The majority of warehouses in Colorado are still using RF or paper based order picking systems, in spite of the huge performance gains and expense reductions that are possible with automated picking solutions. Only about 20% of warehouses across the country use advanced solutions like voice directed or pick to light technologies. These types of systems can have a significant impact on profitability.
The Business Case For Automated Picking Systems
In a lot of warehouses, picking is a labor-intensive job where a picker receives an actual paper list of instructions laying out the products to be picked and their specific locations. They proceed to the specified storage slot, review their paper list to identify how many products they require from that pick face, get the products, scratch the item off of the checklist, and then transport the items for fulfillment.
Simply moving around a storage facility can take up to 65% of a manual order picker’s day as they walk or drive about the warehouse. These antiquated methods make order fulfillment the most labor-intensive function in a conventional storage facility. In most cases, over half of a typical Colorado Springs storage facility’s operating expenditures can be linked to order picking. That number is in fact rising as e-com spurs even more picking demand from storage facilities.
Almost all warehouses have at least some picking requirements. Almost 50% manage a combination of pallets, cases, split cases and pieces. Less than 10% of all storage facilities across the nation handle strictly full pallet orders. And despite the fact that many warehouses bear huge picking costs, just 20% have moved away from conventional RF and paper-based picking systems.
Innovations in Order Picking System Technology
In the last 10 years there have been fantastic advances in picking technology, varying from IoT+ RFID to enhanced reality smart glasses. The two most extensive and seasoned technologies, however, are light directed and voice directed picking solutions. Each has a persuasive use case in certain situations, and some storage facilities even utilize both techniques.
Fully incorporating technology-based picking solutions can be capital intensive. Nevertheless, ROI models for picking automation are compelling. A lot of projects have a fast payback and can generate significant savings in labor and pick inaccuracies for years to come. A 2018 research study showed that organizations that employed voice, light or RFID based picking options lowered 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 operations. Racks are equipped with LEDs that indicate pick quantities and slots, and workers tap these lights to verify picks and quantities as they make their way down a pick route.
Light directed solutions are less versatile and more expensive than voice directed solutions, but executed effectively they can significantly improve picking velocity and precision. According to MHI, most pick to light applications achieve an average of 30-50% in pick rate performance.
Voice Picking System
Voice picking solutions are perfect for warehouses that fill a more extensive variety of SKUs spread throughout larger facilities. Employees can move about a warehouse hands-free–they do not need to carry a handheld device or piece of paper.
Picking instructions are communicated by the warehouse management system through an earpiece or headset, and the order-picker replies verbally to verify each pick. There is no device to hold, no screens to look at, no barcodes to scan, and no confirmation buttons to click. The whole procedure is performed through voice commands and spoken verification.
Colorado Springs Picking Automation Solutions
If you would like more details on order picking solutions for your Colorado Springs warehouse, call a Welch Equipment Company automation expert today.
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