IIoT Pick-to-Light leasing model: Game changer in pay-as-you-go scalability

Thomas R. Cutler of TR Cutler, Inc

IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) real-time, web-connected leased Pick-to-Light devices are the best choice for more than 90% of the distribution, warehouse, and cellular manufacturing assembly markets. According to Trevor Blumenau, CEO of Voodoo Robotics, based in Plano, TX, the characteristics most needed for an effective picking solution must offer machine to machine real-time productivity. SKU to SKU, Picker to Packer, high visibility, robust order pick displays with flexible mounting methods allow adaptable warehousing operations.

Comparing pick technologies side-by-side often reveals that Pick-to-Light solutions have best-practice picking accuracy. The light indicators make it difficult to pick from the wrong location – or the incorrect amount – when the light is both the pick instruction and location indicator, says Thomas R. Cutler, president & CEO of TR Cutler, Inc.

There is a clear cost-advantage and scalability to Pick-to-Light solutions determined by the number of SKUs; a display is required for each SKU picked. With voice or RF scanning equipment, the variable cost is determined by the number of operators picking. These characteristics for picking solutions are a great starting point, but what matters most is picking the right product at the right place at the right time.

Voodoo Robotics IIoT real-time web-connected leased Pick-to-Light devices

Achieving the highest productivity from a warehouse operation may require different technologies better-suited depending on the SKU order frequency and value. Until now, purchasing pick lights has represented a large capital equipment purchase with fixed costs.

It has also carried the detriment of immobile equipment, a serious flaw with fluctuating inventory, and variable SKUs. That has changed in the IIoT environment.

Pick-to-Light and IIoT

When the new devices are web-connected, providing real-time accurate picking data, immediate corrective actions can be made on the plant floor or distribution centre. Analysis of most warehouse orders will show a Pareto curve, where few SKUs account for a large percentage of orders. These fast-moving items are the “A” parts. Any small amount of efficiency gains in picking these “A” parts have a large impact on the overall productivity of the entire operation.

With exponential growth in SKUs, the permutations of one product can be complex. That variety and variability does not need to translate into the design, deployment, and maintenance of an effective picking solution. Blumenau insisted that hardware components should be modular and user-replaceable, minimising maintenance and costs.

Having these devices leverage IIoT technology instructs quarantining information or out-of-stock data. The messaging can be directed to a picker, by name or in the language spoken. This represents a disruptive approach to Pick-to-Light technology.

IIoT picking allows for the elimination of costly mispicks

Nothing represents a negative impact on relationships with customers more than product mispicks. Avoiding mispicks is critical if outsourcing order fulfillment; businesses are utilising 3PLs (Third Party Logistics) firms at the highest rate in recorded B2C (Business to Consumer) transactions. IIoT data ensures manufacturers can keep tabs on operational costs.

Just one incorrectly shipped SKU in the e-commerce space can be the entire margin of the shipment. Often the corrective action involves reshipping using costly overnight delivery services, like FEDEX, to keep the customer happy. With IIoT oversight in real-time, such mispicks can be completely avoided.

Trevor Blumenau

Voodoo Robotics’ starter kit allows customers to test the efficacy of the IIoT solution including access to inventory management called SKU Keeper. It is vendor agnostic and works with most WCS (warehouse control systems) and WMS (warehouse management systems). The ability to utilise these IIoT sensors increases effective inventory management, cycle time counting, conduct single picks, and do batch picking. Without the expense of costly RF Guns, operators, or warehouse managers (on-site or off-site) can verify items picked and packed.

IIoT Pick-to-Light scalability

For the first time, users do not buy lights; they lease them, just as software moved to the SaaS (software as a service) model years ago. Lights are leased monthly. If more are needed, more are ordered. If fewer are needed, they are returned. This pay-as-you-go approach changes the entire consideration about testing the efficacy of the concept.

There is no capital equipment purchased; users get started for $500 (€419.80) and test the product in their environment. This scalability up or down is particularly crucial in those warehouses experiencing any type of seasonality or variable expansion/contraction.

The author of this blog is Thomas R. Cutler, president & CEO of TR Cutler, Inc

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow OR @jcIoTnow

RECENT ARTICLES

Rajant and Acubis Technologies announce successful FE1 peregrine and hawk deployments for Stanwell’S meandu mine

Posted on: May 17, 2022

Malvern, PA. 17 May 2022 – Rajant Corporation, the Kinetic Mes wireless networks, and Acubis Technologies, a Kinetic Mesh Premier Partner (KMPP) in Australia, have delivered the FE1 series BreadCrumbs Rajant Peregrine and Hawk to a government-owned utilities provider in southwest Queensland. The customer, Stanwell, was battling the ever-evolving data and application requirements of its

Read more

How can IoT revolutionise dairy farming?

Posted on: May 17, 2022

Today internet of things is the most topical talk in the tech industry. If you are still unaware of this term, the Internet of Things, a.k.a IoT, then just look around; you have been using it in your daily life, either in the form of smart watches or smart microwaves or smart water bottles, etc,

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more