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The Put-to-Light Method: An Oldie but Goodie

Online shopping is king in the retail world and has become the preferred method of shopping for today’s consumers. Whether it’s the purchase of a shower curtain or last-minute gift shopping for the holiday, the average consumer chooses to shop in the comfort of their own home versus traveling to a brick and mortar.

So, one can imagine the importance of receiving the correct product upon delivery. Suppose a customer received an item that was different than what was in their digital shopping cart; the undoubtedly frustrating process of contacting customer service to start the exchange process ensues. The delivery of the incorrect item was a preventable error. What could have caused this inaccuracy? Let’s look at the distribution center where the journey began.

One very likely answer to the question of wrong delivery is inaccurate placement during the sorting process. Sorting is a key component in the Put-to-Light method– the process that allows warehouse employees to sort and organize items in the correct location by the direction of light modules. Put-To-Light is the most widely used method in today’s distribution centers because of its accuracy and efficiency. 

How does Put-to-Light boost accuracy and efficiency?
The process of Put-to-Light is a seemingly simple one, which speaks to its popularity. The product a customer ordered (along with various other items that may or may not be a part of the same order) is placed in a container called a tote. The tote travels down a conveyor system to a sorting station where an employee awaits. Once the tote reaches the employee, it is scanned so that the put pod (a shelving unit made up of various bins) knows exactly where each item belongs. The employee picks an item from the tote and scans it to activate a light module designated to a specific bin. Once the light module is illuminated, the employee will place the scanned product in the indicated bin and push the light module to confirm the completion of the task. The process repeats until the tote has been completely sorted. This system allows warehouse employees to focus solely on sorting and picking—increasing accuracy and efficiency.

Why are errors still occurring?
Put-to-Light is a productive system that has minimized errors significantly– resulting in a faster fulfillment process. Occasionally, an item is placed in an incorrect bin causing a customer to receive the wrong product. Depending on the design of the put-pod, the light modules can reside either above or below the bin, making it unclear where the item belongs. This causes the employee to mistakenly place items in the wrong bin.

The Solution.
There are various avenues that can be taken to resolve the issue of inaccurate sorting, and AHS has designed a solution that allows employees to clearly identify which bin a scanned item belongs to. In addition to light modules on the outside of the bins, this solution is equipped with LED lights on the inside as well. This feature illuminates the entire cell, making it more eye-catching for the employee. This significantly reduces errors and increases productivity. Guesswork is eliminated and will maximize ROI.

Retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, and omnichannel fulfillment are focal points for many businesses that rely on innovative technologies to boost their ROI. Put-to-Light pods produce efficient and measurable results that promote increased order accuracy.

To learn more about how AHS can help improve your order accuracy, click here.

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