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What is order picking?

Order picking or order fulfilment is the entire order process from order point to delivery. The oldest system of order picking is paper-based picking where an employee walks through the warehouse with a packing list to collect the orders. Although this system is still current and works fine for smaller warehouses, automation solutions are indispensable in medium to large warehouses.

Order picking can be broadly divided into two methods ‘goods-to-person’ and ‘person-to-goods’. Below, you can read more about the two methods of order fulfilment, the order picking systems involved and how to ensure seamless integration with your warehouse management system (WMS).

What is the difference between ‘person-to-goods’ & ‘goods-to-person’?

The difference between person-to-goods and goods-to-person is the method by which the order picker collects the goods. With person-to-goods, the order picker himself walks to the shelves to collect the order, while with goods-to-person, an intralogistics solution such as a conveyor brings the goods to a central picking location.

Are you looking for a way to make your warehouse more efficient? Then there are different order picking systems for these two methods:

Goods to person

Avoid walking and searching time by automatically bringing the goods to the order pickers.

Person to goods

Smart solutions for fast, simple and efficient order picking. Reduces errors in the picking process.


Zone picking

With zone picking the warehouse is divided into separate order picking areas or picking lanes. This reduces the distance an order picker has to walk and increases speed and efficiency in your warehouse.



  • Increased overview through automated transport
  • Reduction of walking distances for order pickers
  • More efficient picking, high picking performance
  • Ergonomic picking processes
  • Fast, reliable goods flows

Voice picking

In a voice picking system, the order picker receives an instruction with the order details by voice. The order picker then collects the total order. Voice picking is often combined with another order picking system for maximum efficiency.



  • Paperless picking – hands and eyes free
  • High efficiency
  • Fewer picking errors
  • Increased productivity
  • Minimal learning time
  • Real-time performance insight

Pick to light

Pick to light is a system where the location of an item is indicated with a light. The order picker immediately sees the item location on the shelf and confirms the pick by pressing a button or via a voice system.

Advantages of pick to light:

  • Order pickers save time by minimising item location search time
  • Reduces incorrectly picked orders
  • Always up-to-date thanks to the direct link to the warehouse management system
  • Also suitable for employees who speak a different language
  • Order pickers have their hands free

Order picker cart

An order picker cart is a cart on which the order picker picks several orders at once. This system is also known as pick to cart. The employee drives through the warehouse and collects multiple orders in special totes. Because the pick trolley communicates with the warehouse management system, it reduces the risk of picking errors.

Advantages of an order pick cart:

  • Picking multiple orders simultaneously
  • Fewer picking errors
  • Increased picking performance
  • Intuitive and user-friendly picking trolley
  • Flexible design of order picking trolleys for customised deployment

Pick by vision

With pick by vision, the order picker gets smart glasses that use ‘augmented reality’ (AR) to indicate the route. The employee gets glasses like ‘Google Glass’ and these glasses indicate the route to the location of the item.

Advantages of pick by vision:

  • Optimal guidance of the employee
  • Fastest route is indicated automatically
  • Low error sensitivity
  • Also for people who speak a different language

Pick by watch

Pick by watch is similar to pick by vision, but differs in that the employee receives the information via a smartwatch. This solution is also applicable to smartwatches that you attach to your wrist in a holder. As with pick by vision, the order picker can read the most efficient route through the display.

Advantages of pick by watch:

  • Easy to implement in any warehouse
  • Low error sensitivity
  • Also for people who speak a different language
  • Confirmation via smartwatch or smartphone

Moving faster and smarter.


Picking robot

A picking or warehouse robot transports a mobile rack to a central order picking location in a shielded warehouse. From this central order picking location, the warehouse worker collects the order. Is the order complete? Then the picking robot transports the shelving unit back to the correct location.


Advantages of a picking robot:

  • High productivity – more than 500 picks per hour
  • Substantial increase in efficiency and optimum space utilisation
  • No walking and searching times for employees
  • Minimal adjustments to warehouse or robot infrastructure
  • Scalable and flexible

Platform lift

A platform lift or warehouse lift is a compact way to store goods and is especially suitable for smaller goods. The lift system presents the bins with the right products to the warehouse worker after which the worker collects the order.



  • High picking performance
  • Enclosed and secure storage
  • Compact and high storage density
  • Minimal transport and waiting times
  • Integration with WMS possible

Mini load

With a mini load, a robot moves horizontally and vertically along all warehouse shelves to pick small orders up to about 200 kilograms. The order is then transported to a central order picking location.

Advantages of a mini load:

  • Compact storage
  • Less manpower
  • Fast and reliable
  • Ergonomic working
  • Maximum efficiency in combination with picking systems

Pallet shuttle

A pallet shuttle uses an automated storage and order picking system (AS/RS system). A shuttle robot drives over a racking frame and is used to move totes, trays or boxes in and out.

Advantages of a pallet shuttle:

  • Compact storage
  • High throughput capacities
  • Easy to expand/scalable
  • Suitable for boxes, trays and totes
  • Configurable as required

How do I choose the right orderpickingsystem?

Are you ready for a new order picking system? With all the automation options, choosing the right system has become quite complex. The questions below will help you choose the right system:

  • What is the size of your warehouse?
  • Does the system need to be connected to an existing WMS?
  • What products are stored in your warehouse?
  • What is your budget and what cost-effectiveness do you want to achieve?
  • How many pick orders does the warehouse process per day?
  • Which throughput does your warehouse have?
  • Does the system need to be scalable?
  • Are you moving to a new warehouse or will the system be implemented within your current warehouse?
  • Are your employees able to work with the system and what training is needed to train them in it?

Combining the answers to these questions will give you a clear picture of your warehouse.

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How to combine a warehouse management system with order picking systems.

Picking robot

An indispensable component in successful order fulfilment is a warehouse management system.

This system links data such as current stock, lead time and order details. In the case of a persons-to-goods system, the WMS relays information to the order picker via the order picking system. Among other things, the order picker receives information on the optimal walking route, shelf location and order size. In the case of a goods-to-person system, the WMS passes the data directly to the order picking system. Below are the main functions of a WMS:

  • Tracking current stock levels and location of incoming and outgoing goods
  • Controlling order picking systems and order pickers by giving optimal picking routes, picking tasks and overall support in the picking process.
  • Integration with other systems such as your company’s ERP and e-commerce system.
  • Reporting on warehouse efficiency and accuracy.
  • Adaptable to possible expansions and modifications of your warehouse.

Are you looking for a WMS with integration capabilities for both existing and new order picking systems? Costo Logistics Software’s Arrow system is compatible with most existing and new order picking systems.