10 types of picking

Warehouse order picking systems

Order fulfillment is essential to any retail and e-commerce business and possibly the most important activity in fulfillment centers. There are several types of picking systems that warehouses use to increase productivity, accuracy, and to get things done quickly and successfully.
  • To take into account: SKU or Stock Keeping Unit codes are the Unique Reference Numbers of a product.
Single order picking

In individual order picking, operators move through the warehouse and retrieve SKUs one by one to fulfill one order at a time. It works well for small warehouses with simple orders with few items.

batch picking

Streamline picking activities by retrieving SKUs in bulk to fulfill multiple orders at once. This minimizes travel time and speeds up operations, especially for multiple orders with the same SKUs.

Picking of several batches

Reduce setup times by simultaneously picking items for multiple orders. It is used for orders that come from different areas of the warehouse.

Picking by bunches

It is used to fulfill multiple orders at the same time. Workers travel around the warehouse retrieving SKUs from multiple pick lists and placing them in separate bins associated with different order lists.

Picking by zones

The warehouse is divided into zones and workers are assigned to each zone. Once all the items in a zone have been collected, the order box moves to another zone until the order is complete, when it is packed and goes to the central consolidation zone. This system reduces travel time through logistics centers.

wave picking

It is a variation of batch and zone picking. Orders are grouped into sets or waves based on factors such as customer location, order frequency, order type, pick zones, delivery date, etc.

Types of automated picking systems


This system requires the installation of LEDs and barcode readers throughout the warehouse. Once a shipment barcode is scanned, the LEDs begin to glow to make it easy to locate each SKU.

voice selection

With this system, workers receive verbal instructions on which items to pick and their location in real time via headsets connected to an order management system.

Mobile scanner based picking

With this system, all items in the warehouse must have unique barcodes. Workers scan each item as they are picked, and the scanner reports an error if the item is not on the pick list.

Collaborative mobile robots

Robots assist in picking activities by handling the manual task of moving products. They can be programmed to follow batch, zone and group picking methods, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize routing and picking tasks in real time.

Picking systems are processes designed to increase the efficiency, speed, and accuracy of picking activities. Businesses can use one or more of these systems to streamline order fulfillment operations at their distribution facilities.

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