Pick to light systems pick to light a technology

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Pick-to-Light SystemsPick to light,a technology using a variation of a carousel system, is also becomingincreasingly common. In these systems, order selectors pick designated items directly intocartons or onto conveyors fromlightedcarousel locations or storage bins. A series of lights oralight treein front of each pick location indicates the number of items to pick from eachlocation. The light system may also be used to facilitate a carton progression.In systems where an item is picked to fill multiple orders,sort barsshow the order selectorhow many of the selected items are needed in each carton to meet fulfillment needs ofindividual orders. A variation of the pick-to-light system isput-to-light,where orderselectors place product in thelightedcontainers. Each container or tote is assigned to aspecific order or customer, so the light is telling which customers are to receive a specificproduct.Special Handling ConsiderationsThe primary mission of materials handling is to facilitate merchandise flow in an orderly andefficient manner from manufacturer to point of sale. Generally deal with a wide range ofproduct, which translates to large inventories and the use of flow-through practices toconsolidate orders for shipment. Firms electing to consolidate orders must have the capabilityto effectively receive and merge a large number of very small orders rapidly. Third, an e-fulfillment facility is people-intensive because the required flexibility in picking reducesorder selection to manual or limited application of pick-to-light technology. In many cases, e-fulfillment operations are seasonal, increasing the need for ongoing training for new andseasonal employees.Fourth, increased consumer expectations regarding tracking require that many activitieswithin the warehouse and interfacing with the carrier be electronically scanned and tracked.
34Despite rapid growth in e-tailing, many firms are still trying to resolve the warehousing andmaterials handling processes most appropriate to support this activity.In many cases, these e-tailers are outsourcing fulfillment to third-party logistics firms. In anycase, the e-tailing environment will continue to place increasing demands on a more timely,responsive, and integrated warehouse and materials handling operation.Environmental ConcernsThere is increased concern regarding environment impact of warehouse operations. Inparticular, attention has been directed to the impact of materials handling equipment such aslift trucks. Pollution controls on new spark-ignited motors for lift trucks are similar toautomobile engines, making them more efficient, but more complicated to maintain. There isalso increasing interest regarding the handling and disposal of hazardous materials used orstored in warehouse operations. Firms have to ensure that such materials are disposed ofproperly to avoid pollution liability.

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