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Techniques to improve the Warehouse Order Picking Process

Order picking has long been identified as the most labour-intensive and costly activity for almost every warehouse. The cost of order picking is estimated to be more than half of the total warehouse operating expense.

Any under performance in order picking can lead to unsatisfactory service and high operational cost for its warehouse, and consequently for the whole supply chain. In order to operate efficiently, the order picking process needs to be robustly designed and optimally controlled.

Annual operating cost of running a warehouse
The diagram above shows the estimated cost of each function as a percentage of the annual operating cost of running a warehouse.

The Order Picking Process

Order picking is the process of pulling items from inventory in the warehouse to fill a customer order. In most cases, the process is quite straightforward. The warehouse operators and supervisors should need minimal training.

In situations where order picking is entirely automated through the use of warehouse robots, employees may not set foot on the warehouse floor, unless there is a problem.


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Prakaash Gunasengaran, DLM
Prakaash has substantive years of experience in warehouse and logistics management, specifically in material handling. He is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). He is currently completing the course on Diploma in Logistics Management (DLM) at SIPMM Institute.
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