little deeper and find out whether that assertion holds water.

Blumenau readily admits that a one-size-fits-all picking solution does not work, and that achieving the highest productivity from a warehouse operation may require different technologies, which may be better-suited depending on the order frequency and value of a particular stock-keeping unit (SKU).

Comparing pick technologies side by side often reveals that pick-to-light solutions have a clear edge over other solutions when picking accuracy is measured. The light indicators make it difficult to pick from the wrong location—or the incorrect amount—when the light is both the pick instruction and location indicator.

There is also a clear cost advantage and scalability to pick-to-light solutions determined by the number of SKUs, as a display is required for each SKU picked. With voice or RF scanning equipment, the variable cost is determined by the number of operators picking.

These characteristics for picking solutions are a great starting point for finding a cost-effective and efficient solution. But don't measure against the real value: picking the right product at the right place at the right time.

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