Enhance the Operations of the Warehouse with Order Picking: Process and Methods

by | Jan 7, 2021 | E-commerce Industry, Warehouse Management

Home > Blog > Enhance the Operations of the Warehouse with Order Picking: Process and Methods

The picking process is the next big step of warehouse operations and the first step towards providing a highly satisfying experience to the customers who have placed an order with your business.

Order picking refers to the process of taking inventory out of its designated warehouse location and starting off the delivery process. A good Warehouse Management System provides complete automation of the picking process to avoid any errors or issues. 

In the process of picking, a Picklist is provided to the warehouse staff or to automated equipment that scans a tote or bin to get the locations of the item. Once the shelf is located, the inventory is scanned, picked and then sent out for packing and delivery.

In cases when an item cannot be located at a given shelf, another SKU of the same item is scanned till the inventory is available on a given shelf.

As the process of picking is time taking, it is necessary to have a technologically advanced warehouse management system in place that can carry out multiple scans and checks to quickly locate goods in a warehouse and then help the staff collect it and move forward with other processes.

By deploying the right picking processes for your warehouse operations you can provide your business with the ease to enhance the overall customer experience.

The right picking process:

  • Provides higher efficiency and accuracy
  • Allows better order fulfilment and processing
  • Increases overall revenue of business
  • Enables faster and smoother deliveries 
  • Reduce manpower and stock management costs
  • Saves time and efforts

To begin the process of picking, you need to first initiate serialization of products which helps you track each item in your warehouse for better and quicker picking process by giving them a unique code. Serialization is done using barcode systems that generate a combination of unique characters in 2D or 3D format that are then put as labels on each item and scanned for details at the time of picking processes. 

Read our blog on Implementing the right Barcode Inventory Management System for your eCommerce business to enhance operational efficiency and achieve higher productivity.

There are various picking processes you can use, depending on the fulfilment requirements of your eCommerce business.

1. Zone Picking 

For large warehouses that cater to multiple zones, the process of zone picking is recommended as it compiles large volumes of inventory for each particular zone with unique SKUs respective to them. 

By doing so, the warehouse staff or automated tools assigned to each zone can easily pick up products and initiate order processing. The process of zone picking allows you to:

  • Improve efficiency of collecting goods
  • Speeds up collection of multiple items
  • Decreases move around time within the warehouse
  • Allows multiple pickups in one go

A picking bin, tote or box may move around various zones until it has collected all the required SKUs from that particular zone.

2.Batch Picking

This method of picking is used to fulfil multiple orders of the same item but in various quantities. Batch picking allows warehouse staff or automated equipment to move around for longer distances, collecting Items having the same SKU but different demands. Batch picking can also be done for the same channels, same logistics provider, priority orders etc.

Ideal for eCommerce businesses, the process of batch picking enables you to:

  • Increase order fulfilment rates
  • Decrease travel time for picking
  • Save on warehouse space 
  • Organize inventory in a better way

Batch picking is recommended if you wish to make the most out of your small or big warehouse and to equip your staff to fulfil multiple customer orders at the same time.

3. Discrete Picking

The process of discrete picking involves collecting orders one at a time, providing complete staff assistance to a single item till the time the order processing is complete. Discrete picking is advised for small warehouses that get a lesser number of orders. With discrete picking, you get to:

  • Allows higher response time for order fulfilment
  • Reduces the possibility of wrongful deliveries
  • Enables easier tracking of orders 
  • Eliminates the need for multiple touchpoints

Discrete picking is a simple and easy process that allows your warehouse staff with the ease to perform with complete accuracy, increasing your chances of providing better customer service.

4. Wave Picking

Wave picking is quite similar to discrete picking, except for the fact that it allows scheduling. Each order to be picked up can be allotted a specific time slot to further simplify the entire process.

Wave picking works best for warehouses with heavy demands and different kinds of inventory, as it helps the picker to:

  • Create separate order and group them based on priority
  • Align the picking process with that of shipping and delivery time
  • Manage warehouse operations more efficiently
  • Reduce workload on staff and keep the picking process uninterrupted

With wave picking, you get to manage your manpower and achieve higher order fulfilment ultimately increasing your overall productivity.

5. Cluster Picking

To fulfil multiple orders at the same time, the process of cluster picking is done. The method requires the warehouse staff to collect various items at the same time while separating them into unique boxes or bins to avoid mix-ups.

With Cluster Picking, you get to:

  • Reduce time to collect orders
  • Prioritise stocks over another 
  • Easy sorting of products 
  • Select the fastest route to pick multiple items

Cluster picking enables the picker to do two things at a time which improves your time to pick, pack and deliver.

Based on the size of your warehouse, availability of products, variety of items, demand, manpower and location of your facility, you can use any of these picking methods and by automating your picking processes you will be able to achieve higher supervision of your warehouse operations with greater ease to focus on strengthening your customer relations, strategizing to enhance your services and improving your productivity.

Unicommerce is a platform that empowers your business to accomplish all of the above and more! 

The fully automated and technologically advanced Warehouse Management System of Unicommerce helps you manage all your picking needs, select the best method that works for your facility and then simplify your warehouse operations.

Experience the true potential of your business with us today, click here to know more about our services or request a demo today!

Read our other relevant blogs for warehouse management to better understand the must-haves of warehouse operations in order to increase your business capabilities and achieve greater growth.

  1. Prerequisites of Warehouse Management: Vendor Onboarding and Procurement.
  2. Simplifying Receiving and Putaway Operations of Warehouse: Prerequisites of Warehouse Management
  3. Boost the Efficiency of Warehouse Operations with Packing and Dispatch
  4. Warehouse Returns and Cancellations Management [Reasons, Problems and Solutions]