Two Innovative Put-to-Light Applications 

  1. "Put to light" food and supply allocation system for 7-11 Stores
  2. 7-11 is probably this nation’s largest chain of "convenience" stores. Each day they must send out supplies of freshly prepared food such as sandwiches, salads, pastries, as well as numerous packaged and auto-related products. To insure the consistent quality of the food items and to allow for an "assembly line" preparation of the food, they must distribute fresh product each night for early next morning availability.

    Each day, the prepared food and other products arrive at the 7-11 distribution center which is run as a sort of "cross dock" staging area. Each store is identified by a store number and has a 2-3 deep pallet staging location. These staging locations are arranged in rows of about 20 lanes off each side of a main aisle. Each store lane has a terminal with a lighted store number suspended over the front of the lane and it has a pick terminal that will display the quantity of a product to be placed in each store’s lane.

    In operation, each new product to be distributed is scanned at the end of the center staging aisle. All store lanes on that aisle light up with the quantity of this product to be "put" into each store’s lane. Several "putters" distribute this product to the 40 stores and then push the "put complete" button above each lane. When all stores have been served, the process is repeated for all the remaining food and product for the day’s run for these 40 stores.

    There are several of these staging areas, each for another group of 40 stores. When all the product for the current 40 stores has been distributed, it is loaded into delivery trucks using the 1-3 pallets removed from the staging lanes and a new group of 40 stores can be supplied in the same way.

  3. "Put to light" clothing and other products for an English department store chain and a US clothing store chain.

In the classic put-to-light application, an reversed pick-to-light system (or a second pick after a first pick by some other method) is used as a combination sortation and product verification system. It works as follows:

First a group of 16-20 store or customer orders is batched (all the orders pick lines are combined into one pick document or picking trip) together and picked in a single trip for the whole batch. This greatly reduces pick walking times.

Next, the batch is conveyed to the "put" (or as it is also called, the "pack") area where all the totes from the batch are accumulated or sorted to the correct put station. Each put station has 16 or 20 compartments where 16 to 20 shipping totes or shipping cartons are placed. Each shipping tote or carton is then labeled with its final destination (customer or store address).

Each item from the batch totes is barcode scanned (they must have a UPC or other bar code label for this to work). A terminal will then light up below the correct shipping carton or tote indicating how many pieces of the scanned item goes into each shipping tote. As the picked products are scanned and the "put complete" buttons under each carton are pushed, the batch picks are gradually both sorted and verified to the correct shipping carton. Any extra pieces left at the end, or any shipping totes that are short pieces, indicate picking errors that must be corrected.

This is similar to the results achieved by a large tilt-tray sortation system at a company like Lands End, but it has several distinct advantages for the lower volume operation. Because the products are not mechanically sorted, they do not have to be specially packaged and bar coded with sortation labels. They are also less prone to damage or loss from the sortation equipment. The put to light system is also generally significantly less expensive that a tilt tray sorter.

Click here for more information on order picking!

To take the first step toward fixing your distribution problems, Call us at  (610)965-5026 9AM-5PM EST or email Art now!

If you don't find what you need, 
Ask Art 


Some Recent Testimonials
(Contact us to speak directly to a writer.)



"Hi Art, you are very welcome for the references. You may not know this but we RAVE about the suggestions you made to us for our "Distribution Center", and how right your suggestions were…" Dan G., Pres., Pipersville, PA.



"I look forward to having you involved for our DC implementation plan and in future endeavors as well. Your input was extremely valuable to us". Brent T., President Jacksonville, FL



"This move is incredibly difficult - I would never have been able to do this without all your great help"! Dave W., Owner, Chicago, IL.



"First I wanted to say that all your suggestions work great!  Thanks so much.  Secondly, in the later part of May, we will be moving out of our current facility into a new one.  I was wondering if I gave you the layout could you draw up a design.  You told me if there were ever changes, just ask for a new layout, so here I am.  Thanks a lot!"  Bob V., Owner, New Kensington, PA



"I know it has been a while, but we finally signed on a new building, and are looking at a mid July move.  We have three dock highs, and two roll ups.  Please do your magic and lay out the floor space.  Thanks."  Rami R., Owner, Chatsworth, CA



"The renovation is going great.  The large shelving is all moved and the small shelving is about 75% in its new location.  A company is coming in Tuesday to build the new shelving...then we can start to relocate all the product.  Thanks for all the help."  Jeff L., Operations Manager, Victoria, BC, Canada.



"We've received the final report, thanks for the summary of findings and the recommendations.  What was most valuable for us was the process of getting to the goal and the discussions around it…  Thanks again for your help…Joachim S., Systems Manager, New York, NY



 "I'm proud to say that our first day of production in our new location was March 6.   Thank you for your work on our behalf.  Looks like we got off to a fine start in the warehouse and picking areas.  It's always a pleasure hearing from you."  Charlie T., Project Manager, Amityville, NY


The Avery Way   US: (800)-606-9841  FAX: (267) 295-8573   Email:
Copyright 1997-2011 All Right Reserved - Avery and Associates -  The Avery Way