Most warehouses in the Denver area are still utilizing RF or paper based order picking systems, in spite of the enormous performance gains and expense reductions associated with automated picking systems. Only about 20% of storage facilities throughout the Rocky Mountain Region use advanced options like voice directed or pick to light technologies. These kinds of systems can have a tremendous impact on profitability.
Why Use Automated Order Picking Systems?
In a typical Denver warehouse, picking is a labor-intensive job where a picker receives a physical paper list of instructions specifying the items to be picked and their specific locations. They move to the designated storage slot, review their paper list to identify the number of items they require from that pick face, get the products, scratch the item off of the checklist, and then transport the products for packing.
Just moving around a warehouse can use up to 65% of a manual order picker’s day as they stride or ride about the building. These antiquated methods make order fulfillment the most labor-intensive task in a conventional storage facility. In many cases, more than half of a typical Colorado warehouse’s operating costs can be attributed to order fulfillment. That number is effectively rising as e-com drives even more picking demand from storage facilities.
Practically all storage facilities have some picking requirements. Almost 50% manage a combination of pallets, cases, split cases and pieces. In fact, less than 10% of all storage facilities in the Rocky Mountain Region handle strictly entire pallet orders. And despite the fact that most Colorado warehouses bear massive picking costs, just 20% have moved away from standard RF and paper-based picking systems.
New Picking Technology
In the last 10 years there have actually been great advances in picking technology, ranging from IoT+ RFID to augmented reality smart glasses. The two most widespread and seasoned innovations, however, are light directed and voice directed picking approaches. Each has a compelling use case in specific circumstances, and some storage facilities even employ both methods.
Fully actualizing technology-based picking solutions can be capital intensive. However, ROI models for picking automation are strong. A lot of projects have a rapid payback and can produce substantial cost reductions in labor and pick errors for several years to come. A 2018 study showed that businesses that used voice, light or RFID based picking options lowered pick mistakes by approximately 67%.
Pick To Light
Pick to light solutions are perfect for zone picking or high order volume, high speed warehouses. Racks are furnished with LEDs that communicate selection quantities and slots, and workers tap these lights to validate picks and volumes as they make their way along a pick route.
Light directed systems are not as flexible and more costly than voice directed solutions, yet when executed properly they can greatly enhance picking speed and precision. According to MHI, most pick to light implementations achieve approximately 30-50% in pick rate productivity.
Voice Picking System
Voice picking solutions are ideal for warehouses that fill a more extensive selection of SKUs spread throughout larger facilities. Workers can move about a building hands-free–they don’t need to carry a handheld device or sheet of paper.
Picking instructions are communicated by the warehouse management system through earphones, and the order-picker answers verbally to verify each pick. There is no device to carry, no screens to view, no barcodes to scan, and no verification buttons to click. The entire procedure is performed through voice commands and spoken verification.
Order Picking Automation Systems Near Me
If you would like more information on order picking technology for your warehouse, talk to a Welch Equipment automation expert today!
Welch Equipment Company
5025 Nome St
Denver, CO 80239
Serving Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Brighton, Broomfield, Castle Rock, Centennial, Columbine , Commerce City, Denver, Englewood, Federal Heights, Golden, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Lafayette, Lakewood, Littleton, Longmont, Louisville, Northglenn, Parker, Superior, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge