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Title:
SORTING ASSISTANCE SYSTEM AND METHOD THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/229791
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A sorting assistance system for sorting of item is disclosed. In some implementations, the system comprises a plurality of receptacles, wherein each receptacle is being identified by a proximally placed visual indicator and a first machine readable code. The system further comprises an assistance device configured for, reading a second machine readable code affixed to an item to be sorted, determining a receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles for placing the item in, the determining based on the second machine readable code, displaying the visual indicator corresponding to the determined receptacle, on a screen of the assistance device, and reading the first machine readable code identifying the receptacle after the item is placed for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle.

Inventors:
ANGADI, Krishna Karthik (Ft No 501, Surya Towers Gandhinagar, Hyderabad 0, 500080, IN)
NAGENDRAPPA, Ranjith Jaaly (#52 EWS, 4th Phase Yelahanka New Town, Bangalore 4, 560064, IN)
RAVICHANDRAN, Siddharth Shankar (Flat number 9, Door number 23/42 Postal Bcolony 3rd street West mambalam, Chennai 3, 600033, IN)
KANCHAN, Sarvartha (A405, DNA Oaksville Borewell Road, Nallurahalli Village, Whitefield, Bangalore 6, 560066, IN)
Application Number:
IN2018/050376
Publication Date:
December 20, 2018
Filing Date:
June 07, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FLIPKART INTERNET PRIVATE LIMITED (Vaishnavi Summit, Ground Floor 7th Main, 80 Feet Road, 3rd Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru 4, 560034, IN)
International Classes:
G06K7/00; B07C5/34; B07C5/38
Foreign References:
US8301294B12012-10-30
US20140270356A12014-09-18
US20060265241A12006-11-23
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SINGH, Manisha (Lexorbis, 606-607 6th Floor, Gamma Block, Sigma Soft Tech Park No. 7 Whitefield Main Road, Varthur Hobli, Bengaluru 6, 560066, IN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WE CLAIM:

1. A sorting assistance system for assisting in sorting items, the system comprising: a. a plurality of receptacles, wherein each receptacle is identified with a proximally placed visual indicator and a first machine readable code;

b. an assistance device configured for:

1. reading a second machine readable code affixed to an item to be sorted;

ii. determining a receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles for placing the item in, the determining based on the second machine readable code;

iii. displaying the visual indicator corresponding to the determined receptacle, on a screen of the assistance device;

iv. reading the first machine readable code identifying the receptacle after the item is placed for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle.

2. The sorting assistance system of claim 1, wherein the proximally located visual indicator comprises a colour, an alphanumeric character or a combination thereof.

3. The sorting assistance system of claim 1, wherein the assistance device is configured for notifying a cut off time for sorting the items into the plurality of receptacles. 4. The sorting assistance system of claim 1, wherein the assistance device is configured for communicating the second machine readable code with a sorting management server for determining the receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles for placing the item.

5. The sorting assistance system of claim 1, wherein the assistance device is configured to communicate the first machine readable code identifying the receptacle with a sorting management server for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle.

6. The sorting assistance system of claim 1, wherein the assistance device comprises a processor, a memory and a communication means.

7. A method for sorting items into a plurality of receptacles using the sorting assistance system of claim 1, the method comprising:

a. scanning the second machine readable code affixed on the item to be sorted using the assistance device for identifying a visual indicator corresponding to a receptacle from among the plurality of receptacles in which the item is to be placed;

b. placing the item in the receptacle; and

c. scanning the first machine readable code associated with the receptacle after the item is placed for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle.

Description:
SORTING ASSISTANCE SYSTEM AND METHOD THEREOF

FIELD OF THE INVENTION: [0001] The present disclosure relates to warehouse management systems and more particularly relates to sorting assistance system and method for assisting in sorting of items.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION:

[0002] The growth of online shopping has challenged companies to create efficient order fulfilment services that involve receiving, processing and delivering the orders to the end customers. Typically, retailers, e-tailers or any product distributors maintain an inventory of various items at one or more distribution centres, fulfilment centres, or warehouses (hereinafter collectively referred to as warehouse). The inventory of various items are ordered from one or more vendors, received at the one or more warehouses as inbound shipments, and stocked in the respective inventory for further processing and end user/customer order fulfilment.

