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Date Posted: 6/28/2010

Order Fulfillment Execution Systems Impact Productivity and Bottom-Line

 
 

By Thomas R. Cutler

Advanced software technology that enables productivity-enhancing tools, are critical to gain a supply chain competitive edge. According to Jim Bast, Vice-President and General Manager of Lightning Pick (www.lightningpick.com), “More functionality means more control and precise optimization of critical order fulfillment operations.  Through the Lightning Pick Management Console companies quickly add products and locations, change staffing and work zones, expedite hot orders, access real-time statistics on picker productivity (including on an individual level), order volumes and all system activities. Advanced data management capabilities allow for easy manipulation of business intelligence and reporting needs.”


Fast Flow-Through Container Routing System.

In many high-performance picking operations how the cartons or totes get to the pick areas can be just as important as the pick process itself. LP Convey can help streamline that process.  This software solution makes use of data within the Lightning Pick database to understand the container routing requirements. The system integrates with conveyor control programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and the conveyor mounted bar code readers over Ethernet network to identify and divert containers into required pick areas. The unique decision point configuration approach relieves the PLC of data handling tasks associated with most bar code based applications and results in a system that is easily modified and maintained by plant personnel.

For facility conveyor requirements outside the areas controlled by Lightning Pick, LP Convey can route to quality control, value add, or supplemental pick areas based upon real time pick data or data from weight scales or manifest systems. More complex applications are handled through our real time MS Message Queues interface. This standardized approach allows seamless integration with a number or leading Warehouse Control (WCS) package providers, such as QC Enterprise, by QC Software.


The Lightning Pick Convey includes easily configurable features include programmable routes, decision points and destinations as well as complete process tracking and reporting. The unique decision point configuration approach relieves the PLC of data handling tasks associated with most bar code applications. This results in a system that is easily modified and maintained by plant personnel.


Pick to Light for Order Fulfillment.

Pick to Light is acknowledged to be the fastest operator-based picking strategy available to execute broken case quantity order fulfillment operations and is ideal for team-based approaches like zone picking.  According to Jim Bast, “The LP Pick solution increases the pick rate productivity, accuracy and cost efficiency of this labor intensive operation by reducing the walk time, eliminating the reading errors and simplifying the task throughout the pick process.  Lightning Pick Technologies’ flagship product LP Pick is the most flexible and powerful light-directed picking application available. With the fastest growing user community, Lightning Pick leads the Pick-to-Light industry in both new installations and in retrofitting legacy light-directed systems.”

Lightning Pick is the industry's first and only proactive Pick to Light solution, offering greater performance and continuous improvement for critical fulfillment operations through superior system software tools. Ultimately these software solutions allow for faster and better decision responses with real-time visibility into all important activities including events and productivity statistics in real-time, presented through a sophisticated GUI featuring complete reporting tools.


Scalability and Best-In-Class

Field tested and proven throughout five hundred facilities worldwide, Lightning Pick hardware meets the daily demands for installations of all sizes. Lightning Pick led the cable-free light module revolution to provide convenient and cost effective system installation, maintenance and expansion. The company’s deep catalog of light module models, colors, and configurations all share these core product advantages to meet customers’ unique application requirements.

Best-in-class applications for kitting, error-proofing, manufacturing, parts picking, assembly, mini-mart, case pick to belt and order picking support lean supply chain processes from manufacturing through fulfillment.

Matt Wojewuczki, Vice-President of Operations for Vera Bradley Designs noted, “Lightning Pick’s expertise in retail order fulfillment processes helped us achieve our immediate goal - to pick orders with the same lean principals we use through - out other operations at Vera Bradley.  Lightning Pick’s ongoing dedication to product development, with products like LP News, effectively supports our commitment to continuous improvement in our distribution process."


Team-based Methodologies

Team-based methodologies are a popular means of efficiently executing a variety of manufacturing, distribution and fulfillment operations. In these processes a higher level of communication between individuals is a proven technique of improving group productivity.

Jim Bast noted that the Lightning Pick software, “Displays real-time productivity performance data such as zone pick rates and order status so that all team members are aware of their current rate of progress -- as well as offering visual alerts for product location replenishment, system maintenance and other important events to share vital data across multiple functions and departments.”  The team is also reminded of safety tips, upcoming meetings or new procedures through the user-friendly interface to distribute virtually any information quickly and easily to targeted employees.  LED displays are available in a variety of sizes and models to accommodate individual customer requirements and applications.  

Few software solutions can substantiate best-in-class claims or support the notion of most advanced order fulfillment execution system; few solutions can demonstrate improved productivity with a bottom-line impact…Lighting Pick is the exception to that rule.

 




Author Contact:
Thomas R. Cutler
TR Cutler, Inc
Email: trcutler@trcutlerinc.com
Website: www.trcutlerinc.com


About Author
Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc, (www.trcutlerinc.com). Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium of three thousand five hundred journalists and editors writing about trends in manufacturing. Cutler is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, American Society of Business Publication Editors, Committee of Concerned Journalists, as well as author of more than 400 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler is also the developer of lean technology C.E.O (Continuous Experiential Optimization). Cutler can be contacted at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com.

 


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