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Advanced Conveyor & Voice Picking

This is the most advanced DATASCOPE WMS solution. It involves using Voice based picking to cartons that move through zones on a conveyer system. The solution is currently in operation in an apparel Distribution Center and a cosmetics distributor. The solution applies to any large Distribution Center with a high volume of carton-based fine picking across a wide SKU range.

In this model, a conveyer system can be used at the receiving area to automatically sort incoming cartons of product for improved put away into a bulk storage racking area. As cartons are received off this conveyer, each carton is scanned onto a pallet. This scanned data is used to process the required purchase order receipt. This module is not mandatory for the solution.

The conveyer would “snake” through zones in the main picking area. Each zone would comprise of many pick faces and would be laid out based on product picking volumes. In a simple conveyer operation, each zone would be allocated with a mix of high, medium and low-running SKUs. In more advanced warehouses, the conveyer may snake through a CLS high-volume picking area before moving to medium and slow-moving zones.

On the release of each sales order the DATASCOPE WMS software will take every sales order line and first compare the ordered quantity against the product’s standard pack size in the bulk warehouse area. Where the software can pick full cartons from bulk it will release barcoded carton labels for these picks. Any quantity less than the standard pack size will be cubed into a range of different-sized cartons and will be induced onto the conveyer system to be picked in the pick face zones.
Pick face-picked cartons will be barcode labeled and inducted onto the conveyer system at the induction station and flow down the conveyer. The conveyer system will be equipped with in-line scanners at each zone. As the carton arrives at the zone the in-line scanner will scan the carton label and based on this will divert the carton into the zone for picking or flow the carton onto the next zone.

Any carton arriving in a zone will be picked using a voice picking device (can also be picked on a scanner). The voice system has two modes of operation, one is a single carton pick where the picker reads the carton number and proceeds to pick the required products from this zone. The second option is a trolley picking process where the picker first reads a number of cartons onto a trolley and then moves through the racks picking various units in pick face bin sequence into the correct cartons on the trolley.

The voice system makes use of check digits to ensure that the picker goes to the correct bin for picking. Also, a scanning option is available to double-check the actual product in the bin. If this is turned on, the voice kit is paired to a Bluetooth scanner, and the kit will require the picker to scan one item as he/she removes the inventory from the bin.

In the case where the picker cannot pick the required units as the bin is empty, a short pick will be performed. The software immediately looks for an alternative bin location in the same zone where this missing product can be found. If more inventory is found, the software will generate a new reservation and take the picker back to this bin for picking.

Once the carton has moved through all required zones and all the picking is complete, it will flow down the conveyer to a checkout area. Here we can perform an in-line mass check on the carton and pass or fail the carton. At the same time, the software compares the original requested items to pick to what has been picked. If either of these checks fails, the carton will be diverted into a QA check area. Missing items can be picked via a scanner to correct the carton, or the carton can be overwritten as a short pick and placed back on the conveyer.

Typically, the carton now gets closed in a lidding process and then flows into the dispatch area. Here the DATASCOPE WMS software can sort the cartons into various dispatch spurs. In each spur, the dispatch staff scans each carton and places it together with its associated cartons in a bin location. When the last carton arrives, the scanner pops up a warning to the user to show that the order is complete and gives the invoice number. The user will collect the invoice and attach this to the last carton before handing the order to a logistics service provider to perform the delivery.

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