[0003] During order fulfilment, orders for various items may be received from various customers from various geographical locations. Units of ordered items are picked from various locations in the inventory in the warehouse, the items are segregated at various levels based on region of origin, geographical locations, pin codes, etc., and shipped as outbound shipments to the final customer facing destination delivery hubs.

[0004] On the other hand, order fulfilment may happen in an alternative way. For example, once customers place orders on the e-tailer website, the ordered items are shipped to the nearest e-tailer' s warehouse in aggregated bags/units (inbound shipment) from the nearest vendor inventory or from the customer selected vendor inventory. Upon receiving at the e-tailer' s warehouse, the items in the aggregated bags are sorted to the final customer facing destination delivery hubs. Hence, the order fulfilment process involves sortation process in which the items picked for the orders are sorted into their respective orders. For example, orders for multiple units from multiple customers are divided among multiple bags that correspond to multiple geographic locations and the bags are then shipped to associated delivery hubs for delivering items to the customers. Conventionally, sorting is performed either manually or using semi-automated sorting systems.

[0005] In manual process, a mobile cart carrying multiple bins may be provided to an operator/picker to use in picking and sorting items, and then the items in the bins are packed using bags which are then shipped to associated delivery hubs. However, the manual process is most labour-intensive, error-prone and costly activity for almost every warehouse, where the cost associated with order sorting is estimated to be more than half of the total warehouse operating expense.

[0006] On the other hand, semi-automated systems utilizes one or more handheld electronic communication devices and one or more electronic indicators that provide instructions to an operator to go to locations in inventory to pick the items and to place the picked items in associated bins. For example, an exemplary conventional semi- automated system provides a handheld electronic communication device using which an operator scans an item to be sorted. During sorting, the operator picks the item to be sorted from a picking station and scans a machine readable code. Upon scanning, the system directs the operator to a location to sort or to put the item into (for example bin), using light as a visual indicator. However, such systems are complex, involves high cost in implementation and maintenance as the system comprises multiple electronic indicators and one or more microcontrollers/control systems connected by means of wires. Further, such systems require skilled administrators to manage and modularity is restricted as the system involves electronic elements such as the indicators, the microcontrollers, etc. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION:

[0007] Thus there exists a need for system which mitigates at least some of the disadvantages of the state of the art.

[0008] This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simple manner that are further described in the detailed description of the disclosure. This summary is not intended to identify key or essential inventive concepts of the subject matter nor is it intended for determining the scope of the disclosure.

[0009] A sorting assistance system for sorting of item is disclosed. In some implementations, the system comprises a plurality of receptacles, wherein each receptacle is being identified by a proximally placed visual indicator and a first machine readable code. The system further comprises an assistance device configured for, reading a second machine readable code affixed to an item to be sorted, determining a receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles for placing the item in, the determining based on the second machine readable code, displaying the visual indicator corresponding to the determined receptacle, on a screen of the assistance device, and reading the first machine readable code identifying the receptacle after the item is placed for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle.

[00010] In another embodiment of the present disclosure, a method for sorting items into a plurality of receptacles using the sorting assistance system comprises the steps of, scanning an item to be sorted using the assistance device for identifying a visual indicator corresponding to a receptacle from among the plurality of receptacles in which the item is to be placed, placing the item in the receptacle, and scanning the machine readable code associated with the receptacle after the item is placed for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle.

[00011] To further clarify advantages and features of the present disclosure, a more particular description of the disclosure will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof, which is illustrated in the appended figures. It is to be appreciated that these figures depict only typical embodiments of the disclosure and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The disclosure will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail with the accompanying figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES:

[0012] The disclosure will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail with the accompanying figures in which:

[0013] Figure 1 is a block diagram representing an operational view of a warehouse in which various embodiments of the present disclosure may be implemented;

