Order picking is the process by which some goods are taken out from a warehouse and given to independent customers. It is a very important part of supply chain process now. It is labor intensive and costly. The cost of order picking is about 55% of the total operating cost of the warehouse. Effort has been made to improve the process of order picking. Order picking system can be of four types: picker to Part, Part to Picker, Sorting System and Pick to Box.
Picker To Part
This comprises of a storage area, picking area and system for handling material. The handling system is used to reload the picking locations. The storage area contains everything required to meet customer orders.
Part to Picker
It also consists of picking area, storage area and material handling system. The material handling system moves items from the storage to the picking area. The picking area comprises of several picking bays. Items move from the storage to the picking bay. Picking operator then collects the order from the picking bay.
This system consists of automatic material handling system. A number of conveyors and sorting devices are also included. First, the items are placed on the conveyor belt and are sorted in each order. The picking operator collects sorted data from the picking area and fulfills the order of the customers.
Pick to Box
The conveyor system has several picking zones. The box is filled up by the picking operator and it moves to picking zones till the customer order is fulfilled.
The type of picking order method you choose depends on a number of factors including number of orders, size and number of items, complexities in fulfilling orders, etc. Different companies use different types of method for order picking.
Here’s a really cool infographic showing you how the big online retailers have their warehouse systems organized: