Logistics is one of the industries that respond to an ever-increasing digitalisation and automation: We painstakingly adapt our order picking systems to advancing warehouse technologies and your needs.
The systems are centred around the two principles of “goods to person” or “person to goods” and smoothly integrate in automated processes. Various tools such as pick-by-light or pick-by-voice provide you with innovative order picking technologies aimed at making your logistics processes more efficient.
Our total project portfolio is focused on adapting the order picking systems to each of our customers’ logistics processes.
What is an order picking system?
Generally speaking, order picking refers to compiling certain items of an assortment. Every company has its own set of items to be picked. The actual process of the order picking system of choice is based on order-specific, local and time requirements, and covers item withdrawal, transfer and dispatching.
Normally, order picking systems break down into material flow, information or organisation systems. One of the consequences is that order handling details are transferred in different ways, e.g. by radio, optically or acoustically.
Order picking principles
There are three basic principles of order picking, i.e. “person-to-goods”, “goods-to-person” and “pick-by-robot”.
A person-to-goods solution assumes that a person picks the requested items from the storage area to successively compile the order.
A goods-to-person solution assumes that items are automatically retrieved from a picking location containing bins or pallets. Once the items have been picked at the order picking workstation, the empty or partly empty bins or pallets are returned to the warehouse and stored there.
In the case of low-volume orders or items not suitable for automatic warehousing and conveying methods, you will normally apply the person-to-goods principle. It involves lower investments because all you need is a pallet store or free floor space.
However, goods-to-person solutions and automatic order picking are ideal because they are more efficient. They help you reducing transport times and require significantly fewer persons working in the warehouse.
The pick-by-robot principle assumes that all order picking processes are fully automatic. Instead of persons, robots complete all jobs involved in compiling items for one or more orders.
Key order picking methods and techniques
There are many different order picking systems adapted to the applicable requirements. It takes specific solutions, since every warehouse is different. This is where HÖRMANN Intralogistics comes in. We design custom-fit order picking solutions for your intralogistics needs. Key order picking technologies include:
- Mobile devices plus scanner (MDE, tablet PC, stacker terminal etc.)
The pick-by-light process is based on a light signal indicating the bin locations and the number of items to be picked. The order picker confirms that an item has been picked from the bin location.
Put-to-light is normally applied in a goods-to-person order picking concept. This approach is designed to handle the picking of several orders at the same time. A light signal indicates the order associated with the items just picked.
Pick-to-belt is an order picking system assuming that article items are picked from a bin location and placed directly on a conveyor belt – often feeding a downstream sortation system.
Voice-based order picking systems such as pick-by-voice use an automatic computer voice to acoustically send the order details to the picker’s headset. Vice versa, the picker uses the same voice control system to confirm the orders.
Pick-by-vision is an innovative type of order picking system. Smart glasses display the required details to the picker’s own view. The signals guide the picker to the next picking point.
Order pickers use special-purpose handheld terminals to download their orders to the display of their mobile data acquisition device. Actual picking is confirmed by simply scanning a code or a touchscreen confirmation.
Pick-by-scan order picking systems rely on tablet PCs. Employees use MDE units (tablets) to handle their picking orders. A broad range of mobile device running up-to-date operating systems such as Android are available. Their display tells the picker the storage area and the items to be picked from there. To pick an item, the picker scans the barcode of the storage area and/or the item to ensure that it is allocated correctly.
In the picking process, the stacker control system’s (SCS) job is to optimise the order of picking orders and the truck routes. Part of the SCS is a central control module supplemented by terminals for communication with the trucks via WLAN. SCSs can be a component of your preferred warehouse management system (WMS) or a standalone system linked to that WMS.
Benefits of state-of-the-art voice and light-controlled order picking systems
Using automatic or automated order picking systems benefits you in many ways. They require neither teaching nor training, thereby improving the order pickers’ performance. They simplify the actual order picking process, thereby significantly improving the entire company’s productivity.
These benefits become particularly obvious when looking at up-to-date order picking systems by light or voice control and their outstanding improvement of picking efficiency at your site. Innovative equipment such as smart glasses, headsets or voice control ensure that your employees can move their hands freely, remain mobile and all that at a reduced risk of injuries and fatigue.
Benefits of automatic order picking systems in a nutshell:
- higher productivity
- faster order handling
- optimised picking precision
- improved workplace safety
- better customer service
We deploy our industry expertise and years of intralogistics know-how to support your use of cutting-edge order picking systems.
Sustainable order picking systems supplied by HÖRMANN Intralogistics
HÖRMANN Intralogistics provides you with a range of order picking systems you may operate as standalone systems for your logistics processes or linked to other units to make up an end-to-end solution. Let us be your partner to design tailored concepts for efficient order picking and sustainable processes.
Contact us now.