[0014] Figure 2 illustrates an exemplary representation of a sorting assistance system for assisting in sorting of items in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0015] Figure 3 is a block diagram of an exemplary assistance device in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0016] Figure 4 A and 4B illustrates an exemplary sorting unit in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0017] Figure 5 illustrates an item sorting method using sorting assistance system in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0018] Figure 6 illustrates an exemplary sorting reference database in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0019] Figure 7 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary sorting method in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure; and

[0020] Figure 8A and 8B illustrates exemplary user interfaces displaying a notification and receptacle closing window in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. [0021] Further, persons skilled in the art to which this disclosure belongs will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and may not have necessarily been drawn to scale. Furthermore, in terms of the construction of the device, one or more components of the device may have been represented in the figures by conventional symbols, and the figures may show only those specific details that are pertinent to understanding the embodiments of the present disclosure so as not to obscure the figures with details that will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art having benefit of the description herein. DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION:

[0022] For the purpose of promoting an understanding of the principles of the disclosure, reference will now be made to the embodiment illustrated in the figures and specific language will be used to describe them. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the disclosure is thereby intended. Such alterations and further modifications to the disclosure, and such further applications of the principles of the disclosure as described herein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the disclosure relates are deemed to be a part of this disclosure.

[0023] It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory of the disclosure and are not intended to be restrictive thereof.

[0024] The terms "comprises", "comprising", or any other variations thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process or method that comprises a list of steps does not include only those steps but may include other steps not expressly listed or inherent to such a process or a method. Similarly, one or more devices or sub- systems or elements or structures or components preceded by "comprises... a" does not, without more constraints, preclude the existence of other devices, other sub-systems, other elements, other structures, other components, additional devices, additional subsystems, additional elements, additional structures, or additional components. Appearances of the phrase "in an embodiment", "in another embodiment" and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same embodiment.

[0025] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this disclosure belongs. The system, methods, and examples provided herein are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

[0026] Embodiments of the present disclosure will be described below in detail with reference to the accompanying figures.

[0027] The present disclosure relates to a sorting assistance system for assisting in sorting of items. In some implementations, the system comprises a plurality of receptacles, wherein each receptacle is being identified by a proximally placed visual indicator and a first machine readable code. The system further comprises an assistance device configured for, reading a second machine readable code affixed to an item to be sorted, determining a receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles for placing the item in, the determining based on the second machine readable code, displaying the visual indicator corresponding to the determined receptacle, on a screen of the assistance device, and reading the first machine readable code identifying the receptacle after the item is placed for acknowledging the sorting of the item into the receptacle. [0028] During sorting, an operator scans the second machine readable code affixed to an item to be sorted using the assistance device. Upon scanning, the assistance device reads the second machine readable code and accordingly determines a receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles in which the item is to be placed or sorted. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the determination of the receptacle out of the plurality of receptacle is done through mapping a data associated with the second machine readable with a sorting reference database. Then the assistance device displays the visual indicator corresponding to the determined receptacle on a screen of the assistance device, thereby enabling the operator to place the item in the determined receptacle. Once the item is placed in the receptacle, the operator acknowledges the sorting by scanning the first machine readable code associated with the receptacle in which the item is placed.

[0029] The term "receptacle" as described herein refers to a container or a bag in which the items are to be sorted before further processing. Preferably, the "receptacle" is a bag in which the items sorted and shipped to the final customer facing destination delivery hubs. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the plurality of receptacles are vertically and horizontally arranged in a sorting unit for ease of user by the operator and the manner in which the receptacles are arranged is described in detail further in the present disclosure.

[0030] Figure 1 is a block diagram representing an operational view of a warehouse in which various embodiments of the present disclosure may be implemented. As shown, Figure 1 illustrates a warehouse of a product distributor or an e-commerce enterprise/e- tailer. Multiple customers 105 may submit orders to the e-tailer or to vendors 115 via an e-tailer website 110, wherein the each order specifies one or more items to be shipped to the customer. Upon receiving such orders, the ordered items are shipped to the nearest e- tailer's warehouse 120 in aggregated bags/units (inbound shipment) from the nearest vendor inventory or from the customer selected vendor inventory. Further, upon receiving the items at the e-tailer's warehouse 120, the items in are sorted to the final customer facing destination delivery hubs. Generally, in the e-tailer warehouse 120, the sortation may happen at one or more levels such as primary sortation 125, secondary sortation 130, etc. For example, considering a city level warehouse, during primary sortation, the items may be sorted based on regions and sorted items may be further sorted based on areas or postal codes (secondary sortation). Thus sorted items are moved to packaging 135 in which the items are packed and shipped to delivery hubs 145 through feasible transportation means 140.

