Batch Picking is the order picking method where orders are grouped into small batches, an order picker will pick all orders within the batch in one pass. Batch picking is usually associated with pickers with multi-tiered picking carts moving up and down aisles picking batches of usually 4 to 12 orders. However, batch picking is also very common when working with automated material handling equipment like carousels.

Wave Picking is a variation on zone picking where rather than orders moving from one zone to the next for picking, all zones are picked at the same time and the items are later confirmed and amalgamated into separate orders and shipments. Wave picking is the fastest method for picking multi-item orders. However, the confirmation and amalgamation process can be tricky. Picking waves are often intended to isolate shipments to particular carriers, routes, etc. A more basic example of wave picking would simply be as the method where a group of orders is released to the warehouse for picking and the next group (wave) is not released until the first wave has been processed through the pick area.

Lastly, Zone Picking is the order picking method where the a warehouse is divided into several pick zones and order pickers are assigned to a specific zone and only pick the items in that zone, while orders are moved from one zone to the next (usually on conveyor systems) as they are picked. This method is also referred to as “pick-and-pass”.

Utilize the following principles no matter which picking style you choose to use:

– Always replenish to 100% levels

– Eliminate “pick and pass” style picking

– Employ ABC item analysis

– Handle items once only

– Reduce amounts of walking

– Support the system at all levels of the company

– Upgrade your training and quality for all employees

– Verify on-the-fly

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