Pick To Light - Voice Picking

Pick to Light Systems & Solutions vs. Voice Picking

Some consider pick to light (PTL) systems and solutions and voice picking to be competing technologies. The strengths and weaknesses of these two technologies are well established. However, recently, pick to light and voice technology offerings have evolved to address their weaknesses and have now become complementary solutions in many distribution centers.

For example, voice picking advances now incorporate integrated RF barcode scanning functionality to address the need for occasional scanning of long values strings such as serial numbers that had previously caused inefficiencies. Developments in pick to light solutions now offer the use of multi-colored lights at pick locations to permit multiple workers in a zone.

Some pick to light system vendors now offer solutions that integrate PTL and voice to improve upon the older pick to light offerings. As an example, voice can be used to eliminate some of the button press requirements in pick to light systems to handle exception conditions (such as to indicate that the pick had to be shorted). Instead of needing to push a button at the pick location to decrement the picked quantity value, the worker uses voice to confirm the actual picked quantity.

Another drawback with pick to light system solutions that integration with voice will address is the inherent inability to correct an incorrectly reported pick. For instance, say a worker pushes the button at a location to confirm that the requested quantity was picked. But then they realize that the quantity at the location is actually short. There is no way in a PTL system to go back to the last pick. The pick to light system has turned the light off at that location and is waiting for the next pick at another location. With the introduction of voice, the worker can speak a command (such as ‘repeat last pick’) to return to the previous picking location and correct the error.

Pick to Light Systems & Solutions AND Voice Picking

This evolution of technologies now provides more supply chain options at sites that already utilize voice or pick to light solutions. Instead of an “either or” question, the pick to light and voice technologies can now be used in a complementary configuration. For us at Mountain Leverage, the unique operational parameters at each company will ultimately determine which technologies are best for your logistics automation initiative. We are experts at integrating voice with all types of technologies and systems (pick to light, RF scanning, or even paper-based order picking). In fact, we are routinely called upon by Vocollect Voice for particularly challenging voice directed workflow implementations. If you need to enhance existing pick to light systems with voice for greater accuracy and efficiency, call us today!