The vast majority of warehouses in New Mexico are still using RF or paper based order picking systems, in spite of the huge performance gains and cost decreases realized by automated picking systems. In fact, only about 20% of storage facilities across the nation use advanced services like voice directed or pick to light systems. However, these more sophisticated kinds of picking systems can have a remarkable impact on productivity.
The Business Case For Automated Picking Systems
In typical warehouses, picking is a laborious job where a picker receives an actual paper list of directions specifying the items to pick and their locales. They proceed to the designated storage location, evaluate their paper list to identify the number of products they need from that pick face, select the items, check the items off of the checklist, and then transport the items for fulfillment.
Simply getting around a warehouse can use up to 65% of a manual order picker’s day as they stride or ride about the warehouse. These inefficiencies make order fulfillment the most labor-intensive function in a typical warehouse. In most cases, over half of a typical Albuquerque warehouse’s operating costs can be attributed to order fulfillment. That number is actually increasing as e-com drives even more picking demand from storage facilities.
Practically all storage facilities have some picking requirements. Almost 50% handle a mixture of pallets, cases, split cases and pieces. Less than 10% of all storage facilities across the country handle strictly entire pallet orders. And despite the fact that the majority of storage facilities bear huge picking expenses, just 20% have moved away from conventional RF and paper-based picking systems.
Order Picking Solutions
In the last ten years there have been great advances in picking innovation, varying from IoT+ RFID to enhanced reality smart glasses. The two most widespread and seasoned innovations, however, are light directed and voice directed picking options. Each has a convincing use case in certain situations, and some storage facilities even use both technologies.
Fully actualizing technology-based picking systems can be capital intensive. Nevertheless, ROI models for picking automation can be convincing. The majority of programs have a fast payback and can create significant cost reductions in labor and pick errors for many years to come. A 2018 research study revealed that businesses that employed voice, light or RFID based picking solutions decreased pick mistakes by an average of 67%.
Pick To Light
Pick to light systems are perfect for zone picking or high order volume, high speed facilities. Racks are furnished with LEDs that indicate selection quantities and slots, and workers tap these lights to confirm selections and volumes as they make their way down a pick route.
Light directed systems are less versatile and more expensive than voice directed systems, yet when executed properly they can greatly improve picking speed and precision. According to MHI, most pick to light projects gain an average of 30-50% in pick rate performance.
Voice Picking System
Voice picking solutions are ideal for storage facilities that keep a more extensive selection of SKUs spread throughout larger buildings. Employees can move about a warehouse hands-free–they do not need to carry a portable device or sheet of paper.
Picking instructions are communicated by the WMS through earphones, and the order-picker replies verbally to confirm each pick. There is no device to carry, no screens to look at, no barcodes to scan, and no confirmation buttons to click. The entire process is accomplished through voice commands and spoken confirmation.
Order Picking Automation Near Me
If you would like more details on order picking innovation for your business, call a Welch Equipment automation expert today at (505) 822-8043.
Welch Equipment Company
5830 Midway Park Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Serving Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Roswell, Santa Fe, South Valley and surrounding areas.