What is pick-by-vision?

Definition Pick-by-Vision: Picking based on data glasses

The faster an order picker can act without forcing errors or damage at the same time, the more efficient his operation is. Pick-by-vision represents a new method of picking that allows the operator to use both hands to handle goods at all times. This is made possible through the use of data glasses, an example of which would be Google Glass. An overview of how it works:

  • Transmission of all central data to the user (in real time)
  • Intelligent control by means of display tasks that do not require active use of the order picker
  • Transfer of the storage place incl. corresponding pick number
  • If required: capture of barcodes also possible

Advantages of Pick-by-Vision: Directly perceiving errors in picking

Time is an important factor in warehouse logistics, because this is where it is decided whether upstream or downstream processes can be carried out without delay. At the same time, certain methods of picking are associated with a certain susceptibility to error, which must be taken into account. Pick-by-vision is a method that works regardless of location and uses visualization via data glasses (head-mounted display) to prepare all central aspects for the picker.

An overview of the advantages resulting from the use of pick-by-vision:

  • Reduction of errors in order picking, especially due to direct possibility of visual control
  • Reduction of non-active times (dead time, base time, path time), especially by displaying information about the path and the next pick
  • Intuitive control through clear linking of all important individual steps
  • Increased picking speed with higher quality at the same time
  • Suitability for different types of bearings given

Not to be forgotten: Due to the direct alignment with the warehouse system, pick-by-vision represents a coveted innovation in logistics. This makes the company more efficient and flexible, thanks in particular to digital pick lists and the use of both hands.

Disadvantages of pick-by-vision: Limited usability and high adaptability given

As is usual with any product innovation, the use of pick-by-vision also comes with certain drawbacks. This has mainly to do with the information processing, which is visual and thus requires absolute concentration on the part of the user. We therefore do not want to discount risks of pick-by-vision:

  • Higher workload due to an increased level of visual information processing
  • Higher risk of accidents due to the restricted field of vision of the user
  • Low battery runtime requires precise deployment planning of pick-by-vision
  • Risk due to visual distraction, which increases the risk of accidents
  • Higher workload due to an increased number of cycles (significantly higher cognitive load)

Important: The relevant indicator for logistics companies is and remains the error rate in order picking. Pick-by-vision appears to be suitable for significantly reducing these - however, several studies indicate that an adaptation of the work environment and work organization is necessary due to a higher cognitive load.

Important points in dealing with pick-by-vision

For flexibility reasons alone, it makes sense to make the use of an order picker as dynamic as possible. This increases quality and speed, as real-time data exchange means that priority can always be given. Thus, with pick-by-vision, it is easily possible to optimize the tour so that the most efficient route is always taken by displaying the order, rack or pallet. This is possible in the combined use of tracking systems that continuously record the employee's location and feed it into the system.

In the future, the further development of pick-by-vision will focus on further reducing the already low susceptibility to errors. Although digitized processes alone represent a high level of security, there are naturally sources of error that are favored by the human factor. It would be possible to optimize pick-by-vision, for example, by printing a barcode in the field of vision that also functions as a scanner. In this way, it is immediately visible whether the correct goods have been picked up and assembled. Depending on the system, a parallel visual display of the picking item is also possible.

In the proLogistik logistics lexicon you will find detailed descriptions of other picking methods, take a look!


Logistik Lexikon Pick by Vision

Image: Ahmet Misirligul / Shutterstock

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