Order Picking in the Supply Chain: Your Essential Guide

In the vast world of supply chain management, one wrong move can spell disaster for your business. Have you ever delivered the wrong item to a customer? The repercussions are immense, affecting not only customer satisfaction but also your bottom line.

At Ningqu, with a decade of experience working with thousands of suppliers and warehouses, we understand the intricacies of order fulfillment. We’re here to share our expertise, starting with the cornerstone of the process – order picking methods.

Understanding Order Picking

What is Order Picking?

Order picking is more than just selecting items from a warehouse; it’s the heartbeat of fulfilling customer orders. This crucial step represents 50% to 55% of total warehouse operational costs. Getting it right ensures a seamless flow for packing, shipping, and sales.

Exploring Picking Methods

Types of Warehouse Order Picking Methods

  1. Single Order Picking (Discrete Picking)
    • Pros: Simple and easy tracking
    • Cons: Requires a lot of movement and is time-consuming
  2. Batch Order Picking (Multi-Order Picking)
  3. Zone Picking
    • Pros: Reduces travel time
    • Cons: May lead to uneven labor distribution
  4. Pick and Pass
    • Pros: Completes large orders quickly
    • Cons: Waiting time for the previous zone
  5. Wave Picking
    • Pros: Speedy process
    • Cons: Requires an optimized schedule

The Art of Combining

Combined Picking Methods

  • Zone-Batch Picking
  • Zone-Wave Picking
  • Zone-Batch-Wave Picking

These combinations provide solutions tailored to your warehouse’s unique needs.

The Significance of a Good System

The Importance of Warehouse Picking System

A well-matched picking system is a game-changer. It can:

  • Reduce costs
  • Maximize space and keep workers happy
  • Minimize errors and enhance customer satisfaction

Tips for Choosing the Right System

Tips for Choosing the Warehouse Order Picking Process

  1. Consider your warehouse’s size and inventory.
  2. Analyze sales data for order and item volume.
  3. Explore combinations of systems for efficiency.
  4. Harness the power of automation.
  5. Evaluate your workforce size for optimal decision-making.


  1. Which is the Best Warehouse Order Picking Method?
    • The best method aligns with your warehouse’s specific needs.
  2. Is Order Picking Easy?
    • In theory, it sounds simple, but in practice, it’s a complex operation.
  3. What Does an Order Picker Do?
    • Order pickers locate, replace, and arrange items, sometimes operating forklifts.

What’s Next

Order picking is the linchpin of warehouse management and order fulfillment. Speed and accuracy are paramount for a seamless operation. Consider the tips provided to choose the strategy that best fits your business. Will you opt for single picking or explore a combination of methods?

If you’re struggling to choose the best warehouse order picking method, don’t hesitate to reach out to Ningqu. We’ve got your back!

Product Enquiry