The animation shows how voice, light-directed picking and putting, and wireless barcode scanning are combined to create agile order-picking solutions that can be tailored to customer needs. Note that the picker fulfills multiple orders with a single trip through the picking area. Voice guides the picker to the location for the next pick. Lighted numerical displays adjacent to product locations highlight the pick locations and pick quantities while lights on the cart highlight put locations. Picks and puts are confirmed by the picker waving his hand or the picked item near the flashing light.
The entire process is orchestrated by a tablet PC. Note that the last pick is a “slow mover” and, therefore, does not employ a lighted display for highlighting the pick location. SKU’s without lights are picked using voice to specify product locations and pick quantities, and wireless barcode scanning is used to confirm picks. Put locations on the cart are highlighted as before. The technology works seamlessly with a mix of lighted and non-lighted product locations as chosen by the customer.
Since the technology works seamlessly with a mix of lighted and non-lighted product locations, it’s possible to use the system without any lights on product locations. In this case, voice is used to specify pick locations and pick quantities while wireless barcode scanning is used to confirm that the right item was picked. The system can speak any language. Note that, in this case, the system is speaking Spanish.
Note also that a picture of the item specified for the next pick appears on the tablet screen. This feature is particularly useful when training new pickers and to authenticate the intended pick should a discrepancy arise. Beginning a new installation without lights on product bays provides a low-cost entry point with an incremental path toward future expansion to meet changing business needs.
The fastest picking rates are achieved when voice is used to guide the picker and lights are employed to highlight both pick locations on product bays and put locations on the cart. In this video clip, the picker is fulfilling more than 40 orders with one trip through the picking area. This form of order fulfillment is highly scalable and flexible to accommodate changing business needs. Note that the picker is working in a hands-free, heads-up mode.
Put walls can provide efficient strategies for order building for individual e-commerce orders as well as store orders. Put walls are ideal when picking low-velocity SKU’s from large areas. Items are picked in bulk for multiple put walls. Barcode scanning is used to identify a particular product, and light-directed putting is used to place products into the correct compartments. The video shows a worker loading the put side of the wall while another worker is handling completed orders on the pack side.
The back side of a put wall is often used as a lighted pack wall. When all of the products for a given order have been placed into the proper compartment on the put side, a display on the pack side of the put wall is activated to indicate that the order is ready to pack. Upon transferring the items from the put side to the pack side, the compartment becomes available immediately for building a new order.
Having a small number of carton sizes to use for packing can often result in excessive shipping lots of air and correspondingly high costs. FastFetch uses the dimensions of the items in the order to quickly determine an optimal carton size from a large number of carton sizes (for example 50 or more sizes). FastFetch then illuminates a segment of LED lights to identify the location of the optimal carton on a “Pack Wall” frame containing flat cartons standing on edge. One wall can be shared among multiple pack or loading stations by using different LED colors for each station.
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