What Is Picking in Logistics?


In the logistics sector, the term ‘picking’ refers to the organisation that takes place in the distribution centres. Here, different products are stored, their location is pinpointed and the units we require are extracted for their subsequent shipping.

Order picking is extremely important, since the agility of the entire process largely depends on it being done correctly. Moreover, it is one of the activities that receives the most time and investment, of the entire logistics chain, which encompasses everything from the collection of the product to the distribution of it. 

The efficiency of this process has a direct impact on the operational costs and, as a result, on the profitability of any business. In order to optimise picking, the appropriate allocation of resources is important. Here, the use of technology is key, capable of facilitating and automating the different stages of preparation of the product, as well as its correct distribution and grouping, so it is easy to locate and access within the warehouse. 

How is order picking processed?

Order picking forms usually have a fairly standard format, although each logistics company can adapt them to their own needs, to guarantee a better performance. Broadly speaking, an order picking form should contain information about the company responsible, the description of the product to be prepared with its relevant codes, its exact location in the logistics centre, the units that are stored, the number of products that have to be prepared, as well as a section that authorises consent for delivery.

1. Planning

This is the first stage, before the order is prepared. During this stage, the IT systems take care of prioritising the order slips and establishing the division of tasks of the human team that are involved in the process.

2. Location

This is possibly the longest stage in the entire process. It is when the exact location of the goods is pinpointed within the warehouse to be prepared before the delivery.

3. Collection of the goods

In this stage, the goods are collected from the location that has already been pinpointed. Despite this being a seemingly simple stage, it is extremely important that, apart from its location, the resources for its correct extraction are in place. For example, if we have to collect products that are located high up, we are likely to require the use of machinery to make it easier to collect.

4.  Preparation and dispatching of the order

The final stage of picking, in which the items and number of units collected must be checked; the order weighed, packaged and labelled and transferred to the area where it will be dispatched to organise the delivery route. Finally, the delivery notes are printed that will be handed to the transport company.

Order picking is an essential process in the distribution chain, the operation of which must be perfectly coordinated to ensure it is streamlined and that the products can be prepared as quickly as possible for delivery.

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