Shipping and logistics for ecommerce brands & 3PLs

Pick to Light System Explained: All You Need to Know

pick and light

In this guide, we’ll talk about what the term ‘pick to light’ is, and how you can use this system to potentially cut costs, effort, and time from your current workflow.

What is Pick to Light?

Pick to Light is a streamlined, technology-driven approach designed to optimize picking processes in warehouses and distribution centers.

This system, known for its efficiency and accuracy, leverages light-directed picking to guide warehouse workers to the specific locations of items that need to be picked for an order.

By using a combination of lights, alphanumeric displays, and buttons located at storage locations, Pick to Light eliminates the need for paper-based picking methods, significantly reducing errors and improving speed​​​​.

How Does Pick to Light System Work?

a warehouse that's full of packages

The Pick to Light system functions through a straightforward yet effective process:


An operator scans the barcode on a carton or a container that’s ready for items. This kick-starts the order.


Right after scanning, bright LED lights switch on, pointing the operator to where the items are stored. Screens also show how many items to grab.


Once the items are picked and placed into the container, pressing a button tells the system, “I’ve got this.” This confirms the pick is complete.


With one item down, the system lights the way to the next, continuing until the entire order is picked and packed.

This streamlined method keeps things moving smoothly, cutting down mistakes, and keeping efficiency high as workers move through their tasks with clear, visual instructions.

Why Use Pick to Light?

a warehouse worker that's giving a thumbs up

Pick to Light systems are a game-changer for warehouses looking to boost efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Here’s a simplified breakdown of why they’re worth considering:

Ease of Use and Rapid Training

Forget the long training sessions. New staff can get the hang of Pick to Light in just 30-45 minutes, speeding up your workflow almost immediately.

Improved Productivity and Efficiency

Operators get led right to what they need to pick, with clear signals and info displayed where they’re working. This cuts down on wasted time and confusion, making the picking process faster and smoother.

System Integration and Enhanced Visibility

These systems can easily become part of your current setup, linking up with your warehouse management software to keep everything running smoothly. They also give you helpful reports and real-time insights to keep things efficient.

High Accuracy Levels

Mistakes can drop dramatically with Pick to Light, hitting accuracy rates up to 99.9%. Happy customers and fewer returns? Yes, please.

Reduced Labor Costs and Error Rates

Automating with Pick to Light can bump up your productivity by about 40%, meaning you can do more with less. Plus, less time spent walking around or fixing mistakes adds up to significant savings.

Technological Advancements

Thanks to tech advances, Pick to Light systems are more flexible and affordable than ever. Plus, you get neat analytics tools to help you keep an eye on how things are going and where you can improve.

Should I Use Pick to Light Systems?

a warehouse worker that's carrying something and is smiling

Choosing to integrate Pick to Light systems into your operations depends on your specific needs, the volume of your orders, and how complex your inventory is.

Here’s a simplified guide to help you decide.

Consider Using It If:

You Handle Lots of Orders Quickly

If your warehouse is always busy and needs to get a lot of orders out fast, Pick to Light can help speed things up and keep mistakes low.

Your Inventory Is Complex

If you have many items that look alike or have lots of different products, Pick to Light can help pickers grab the right item every time.

You Want to Cut Costs on Labor

If you’re spending a lot on training and paying pickers, Pick to Light can make training quicker and picking more efficient, saving you money.

Your Business Is Growing

If you’re scaling up and need a system that grows with you, Pick to Light can be expanded or adjusted to fit your increasing needs.

Don’t Consider Using It If:

Your Operations Are Small or Simple

If you don’t deal with many orders or your inventory isn’t that complex, the cost of setting up Pick to Light might not be worth it.

Upfront Costs Are a Concern

Setting up Pick to Light requires an investment. If you’re worried about the initial cost and your current system works fine, you might want to wait.

You Change Your Warehouse Layout Often

If your warehouse setup changes a lot, moving Pick to Light around could get tricky and make it less useful.

Your Tech Isn’t Compatible

If your current systems can’t work with Pick to Light without major upgrades, you might need to consider if it’s the right time to switch.


What’s the difference between pick to light and put to light?

Pick to Light guides workers to items that need to be picked for orders, focusing on the retrieval of items. Put to Light, however, directs where to place these picked items, useful for sorting or assembling orders. It’s essentially picking items out versus sorting them into their final destinations.

What are the downsides of using pick to light?

Pick to Light systems can be expensive to set up and may not adapt easily to frequent changes in inventory or layout. They require a significant initial investment and are most cost-effective in stable, high-volume environments.

Where can I apply pick to light system?

Pick to Light is ideal for environments with high-volume picking like e-commerce fulfillment centers and can also be used in manufacturing for parts picking and kitting. It suits operations looking to boost speed and accuracy in order fulfillment.


If you’re looking into the different ways to pick faster and make fewer mistakes in your warehouse, then we highly recommend that you check us out at Packiyo.

We have smart tech like our Mobile Smart Pick that fits right in with ‘Pick to Light’ systems, making your warehouse run smoother and more efficient.

If you’re looking to know more about other WMS topics, then better check out our blog where we update our content regularly.

So to end things, making the choice to use Pick to Light should come after looking closely at what your warehouse needs, what challenges you’re facing now, and what plans you have for the future.

While it offers a lot of benefits for the right situation, it’s crucial to weigh those against the potential downsides and costs.

We hope that we’ve helped you learn this topic, and we’re looking forward to seeing you in our next post!

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