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Types of Warehouse Order Picking Processes

There are various picking processes you can use, depending on the fulfillment requirements of your e-commerce business. Here are the two major order-picking processes:

  • Zone Picking
  • Batch Picking

1. Zone Picking 

Zone picking involves dividing the warehouse into distinct zones or areas, with each zone assigned to a specific picker or group of pickers. For large warehouses that cater in multiple categories and have a wide range of inventory, the process of zone picking is recommended.

In a warehouse using zone picking, let’s consider an example with three zones: Zone A for electronics, Zone B for clothing, and Zone C for household items. 

For three customer orders:

  • Order 1: Requires a laptop (Zone A) and a T-shirt (Zone B).
  • Order 2: Requires a blender (Zone C) and a pair of jeans (Zone B).
  • Order 3: Requires a vacuum cleaner (Zone C) and a smartphone (Zone A).

A picklist is created, and the system routes the order items to the respective zones and assigns pickers accordingly:

  • Order 1: Laptop goes to Zone A picker, T-shirt goes to Zone B picker.
  • Order 2: Blender goes to Zone C picker, jeans go to Zone B picker.
  • Order 3: Vacuum cleaner goes to Zone C picker, the smartphone goes to Zone A picker.

The pickers collect the items within their zones and transfer them to a handoff point for consolidation, packing, and shipping. 

Features of Zone Picking: The process of zone picking allows:

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

2. Batch Picking

Batch picking, also known as multi-order picking, involves picking multiple orders with the same SKU in a single pass through the warehouse. Instead of picking one order at a time, the picker collects items for multiple orders during a single picking trip. This type of picking can also be done for the same channels, same logistics provider, priority orders, etc.

For example, In batch picking, three customer orders are received:

  • Order 1: Laptop, keyboard, and mouse.
  • Order 2: Printer, ink cartridges, and paper.
  • Order 3: Tablet, headphones, and charger.

Batches are created as follows:

  • Batch 1: Includes laptop and tablet.
  • Batch 2: Includes keyboard, mouse, printer, ink cartridges, paper, headphones, and charger.

Pickers gather items for their assigned batches, optimizing efficiency. After picking, items are sorted and allocated to the respective orders for packaging and shipment.

Importance of Batch Picking: Ideal for e-commerce businesses, the process of batch picking enables:

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

importance of batch picking

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

Let’s Make Order Picking Efficient!

When it comes to optimizing order picking, there are several factors to consider, including the size of your warehouse, product availability, item variety, demand, manpower, and facility location. By carefully analyzing these elements, you can choose from a range of efficient picking methods. 

Moreover, integrating automation into your picking processes can offer improved oversight of your warehouse operations.

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