It is no secret that managing a warehouse or distribution center today is a challenge, primarily if you rely on manual processes. Adding order picking fulfillment technologies can help.  

In this blog post, we continue our Ask the Expert Series with Toyota Material Handling Solutions’ Director of Sales and Marketing Anthony Spano. Anthony’s decades of experience in picking processes and technologies can help determine the best solution for your application. Today he explains six order picking technologies and the benefits of each one.  

What are the benefits of order fulfillment technologies?  

An automated order picking solution offers many benefits, but here are the big three:  

  1. Increased efficiency  
  2. Reduced picking errors  
  3. Improved customer service  

What are the different types of order picking solutions?  Manual order picking can be time-consuming.

Here are the top six solutions companies are implementing today:  

  1. Goods-to-person  
  2. Voice picking  
  3. Pick to light  
  4. Put to light  
  5. Put wall  
  6. RF handheld scanners  

What is goods-to-person order fulfillment?  

Goods-to-person combines automated storage with accurate, ergonomic picking processes. With this system, products are automatically transported directly to the operator as needed, saving valuable travel time to retrieve the order.  

What are the main benefits of goods-to-person order picking?  

  • Ideal for ergonomic picking  
  • Easily scalable to match growing demand or an increase in SKUs  
  • Produces a smaller footprint and uses less space than other order picking solutions  

What is voice picking order fulfillment?  

Voice picking is an easy-to-learn paperless order picking solution. With voice picking, an operator is equipped with a mobile device and a headset and given easy-to-understand voice prompts to tell them where to go and what to do.  

What are the benefits of voice picking?  

  • Flexible and scalable solution  
  • Great for environments with many SKUs  
  • Keeps operators’ hands-free and focused on the task at hand  

What is pick-to-light order fulfillment?  

Pick to light, also called pick-to-light or PTL, is a light-directed warehouse picking technology. It provides accurate and efficient paperless picking, putting, and sorting.  

What are the benefits of pick-to-light order fulfillment?  

  • A versatile solution for many applications  
  • Highly effective in zones with high pick volumes and dense pick faces   

What is a put to light system?  

A put to light system is like a pick to light system but reverse. Instead of order fulfillment, a put to light system replenishes stock.  

What are the benefits of a put to light system?  

  • Very efficient for stock replacement  
  • Non-intrusive. Lights are typically mounted on shelving or carton flow rack placed above or below the designated put to light device.  

What is a put wall system?  

A put wall system handles a large volume of orders in a small footprint. We implement our Exacta® supply chain software suite as a complete solution or separate components in this system. It is also compatible with other software brands and is easily scalable.  

What are the benefits of a put wall system?  

  • Paperless processing  
  • Smaller footprint than other systems  

What are RF handheld scanners? 

RF handheld scanners are an easy-to-install modular solution with access to data from anywhere in the world. We use the Exacta mobile platform to deliver the most critical information directly to the operators with this system.  

What are the benefits of RF handheld scanners?  

  • Quickly and easily incorporate product images  
  • Supports multiple languages  

There are many ways to use automated systems to increase efficiency and productivity. Click on these links to read about robotic palletizing, robotic order picking, and cube utilization, and stay tuned for future Ask the Expert blog posts. 

Got questions about the process of optimizing your warehouse with Toyota? Click here to learn the first steps in the process, what is involved in the analysis, what you will get back from Toyota, who secures the permits, how much you need to be involved in the process, and more.  

Ready to automate your warehouse or distribution center? Contact us today! 

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