On a mezzanine floor within their 15.000 square metre warehouse, TopPak have a picking area in which only 60 articles are held. Those 60 articles, while only
a small selection of the total SKU’s, represent a massive 75% of their total daily order lines. These products are part of their online offering and are ordered by consumers across Europe. Specifically for this high intensity, limited range fulfilment opera-tion, TopPak turned to Pcdata to provide a Pick to Light system of only 20 meters in length.
Since commissioning in December 2010, productivity has doubled, while the number of errors has reduced by 90%.
At TopPak , order picking is a team activity, and each of the 5 operatives engaged work dynamically across the 7 zones in perfect harmony.
How It Works
The process is sequential: The first operator launches orders and ensures a steady supply of packing boxes is kept on the gravity roller belt that runs adjacent to the pick locations. The second operator takes an empty box and rolls it in front of the picking locations within their zone. Each of the required products lights up by the means of an LED pick display and the quantity of product required is shown beside the push button light. The operative picks the required products, places them into the packing box and turns out the light of each product to confirm the pick action as complete.
Once all lights have been turned out, the operator passes the box to the operative in the next zone, who takes the box and follows the same process before passing on to the next operative and so-on. This sequential ‘relay’ process keeps picking distan-ces for each operative to an absolute minimum, meaning hours are spent picking, not walking.
The SKU’s picked in this process can be ordered by consumers in nine European countries over the internet. All orders are assembled in Houten, NL, and now part of Post-NL, they process an average of 700 orders per day with peaks hitting as high as 2500.
Optimised Picking Method
Prior to December 2010, the order assembly process was completed with the use of paper picking lists, a labour intensive and error prone method. TopPak soon identified that there had to be a faster and more ac-curate order assembly tool available. This resulted in the implementation of the Pcdata Pick to Light system – “For this operation with relatively little article numbers and a large number of order lines is pick-to-light picking the optimal method,” says Nanne van der Burg.