[0031] In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the sorting assistance system may be implemented in a warehouse for primary sorting, secondary sorting, etc. However, for ease of understanding, the present embodiment describes implementation of sorting assistance system for one level of sorting, for example, sorting items based on postal codes.

[0032] Figure 2 illustrates an exemplary representation of a sorting assistance system for assisting in sorting of items in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, the system 200 comprises a plurality of receptacles 205-1 to 205- N arranged on a sorting unit 225, an assistance device 210, a management server /sorting management server 215 and a communication network 220, wherein the assistance device 210 and the management server 215 are communicatively connected through the communication network 220.

[0033] The assistance device 210 may be one of a smartphone, a personal data assistant (PDA) and the like, capable of reading machine readable codes such as barcodes, QR codes, etc., connecting to the internet and having other communication capabilities. The assistance device 210 may communicate with the management server 215 through the communication network 220 in one or more ways such as wired, wireless connections or a combination thereof. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the assistance device 210 includes one or more processors for processing data, one or more memory units for instructions and data storage and other known functional units enabling communication between the assistance device 210 and the management server 215 for data exchange.

[0034] In a preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, the assistance device 210 is a dedicated electronic device configured for reading the machine readable codes, extracting data associated with the machine readable code, communicating the data associated with the machine readable code to the management server 215, and receiving and decoding result data from the management server 215.

[0035] Figure 3 is a block diagram of an exemplary assistance device in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, the assistance device 215 comprises a controller 305, a scanner module 310, an input/output module 315, a network interface module 320, a display module 325 and a memory module 330. In some implementations, the scanner module 310 may include a light source, a lens and a light sensor which scans the machine readable code and translates optical impulses into electrical signals. However, the scanner module 315 may include one of a laser scanner, a camera based readers, two dimensional scanner, etc. The image data captured by the sensor module 310 is provided to the controller 305 which in turn decodes the data.

[0036] The I/O module 315 may include a keyboard, touch screen, a microphone, a speaker, etc. The I/O module 315 enables communication between the operator and the assistance device 210. Further, the I/O module 315 may include a display module 325 that is available to display output from the assistance device 215.

[0037] The network interface module 310 is configured to allow data exchange between the assistance device 210 and the management server 215. The network interface module 310 may support one or more wireless networking protocols such as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), cellular network protocols, etc.

[0038] The memory module 330 may be configured to store instructions and data accessible by the controller 305. In various embodiments, system memory module 330 may be implemented using any suitable memory technology, such as static random access memory (SRAM), synchronous dynamic RAM (SDRAM), non-volatile memory, or any other type of memory.

[0039] In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the assistance device 210 is assigned a unique ID which uniquely identifies the assistance device 210 among a plurality of assistance devices within the warehouse.

[0040] Referring back to Figure 1, the communication network 220 may be a wireless network or a wired network or a combination thereof. Wireless network may include long range wireless radio, wireless personal area network (WPAN), wireless local area network (WLAN), mobile data communications such as 3G, 4G or any other similar technologies. The communication network 220 may be implemented as one of the different types of networks, such as intranet, local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), the internet, and the like. The communication network 220 may either be a dedicated network or a shared network. The shared network represents an association of the different types of networks that use a variety of protocols, for example, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), and the like. Further the communication network 220 may include a variety of network devices, including routers, bridges, servers, modems, computing devices, storage devices, and the like. In one implementation, the communication network 220 is the internet which enables communication between the assistance device 210 and the management sever 215. [0041] The management server 215 (sorting management server) may include, for example, a computer server or a network of computers or a virtual server which provides functionalities or services for other programs or devices such as for the assistance device 210. In one implementation, the management server 215 is a cloud server comprising one or more processors, associated processing modules, interfaces and storage devices communicatively interconnected to one another through one or more communication means for communicating information. The storage devices within the management server 215 may include volatile and non-volatile memory devices for storing information and instructions to be executed by the one or more processors and for storing temporary variables or other intermediate information during processing.

