| Written by Mark Buzinkay

In this article, we'll explore how pick-by-light and put-to-light systems are transforming warehouse operations, making them more efficient and accurate. We'll delve into the integration of RFID and RTLS technologies that enhance these systems further. Plus, we introduce Asset Agent, a solution that takes these technologies to the next level, optimizing workflow and improving inventory management. Get ready to discover how these advancements can benefit your operations.

Pick by light system

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Explaining Pick-to-Light Systems

Pick-by-light systems are simple but robust systems designed to streamline the picking process in warehouses, manufacturing areas and distribution centres. 

By illuminating an LED light at the specific location of the item to be picked, these systems guide operators directly to the correct product (or trailer, container), reducing the time spent searching and enhancing accuracy. If necessary, each light typically displays the number of items to be picked, further simplifying the process. 

Eventually, this method significantly improves efficiency, accuracy, and productivity, making it invaluable in sectors where speed and precision are paramount, such as e-commerce, manufacturing, and retail logistics. The system's real-time feedback mechanism helps monitor pick rates and identify areas for improvement, thereby optimising the overall workflow and reducing the likelihood of errors. But there is even more!


Integrating RFID and RTLS with Pick-BY-Light Systems

Integrating RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) and RTLS (Real-Time Location Systems) into pick-by-light systems represents a significant leap forward in warehouse and inventory management. Attached to items or pallets, RFID tags transmit data to readers, enabling precise inventory tracking throughout a facility. Combined with RTLS tags, which provide real-time location tracking, this integration allows for a highly efficient and automated picking process.

RFID and RTLS enhance pick-by-light systems by enabling dynamic updates to pick instructions based on real-time inventory and location data. This allows warehouses to implement more flexible and responsive picking strategies, such as wave or zone picking, further optimising workflow and productivity.

The integration process involves setting up RFID readers and RTLS sensors throughout the warehouse, ensuring that every item's movement can be tracked and recorded. This setup feeds into the pick-by-light system, which uses the gathered data to guide pickers to the correct location, ensuring that the right item is picked quickly.

The benefits of this integration are manifold, including reduced errors, increased inventory visibility, and enhanced operational efficiency. It also allows for better data analytics, providing insights into inventory flow, picker performance, and potential bottlenecks within the picking process.

Implementing RFID and RTLS with pick-by-light systems requires careful planning and consideration of the specific needs of the warehouse, including layout, types of items stored, and existing infrastructure. However, the investment in this technology pays dividends through improved accuracy, speed, and efficiency in the picking process, driving significant improvements in overall supply chain performance.



Pick-by-light and put-to-light systems enhance warehouse operations' efficiency and accuracy but serve opposite functions. Pick-by-light directs workers to the correct product locations for picking orders using illuminated indicators, optimising the picking process by reducing errors and increasing speed. In contrast, put-to-light is used during the sorting and consolidation phases, guiding workers on where to place items from a sorted batch into specific orders or bins. While pick-by-light is focused on retrieving items efficiently, put-to-light is about accurately distributing picked items into outgoing orders or restocking locations.


Asset Agent as a Pick-by-Light Solution

Asset Agent elevates the traditional pick-by-light system by integrating modular design for enhanced flexibility and process optimisation. The "Pick by light" module specifically revolutionises asset identification and stock management through visual cues and FIFO principles, optimising production lines with real-time data accuracy. 

Asset Agent optimises workflow by visually identifying assets and managing stock through a First In, First Out (FIFO) system. The Asset Agent pick-by-light system involves illuminating light at the location of the asset to be picked (LED lights on tags). This visual indication helps quickly locate items, reduce picking errors, and streamline the picking process, thereby enhancing overall efficiency in warehouse operations and production lines.

Additionally, Asset Agent encompasses point-based and zone-based location modules for pinpoint asset and machinery positioning, coupled with an Automatic Identification module that validates assets while providing immediate feedback to operators. This holistic approach streamlines picking processes and adapts to diverse industrial needs, demonstrating Asset Agent's capability as a comprehensive, efficient pick-by-light solution.

There are some excellent examples of how Asset Agents uses its LED functionality to create a pick-by-light process. In the tyre manufacturing industry, rubber is the raw material to build tyres. But rubber is organic and has a limited storage and processing time. The Fi-Fo principle is critical to avoid material waste due to expiry. Typically, a tyre plant produces millions of tyres annually, and the amount of rubber is very high.

Consequently, rubber stored in containers must be managed carefully. Asset Agent makes the process simple: Each container has a tag attached, and the worker collects all containers selected by the system according to the Fi-Fo principle - by light. The tags will flash so they are easily identifiable.

Sometimes, containers get parked wrongly or just left somewhere. They will flash light before their "cargo" (rubber) expires or to indicate their wrong storage position.  

Another example is the automotive industry. Cars are manufactured in production lines and, once finished, parked outside for further treatment and transport to dealers or customers. Thousands of vehicles are temporarily stored on the premises, like at the Volkswagen factories in Wolfsburg and Bratislava. The cars are then equipped with Asset Agent tags and can be located precisely everywhere in the big yard, independently of where you move them. Additionally, every customisation or work step is automatically recorded as specific positions are identical to certain tasks (fuelling, washing, tyre change, etc.). The automatic documentation is proof and quality assurance in one. It is very convenient for the drivers to come to a parking zone and look visually for the LED light to flash instead of comparing VINs to identify the proper car. Learn more about car logistics and Volkswagen here...

In a third example, pick-by-light serves as a visual approval system for the machine operator. Let's suggest the operator will load a machine with a semi-finished product. Asset Agent observes the process via readers at the machine and knows the content of the product container as its tag identifies it (auto identification technology). If the container is correct, the LED light will flash green, allowing loading. But if the container is wrong, a red light will appear, and the loading process won't be allowed. The operator immediately knows that he tried to load the wrong container. 


FAQ: Pick-by-Light Systems

What is a pick-by-light system?

A pick-by-light system is a technology used in warehouses and distribution centres to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the picking process. It involves using lights and LED displays at storage locations to guide workers to the items that need to be picked. The system illuminates a light at the item's location and displays the quantity to be picked, thereby reducing search time and minimising errors.

How does a pick-by-light system improve warehouse operations?

A pick-by-light system enhances warehouse operations by streamlining the picking process, a critical aspect of warehouse management. It improves efficiency by directing workers to the exact location of items, reducing the time spent searching. The system also increases accuracy by clearly indicating the quantity of items to be picked, which significantly reduces picking errors. Additionally, it allows for real-time tracking of inventory levels and picking productivity, enabling better management and optimisation of warehouse resources.

Can pick-by-light systems be integrated with other warehouse technologies?

Yes, pick-by-light systems can be integrated with a variety of other warehouse technologies, such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS). Integration with these systems allows for enhanced functionality, such as real-time inventory updates, automated replenishment signals, and detailed data analytics. This comprehensive integration enables warehouses to achieve even higher efficiency, accuracy, and productivity levels in their operations.



This article explored pick-by-light and put-to-light systems, emphasizing their role in improving warehouse efficiency and sorting accuracy. By integrating RFID and RTLS, these systems offer dynamic inventory management, enhancing operational effectiveness. Asset Agent's pick-by-light solution showcases the benefits of combining technology to streamline warehouse tasks. From managing raw materials in tyre production to tracking vehicles in automotive factories, Asset Agent demonstrates how advanced systems can significantly impact inventory management, making operations more efficient and accurate with less effort.

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