Picking is the warehouse process that picks products from storage in a warehouse to fulfill customer orders. It is the costliest process in the warehouse, comprising as much as 55% of the total work force.
Following are three types of picking process
- Discrete picking – one order at a time
- Clustered picking – multiple orders at a time
- Batch picking – picking all the goods at once to sort to specific customer orders.
Companies may use all three types of picking. With increasing online orders, companies are increasingly installing picking apparatus such as put walls, put-to-light systems, goods-to-person systems and cross-belt sortation systems, to cope with the larger volume of small orders. We will look at these advanced picking methods in another vertical called ‘Automation’.
For now, let us focus on basic picking process, which includes following steps.
- The process commences when operators accept the pick task from Warehouse Management System (WMS)
- System will suggest pick location. Picker to travel to pick location
- Picker to scan location bar code and relevant bar code of goods to be picked
- Once all pick tasks are completed, picker to move goods to packing station
Picking basis handling units
- Unit picking – unit picking is normally done from shelving storage structure.
- Case picking – case picking is done from shelving storage structure, ground location of pallet racking or reserve location of pallet racking
- Pallet picking – pallet picking is done from reserve location of pallet racking or from block stacking.