Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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LCD Monitors & Pick to Light Optimize Customization
LCD monitor helps the Pick to Light or Build to Light provide an even higher level of accuracy, can display images and special instructions.

In today's manufacturing environment, even the most mundane tasks are being reviewed and transformed. Increasing creativity is part of the quest to refine and error-proof all manufacturing processes. Recently a large Fortune 500 components manufacturer for the construction industry needed to provide slight variations and small customizations to what were otherwise standard products.

Often referred to as "the same but except," the ability to provide these minor product modifications can mean the difference between keeping a customer versus giving them to the competition. This industry leader found that the customization process frequently caused problems in the picking and shipping areas. The primary product was frequently combined with attachment hardware, instructions, and accessories to form a complete kit; this appeared to be ideally suited to pick-to-light technology.

Pick-to-light technology has been used for many years to assist with the picking of finished goods for retailers and direct-to-consumer businesses. The primary advantages experienced by firms using pick-to-light is that it removes much of the guesswork from the picking of items. Products are located in bins that are identified with a light and often a numeric quantity. The light ensures that the operator picks product from the proper bin. At the same time the process is basically "hands free" allowing the operator to use both hands to pick the correct products ensuring error-free picking and packing; pick-to-light systems frequently result in higher and more consistent pick rates, as well as greatly reducing pick areas. Pick-to-light works well for the standard components which are located in bins and used across many components.

Frequently large and small manufacturers question how to handle the products that are slightly customized. These products, often built-to-order, are delivered on pallets to the packaging area. This is what necessitated engineers to get creative. They realized that build sheets and enhanced photographs were often used to show the location of various decals and markings on the customized products. If these visual manufacturing sheets could be brought together with the product in the packaging area, they would create a way of readily identifying the individually customized products.

The construction components manufacturer turned to Lightning Pick Technologies., one of the largest pick-to-light companies in the United States with hundreds of installations worldwide. The idea of marrying electronic build sheets with a pick-to-light operation was new to even savvy leaders. The solution makes use of normal pick-to-light locations along with special locations utilizing full 17-in. LCD displays (see attached photo). These special monitors are located near the positions were customized components are placed.

When the order is ready for picking and packing the final product is sent to the pick-to-light system; it includes the location of the electronic build sheets.

When the packing area operators trigger the specific order, a light module turns on by the appropriate 17-in. display; it automatically shows the electronic build sheet downloaded from a central file server. The operator uses the picture to find the desired custom part. Since the manufacturer uses Just-In-Time (JIT) principles, only 10 or fewer different custom parts will be shown at any one display station. The operator reviews the part and verifies accuracy by viewing the display. The process also serves as quality control verification for the manufacturing decal process. Once the part has been identified the operator presses the pick-to-light button associated with the correct display. Other accessories and mounting hardware are picked into the package through a more typical pick-to-light process.

Only six months after the process started at the Fortune 500 company, it has already shown a substantial reduction in shipping errors and component mix-ups. Now that the use of electronic display sheets has been proven in this application, the company anticipates additional applications throughout the enterprise. Now, Lightning Pick Technologies has included full-screen displays as a standard option in the new manufacturing-oriented Build2Light System as a source of work instructions and assembly drawings.

Contact: Lightning Pick Technologies, N114 W18770 Clinton Drive, Germantown, WI 53022 800-827-8878 or 262-250-2100 fax: 262-251-7334 E-mail: Web:

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