Italy, as usual the rest of the globe, lives on logistics.
A sector that has become increasingly important, reaching almost 100,000 companies and 1.5 million employees in 2019, for a total turnover of 84.5 billion euros.
An unstoppable growth for six years now, which has brought it to 9% of the national GDP and consequently cover an important slice of our production system.
The occurrence of the Covid-19 emergency if, on the one hand, blocked entire production sectors causing a serious economic crisis and a slowdown in growth, on the other hand, it strongly accelerated the disruptive changes already underway for some time in the field of logistics , profoundly changing the entire production cycle of the sector in a few weeks.
These changes are now requiring operators in the sector to face new and important challenges, including: global supply solutions, “just in time” inventory management methods, cross-dock logistics, preparations of ad hoc offers for each customer, expansion of the product range, etc.
All this also considering the need to comply with the rules related to social distancing and worker safety, now essential for facing the coronavirus emergency.
Gli argomenti del post
- 1 The warehouse: the real protagonist of future logistics
- 2 Picking and depositing missions: warehouse activities’ heart
- 3 Il Pick/Put-to-Light to optimize picking and depositing operations
- 4 Guiding multiple operators simultaneously: the Sautech Group Pick to Light
- 5 Pick to Light’s benefits
- 6 Il Pick to Light as a production assistence’s tool
- 7 Pick to Light: lever for the integration of industry 4.0
The warehouse: the real protagonist of future logistics
This new perspective of the logistics sector sees an absolute protagonist within the supply chain: the warehouse.
In order to ensure speed of supply and rapid delivery times to the user, it will become essential to have available not only large storage centers, but also and above all a chain of small warehouses distributed geographically in a capillary way, so as to quickly satisfy requests customers.
In doing so, the real difference will no longer be the speed of transport from the product, guaranteed by a warehouse placed locally nearby, but the activities of performance’s optimization within the warehouse itself.
Times fulfillment order decrease and the reduction of errors during the picking and depositing missions assume a fundamental importance in this changed scenario.
Picking and depositing missions: warehouse activities’ heart
A picking mission consists in taking from a certain warehouse position a given number of items in the as little time as possible, respecting the quantity indicated and avoiding any errors.
The simplest way to perform this operation is to provide the operator with a list of items to be picked up, possibly optimized according to a given criterion, with the relative quantities and the positions inside the warehouse from which to pick up. The operator, autonomously, proceeds to picking by checking the things he gradually picks up from the list provided.
In this traditional operating mode, both the time taken and the goodness of the mission depend heavily on the operator’s performance. Due to the repetitiveness of the work and its monotony, picking errors are really around the corner.
Il Pick/Put-to-Light to optimize picking and depositing operations
There are different methods of optimization and improvement of warehouse operations. A particularly interesting one regarding the manual picking activities is the Pick-to-Light (and the Put-to-Light for the deposit operations).
Pick to light is a very intuitive driving method of the operator to the goods, used in the manual picking processes to facilitate the operations of the logistics staff.
In its classic version, inside the warehouse, at the pick-up locations and deposit, there are electronic devices equipped with at least one button, a display and a high luminescence led that light up for indicate to the operator “from where”, “what” and “how much” to pick and / or to deposit.
The operator, therefore, is guided by a system of warning lights that light up in the correct sequence at the locations containing the material to be managed.
Whenever the operator picks up an item from the indicated location, it communicates it to the system by pressing a button that updates the Warehouse Management System (WMS) to which it is connected.
Guiding multiple operators simultaneously: the Sautech Group Pick to Light
Pick to Light is not a simple system for optimizing manual picking, but a real global solution on which all the picking activities of a warehouse can be based.
A similar event requires the system to work for multiple operators who must simultaneously manage and complete multiple orders.
This is possible, and we realized it as part of the Leanlog research project. By integrating an apparatus of readers and RFiD tags with a color-operator management system, we succeded to make Pick to Light the ideal solution to all the needs of a modern warehouse that must cope with today’s changed context.
Pick to Light’s benefits
The Pick to light allows to increase warehouse efficiency, increasing productivity and picking and depositing operations accuracy and decreasing the time needed for the completion of the order.
The operator, thanks to the use of the luminous indications, more easily identifies the goods to be picked up or the location where to store it, greatly reducing errors.
All this is even more useful during the manage of multiple orders: the different colors avoid possible confusion in the composition of the orders and increase the precision in the picking and deposit operations. The optimization and efficiency obtained translate into the possibility of processing orders faster and more punctually, increasing the satisfaction of the end customer.
Il Pick to Light as a production assistence’s tool
The Pick to Light can also be used within the production line to assist the operator during manual assembly / disassembly operations.
In this case, the parts to be assembled are identified according to the right assembly sequence through the coherent consequential lighting of the locations that contain them. During each phase, the operator, following the luminescent sequence, will know exactly which part he will have to take to complete the operation.
Pick to Light: lever for the integration of industry 4.0
To further increase performance, other technologies of the Industry 4.0 paradigm can be added to the Pick to Light, including::
- AR SYSTEM: an augmented reality system that shows the correct way to perform the assembly;
- SMART-GLASSES: faculty of the employee to request remote assistance from an expert operator through the use of smart-glasses;
- CAMERA SYSTEM: using a camera system that captures the images of the semi-finished product, it is possible to evaluate the correct assembly by drastically reducing assembly and operator training times, as well as the possibility of error.
You may also be interested in: SAULOG – the distributed data logger