Order Picking Technologies, Storage and Equipment

order picking

An order picking facility is reliant upon its set-up for high levels of productivity and accuracy.

Order picking, also known as order fulfillment, is the process of collecting, packaging and preparing items for shipment to the customer. Anything that moves out of the door of a warehouse or distribution center has to be picked – whether the order is for 20 pallets loaded onto a truck or 2,000 individual items (SKUs) shipped by mail.

What types of order picking technologies are encountered by ProLift’s storage & handling specialists?

Being in the material handling industry, our storage & handling specialists see a variety of order picking technologies, but in general we meet customers using:

  • Paper/Printed Pick Ticket –  Employees print a paper pick ticket sent by the company ERP to the employee’s printing station, manually picking the required item (SKU) from inventory for packaging and shipment; generally used for small volume picks
  • Barcode Scanning – Paperless system using handheld radio frequency (RF) scanners; employees scan each item (SKU) during the pick while the RF device, which is tied remotely into the company ERP or Warehouse Management System, automatically removes the item from inventory
  • Pick to Light – Includes lights above the shelving racks or bin locations, flashing a light above the item (SKU) to be picked and displaying a number to signal the item quantity; employee presses the flashing light button to confirm the item and its specified quantity was picked; order is complete when no more lights flash within the pick zone
  • Voice Pick – Employees wear a headset to listen to customer order, picking each item (SKU) and the desired quantity as directed by the headset; hands-free method

Do I have to invest in specific pallet racking and shelving matter for order picking?

The type of pallet racking and shelving needs will depend on how items are picked. For example, are you picking cases or full pallets? Or, are you picking individual items in small quantities?

Typically when large cases and pallets are picked, pallet racking is used for item storage. For piece-picking, static shelving is most common. While it doesn’t store as much product as pallet racking, the shelving is made to allow employees to grab items directly from the shelf. Carton flow racking is beneficial when there are a large number of picks per SKU. Using rollers at a slight angle to store product, an item rolls forward as one is removed.

What type of forklift is needed for order picking?

Case – or pallet-picks typically use powered equipment for picking product, such as a sit-down forklift or order picker. For a floor location pick, an electric pallet jack may be beneficial because it lets the employee move faster around the warehouse. The equipment’s forks can also be extended to place more shipping packages.

Have questions on how to increase productivity for your order picking method? Contact ProLift to schedule a storage & handling specialist for a complimentary onsite inspection.

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