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

These devices can even instruct quarantining information or out-of-stock data. The messaging can be directed to a picker, by name, and in the language spoken. It's a game-changing disruptive approach to pick-to-light technology.

IIoT Picking Allows for the Elimination of Costly Mispicks
Avoiding mispicks is critical when outsourcing order fulfillment, according to Blumenau. Since businesses large and small are outsourcing order-fulfillment requirements to third-party logistics firms, the ability to utilize IIoT data ensures that manufacturers can keep tabs on operational costs. Nothing represents a negative impact on relationships with customers more than product mispicks.

Trevor Blumenau, Voodoo Robotics' CEO
Just one incorrectly shipped SKU in the e-commerce space can be the entire margin of a shipment. Often, the corrective action involves reshipment using costly overnight delivery services like FedEx to keep customers happy. With IIoT oversight in real time, such mispicks can be completely avoided.

Voodoo Robotics' starter kit allows customers to test the efficacy of Blumenau's solution, including access to inventory management known as SKU Keeper. It is vendor-agnostic and works with most warehouse-control systems and warehouse-management systems. The ability to utilize these IIoT sensors increases effective inventory management, cycle time counting and the ability to conduct single picks or batch picking. Without the expense of costly RF guns, operations or warehouse managers (onsite or off) can verify items picked and then pack them into boxes.

Validated Claim: IIoT Pick-to-Light With Upward and Downward Scalability
Call it the icing on the cake, but Blumenau's bold assertion really hits home in the firm's go-to-market strategy. For the first time, users do not buy lights—they lease them, just as software moved to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model years ago. Lights are leased monthly. If more are needed, more are ordered. If fewer are needed, they are returned. This pay-as-you-go approach changes the entire consideration about testing the concept's efficacy.

There is no capital equipment purchased; users get started for $500 and test the product within their own environment. This scalability up or down is particularly crucial in warehouses experiencing any time of seasonality or variable expansion/contraction.

Thomas R. Cutler is the president and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based TR Cutler. Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium, which includes more than 6,000 journalists, editors and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling and process improvement. He authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler can be contacted at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com and followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler.

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