How to Master the Art of Warehouse Picking

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Warehouse picking is the backbone of many industries, from e-commerce to manufacturing. However, the process is complex and requires careful planning, organization, and execution.

Warehouse pickers face many challenges, including managing large inventories, locating items quickly, and working under strict time constraints.

However, you can easily overcome such challenges with the proper knowledge and tools. And that’s where this guide could be handy.

From picking strategies to optimizing pick routes, we’ve covered everything that will make your job seamless and efficient. So, if you’re ready to take your warehouse picking to the next level, keep reading.

What is Warehouse Order Picking?

Warehouse order picking refers to the selecting and gathering items from a warehouse inventory to fulfill customer orders. The order picking process involves locating items within the warehouse, identity, and quantity verification, and preparing the goods for shipment.


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Why Do You Need a Warehouse Order Picking System?

The right warehouse picking system (WOPS) can benefit your business in several ways.

Increases Efficiency

Warehouse order picking systems (WOPS) helps optimize the pick routes and reduce the distance pickers need to cover in the warehouse. Additionally, it minimizes the need for manual labor, reduces the time and effort required to pick and pack orders, and ensures faster order fulfillment.

Reduces Operating Expenses

A WOPS reduces the time required to fulfill orders, reducing labor costs and increasing efficiency. Additionally, by optimizing inventory levels, you can reduce the need for excess inventory, improving cash flow and reducing storage costs.

Improves Order Accuracy

Warehouse order picking systems help ensure that your pickers pick the correct item for an order, reducing the risk of errors and the need for returns or exchanges. This makes customers happy and minimizes the risk of negative reviews or reputation damage.

Makes Inventory Management Efficient

A WOPS helps track inventory levels in real-time, ensuring that stock levels are always accurate and up-to-date. This leads to better inventory management, reducing the need for excess inventory and improving cash flow.

Top 6 Strategies for Warehouse Picking

Here are some top strategies that work best for a warehouse depending on various factors such as inventory size, order volume, and the types of products being picked.

Zone Picking

In this picking method, the warehouse is divided into smaller zones, and each picker is assigned a specific zone to pick items from. This strategy is useful when a warehouse has a large inventory with many items.

Zone picking can reduce the time taken to pick up an order, and the distance pickers travel.

Batch Picking

This strategy involves picking multiple orders at once. Pickers are assigned a group of orders and must pick all the items for those orders in a single trip.

Wave Picking

This strategy groups orders into waves and pickers are assigned to a specific wave. Pickers must pick all the items for the orders in their assigned wave before moving on to the next wave. This strategy can help reduce the time taken to pick up orders and improve the overall efficiency of the whole warehouse operations.


This technology-based strategy uses lights to guide pickers to the correct items. When an order is received, lights are illuminated at the location of the items to be picked. The picker then confirms the pick by pressing a button or scanning a barcode.

Pick-to-light can improve accuracy, reduce picking time, and increase productivity.

Voice Picking

This picking strategy involves using headsets and a voice-activated system to guide pickers through the warehouse. The system gives pickers instructions on what items to pick and where to find them. Voice picking can improve accuracy and productivity while reducing errors.

Automated Picking

This strategy involves using automated systems such as conveyor belts, robots, and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) to pick items. Automated picking methods can increase speed, reduce labor costs, and improve accuracy.

Best Practices for Warehouse Picking

You can use the following best practices to optimize your warehouse picking process, reduce errors, increase efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.

Plan and Prioritize

Plan your picking process in advance, and prioritize orders based on customer requirements, order size, and delivery schedules. This can help reduce picking time and increase efficiency.

Optimize Picking Routes

Optimizing picking routes can reduce travel time, minimize congestion, facilitate batch picking, prevent interference, prioritize orders, and enhance accuracy.

These benefits collectively improve warehouse picking efficiency by maximizing productivity, reducing errors, and streamlining the picking process.

But manually using pen and paper, it’s not feasible to plan accurate picking routes. You need to take the help of an advanced route management solution like Route4Me.

Route4Me route planner optimizes and enhances the pick-and-pack routing process within warehouses and yards for robotic and human operators.

You just need to describe the item types and the number of items in each part of the warehouse or yard. The software then generates highly efficient routes to facilitate loading or picking tasks. That’s it!

Route4Me’s multi-stop route optimizer considers weight restrictions, time window constraints, vehicle and operator skills, and 25 other variables to ensure that robots or loading equipment are never overwhelmed with excessive loads.

Furthermore, the software offers real-time analytics that provides insights into the performance of all the utilized routes.

You can even incorporate Route4Me’s route optimization engine into almost any automatic storage and retrieval robotic picking device over a WiFi, Bluetooth, or cellular connection.

Learn in detail about Route4Me’s pick-and-pack optimization feature.


Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Optimize Pick-and-Pack routes efficiently ?

Whether you want to optimize routes, reduce fuel expenses, or make more stops in less time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!


Optimize Layout and Organization

Organize your warehouse to minimize the distance pickers must travel to pick up orders. You can make that happen by grouping items with high demand together, optimizing the placement of items, and grouping orders for batch picking.

You can also use clear signage and labeling to make it easy for pickers to locate and organize items based on their picking frequency.

Minimize Handling

Minimizing the number of times an item is handled can reduce the risk of damage and improve efficiency. You can use conveyor belts and automated storage and retrieval systems where possible.

Train and Educate Staff

Provide proper training and education to staff on picking techniques, safety measures, and equipment handling. This can help reduce errors and improve the overall efficiency of the picking process.

Monitor Performance

Track picking performance metrics such as order cycle time, order accuracy rate, and inventory turnover ratio. This can help identify improvement areas and ensure the picking order fulfillment process runs seamlessly.

Implement Quality Control

Establish quality control checks to ensure that the correct items are picked, orders are complete, and items are undamaged before shipping.

Regularly Review and Improve

Regularly review the picking process and identify areas for improvement. Implement changes and continuously improve the process to increase efficiency and reduce errors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Warehouse Picking

Is warehouse order picking hard?

Warehouse order picking can be challenging due to complex layouts, large inventories, high order volumes, time constraints, and the need for accuracy. However, you can easily mitigate the difficulties with proper training, optimized processes, advanced technology like Route4Me, and effective management strategies.

What is the average picks per hour in a warehouse?

The average picks per hour in a warehouse can vary depending on factors such as the type of products, order complexity, warehouse layout, and level of automation. However, in general, a proficient picker can achieve around 100 to 200 picks per hour, but higher numbers are possible with advanced technology and optimized processes.

Final Thoughts about Warehouse Picking

Efficient warehouse picking is the backbone of successful logistics and order fulfillment operations. It is crucial in ensuring customer satisfaction, reducing costs, and improving overall productivity.

Establish standardized procedures, prioritize continuous improvement, train employees, and monitor performance to make your order picking process efficient.

Also, you must leverage technology solutions like a warehouse management system or Route4Me to optimize pick and pack routes and reduce travel time and costs. Try our 7-Day Free Trial and make your warehouse picking process efficient today!

About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.