[0042] Figure 4A and 4B illustrates an exemplary sorting unit in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, the sorting unit 225 comprises multiple item sorting slots and the each sorting slot comprises means for arranging a receptacle either in horizontal or vertical manner. That is, the sorting unit 225 comprises the plurality of sorting slots configured to receive plurality of receptacles 205-1 to 205-8. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the upper set of sorting slots are configured to arrange the plurality of receptacles horizontally (205-1 to 205-4) and the lower set of sorting slots are configured to arrange the plurality of receptacles vertically (205-5 to 205- 8) as illustrated in Figure 4B, for ease of sorting by the operator. In a preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, the plurality of receptacles (205-5 to 205-8) have uniform dimension, however, in other embodiments, receptacles of different dimensions may be utilized. Further, the number of sorting slots and dimension of the each sorting slot may be scaled based on the requirement. It has to be noted that in a given warehouse there may be multiple sorting units and also picking stations (from which the sorting items need to be picked). Hence, in one embodiment of the present disclosure, each sorting unit has assigned a unique ID that uniquely identifies the sorting unit among plurality of sorting units within the warehouse. Such unique IDs are affixed on each of the sorting units within the warehouse.

[0043] In one embodiment of the present disclosure, each receptacle among the plurality of receptacles (205-1 to 205-8) is identified with a proximally placed visual indicator and a first machine readable code. For example, the receptacle 205-1 is identified with a unique visual indicator 405 and unique first machine readable code 410. Similarly, all the receptacles in the sorting unit 225 are identified with a unique visual indicator and a unique first machine readable code. In a preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, each visual indicator is differentiated by different colours (illustrated by different patterns in Figure 4), however, in other embodiments, the each visual indicator may be differentiated by numbers (as shown), alphabets, alphanumeric characters, etc. In an alternative embodiment, each receptacle may be painted with different colours or each sorting slot may be painted with different colours.

[0044] On the other hand, the first machine readable code 410 may be a barcode, a QR code, etc. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the first machine readable code comprises a unique string of characters for each receptacle 205-1 to 205-8. That is, the system identifies the receptacle based on the visual indicator and the first machine readable code. The manner in which the items are sorted using the sorting assistance system 200 is described in detail further below.

[0045] Figure 5 illustrates an item sorting method using sorting assistance system in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. In one embodiment of the present disclosure, each item (for example item 505) comprises a second machine readable code 510 affixed to it, as shown, and encodes a destination address, for example postal code. During sorting, an operator picks the item 505 (to be sorted) from a picking station and scans the second machine readable code 510 using a scan button/option 515 provided on the assistance device 210. Upon scanning, the assistance device 210 reads the second machine readable code 510 and determines a receptacle out of the plurality of receptacles (205-1 to 205-8) for placing the item in.

[0046] In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the assistance device 210 determines the receptacle in which the item 505 is to be placed based on a sorting database associated with the management server 215. That is, upon scanning, the assistance device 210 decodes the second machine readable code 510 and communicates the data associated with the second machine readable code 510 to the management server 215. For example, the data associated with the second machine readable code 510 may be a postal code "56XX85". On receiving the data associated with the second machine readable code 510, i.e., the postal code "56XX85", the management server 215 determines the receptacle in which the item 505 is to be placed based on the sorting reference database.

[0047] Figure 6 illustrates an exemplary sorting reference database in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, the sorting reference database comprises the postal codes correlated/linked with visual indicators. In one embodiment, the sorting reference database is created before sorting and may be modified based on the requirement. Further, the plurality of receptacles 205-1 to 205-8 is arranged in plurality of sorting slots based on the sorting references database. Referring to Figure 5 and 6, the receptacle 205-1 to be shipped to "56XX85" is placed in the sorting slot containing the visual indicator "001". Similarly, the receptacle 205-2 to be shipped to "56XX86" is placed in the sorting slot containing the visual indicator "002" and so on.

