The activities associated with locating, collecting, transferring and grouping products in preparation of transportation. This includes scheduling picks, issuing pick instructions and recording the completion of the pick process, and may include finding alternative products in case of a stock-out or recording the lot numbers or serial numbers picked on the order.
Typically items to pick are grouped according to a Pick Policy. Generally accepted pick policies include:
- Order picking. One order at a time.
- Batch picking. Group multiple orders on a consolidated pick list.
- Zone picking. Divide pick area in zones, pick by zone. Orders move from zone to zone.
- Wave picking. Group multiple orders in consolidated pick list. Pick then sort and consolidate.
Companies with diverse products may require different policies for different products.
Picking has a large impact on performance for industries where multiple products are combined on a single order or shipment. Not all products require picking: loading a product in a tanker truck from a silo does not require a comprehensive pick process.
Challenges with picking include: Unable to locate an item, Wrong item in right location, pick from wrong location mistakes.
Picking in a classic retail store is uniquely different from picking in warehouses. Whereas, in a warehouse the pick list is derived from the order; in a retail store the order is typically created at checkout - i.e. after picking is complete.