[0048] As described, multiple sorting units may be deployed within a given warehouse. Hence, in some implementations, multiple sorting units may refer to a single sorting reference database or each sorting unit may refer to a dedicated database.

[0049] Now referring back to Figure 5, on receiving the data associated with the second machine readable code 510, i.e., the postal code "56XX85", the management server 215 checks the sorting reference database and identifies the visual indicator associated with the postal code "56XX85". In other words, the management server 215 determines in which receptacle the item needs to be placed based on the data associated with the second machine readable code, (for example, postal code "56XX85") and accordingly communicates the visual indicator (for example visual indicator "001") to the assistance device 210. The visual indicator may be communicated in one or more ways such as by sending RGB values, reference number associated with the visual indicator, etc.

[0050] On receiving the visual indicator, the assistance device 210 displays the visual indicator on the display module, thereby notifying the operator to place the item in the correct receptacle. As shown in Figure 5, when the operator scans the second machine readable code 510 affixed on the item 505, the assistance device 210 displays the visual indicator "001" (or colour) which indicates to the operator that the sorting slot or the receptacle 205-1 is where the item 505 is to be placed. Then the operator matches the visual indicator "001" and places the item 505 in the receptacle 205-1.

[0051] When the operator identifies and places/sorts the item in the associated receptacle, the operator has to confirm or acknowledge the sorting of the item into the respective receptacle to go forward with the next item. That is, if the operator scans the next item to be sorted without acknowledging the sorting of the previous item, the system will not display the visual indicator.

[0052] In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the operator may acknowledge the sorting by scanning the first machine readable code associated with the receptacle in which the item is placed. The first machine readable codes comprise a unique string of characters for each receptacle 205-1 to 205-8 and the unique string may represent the postal code, for example.

[0053] In the present example, the operator has to scan the first machine readable code 410 after placing the item 505 in the receptacle 205-1. In some implementation, the operator may scan the first machine readable code 410 using a "confirm" button 520. Upon scanning the first machine readable code 410, the assistance device 210 acknowledges the sorting of the item 505 to the management server 215 and the management server 215 accordingly updates the sorting reference database.

[0054] In some implementations, the first machine readable code 410 may be replaced with a NFC tag comprising a unique string of characters for each receptacle. In such implementations, the assistance device 210 is provided with a NFC reader and the operator may acknowledge the sorting by bringing the assistance device 210 in close proximity to the NFC tag.

[0055] In one embodiment of the present disclosure, the system is configured to provide transportation notifications to the operators to take necessary actions based on transportation cut-offs. For example, if the receptacle 205-1 is scheduled for shipment at 4PM, then the management server 215 sends a notification to the assistance device 210 and hence to the operator to close the receptacle 205-1. Further, the assistance device 210 stops accepting further items corresponding to that particular receptacle. That is, even though the operator scans the first machine readable code that corresponds to the receptacle 205-1, the assistance device 210 will not display the visual indicator and indicates the operator to close the receptacle 205-1. Once the operator closes the receptacle corresponding to the cut-off, the assistance device 210 allows the operator to continue with the sortation operation. Hence the system ensures that none of the shipments miss the transportation cut-offs (thereby avoiding breaches).

[0056] The system disclosed in the present disclosure supports multiple operators and hence multiple operators may involve in sorting at the same time. Hence, in one embodiment of the present disclosure, each operator or the assistance device is provided a unique username and a password (password may be optional). The manner in which the operator sorts the items using the sorting assistance system 200 is described in detail further below.

[0057] Figure 7 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary sorting method in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. At step 705, the operator logs into the sorting assistance system. That is, the operator inputs necessary login credentials (username, password, etc.) into the assistance device 210, which in turn verifies the same with the management server 215 and provides further access to the operator. In some implementations, if assistance device is a smartphone, then the operator may launch a dedicated application to get access to the sorting assistance system 200.

[0058] At step 710, the operator selects a picking and sorting unit. Upon successful login, the assistance device 210 provides an interface for selecting a picking and sorting unit among plurality of picking and sorting units deployed within the warehouse. As described, each sorting unit (also may be picking unit) is provided with a unique ID, and the operator selects the unique ID associated with the assorting unit in which the operator has to sort in the items. Then the assistance device 210 communicates the picking and sorting unit IDs to the management server 215.

[0059] At step 715, the operator starts the sorting operation. That is, the operator picks an item from the picking station and scans the second machine readable code affixed to the item. Upon scanning, the assistance device 210 reads the data associated with the second machine readable code, determines the receptacle in which the item needs to be sorted/placed.

[0060] At step 720, the assistance device 210 displays the visual indicator associated with the receptacle on the display module of the assistance device 210. Hence, the visual indicator is a visual aid which helps the operator to sort the items into the right receptacles.

[0061] At step 725, the operator defies the receptacle in which the item needs to sorted based on the visual indicator displayed on the assistance device 210, drops the shipment in the receptacle and acknowledges the sorting by scanning a first machine readable code associated with the receptacle. Upon acknowledging, the operator repeats the steps 710 to 725 for sorting plurality of items.

[0062] At step 720, if the visual indicator is not displayed on the assistance device 210 due to some errors, the operator is notified to rectify such error and proceed with sorting as shown in step 732. The assistance device 210 may notify an error message and block the operator in cases such as, if the previous sortation is not acknowledged, if the assistance device 210 fails to read the data associated with the second machine readable code (may be due to improper scanning by the operator), or if the receptacle needs to be closed. During such an event (error), the assistance device 210 notifies the same to the operator.

[0063] Once the operator completes the sorting process or if the operator needs to close a particular receptacle due to transportation cut-off, then the operator may seal one or more receptacles and end that particular sortation process by notifying the management server 215 using the assistance device 210.

[0064] Figure 8A and 8B illustrates exemplary user interfaces displaying a notification and receptacle closing window in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, in Figure 8A, during a transportation cut-off, the management server 215 sends a notification to the assistance device 210. In some implementations, the notification 805 is displayed on the assistance device 210 as shown. Upon the notification 805, the operator may click on "close" button 810 to close that particular receptacle, for example receptacle associated with the visual indicator "001". Then the assistance device 210 navigates the operator to a second interface shown in Figure 8B. As shown, the operator may select the particular receptacle by selecting the associated visual indicator, and close the same by selecting a radio button 815 and clicking on close button 810. Similarly, the operator may select and close one or more receptacles once the operator completes the sortation process.

[0065] Further, the system may be configured to maintain a record of sorting categorizing based on operators, time period, etc. and options are provided for re-sorting if the operator misplaces the item, operator may check the number of sorted items, transportation cut-offs, etc.

[0066] Even though the embodiments are described referring to the warehouse and e-tailer perspective, the system may be implemented in airports facilities for sorting goods, courier facilities for sorting couriers, distributor warehouses, and the like.

[0067] Hence, the sorting assistance system disclosed in the present disclosure eliminates errors during sorting, which are bound to happen during manual sorting. Further, the system is free of wires, electronic elements such as LEDs, microcontrollers and other infrastructure as opposed to the conventional technologies or systems that exist in the market for the same application. Hence, the system is less expensive compared with the conventional systems and easy to maintain. Furthermore, solution also brings in the modularity for the ever changing demand patterns which are a common affair for e-tailers.

[0068] While specific language has been used to describe the disclosure, any limitations arising on account of the same are not intended. As would be apparent to a person skilled in the art, various working modifications may be made to the method in order to implement the inventive concept as taught herein.

[0069] The figures and the foregoing description give examples of embodiments.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that one or more of the described elements may well be combined into a single functional element. Alternatively, certain elements may be split into multiple functional elements. Elements from one embodiment may be added to another embodiment. For example, orders of processes described herein may be changed and are not limited to the manner described herein. Moreover, the actions of any flow diagram need not be implemented in the order shown; nor do all of the acts necessarily need to be performed. Also, those acts that are not dependent on other acts may be performed in parallel with the other acts. The scope of embodiments is by no means limited by these specific examples. Numerous variations, whether explicitly given in the specification or not, such as differences in structure, dimension, and use of material, are possible. The scope of embodiments is at least as broad as given by the following claims.