In the logistics sector, especially in warehousing and distribution, the term“picking” stands out as a key concept, increasingly essential for optimizing efficiency and performance in the supply chain.

This process, fundamental to order picking, has become one of the most important keys to warehousing, distribution and merchandise management operations, playing a crucial role in customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Picking is not just another task in the warehouse; it is a meticulously designed strategy to ensure that the right products are accurately and efficiently picked and prepared for shipment.

In an environment where speed and accuracy are vital, understanding and perfecting picking is indispensable.

Interested in finding out more about picking and its impact on modern logistics? Read on to explore in depth what picking is, its importance, and how it is transforming to meet the challenges of an increasingly demanding global marketplace.


What is picking in logistics

Picking in logistics refers to the process of preparing orders to meet a customer’s needs. It covers from the reception of the order, to the selection and collection of elements to generate the order.

Order picking is considered one of the most expensive and labor-intensive activities for warehouses. According to recent studies, warehouse picking accounts for up to 55% of a distribution center’s operating costs. It directly affects customer satisfaction, business reputation and profitability.


Importance of picking in the company

Picking processes are becoming necessary and important tasks within the context of a warehouse.

Increasingly new operational concepts such as just-in-time, cycle time reduction, rapid response and new marketing strategies make better optimization and efficiency in order picking a priority.

Thanks to picking, a high-level picking strategy is established, optimizing resources and time in each process.

It is especially relevant for the improvement of quality and customer service.


Picking types

Picking in logistics offers different strategies and ways of working this type of procedures. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Manual Picking. Order preparation tasks are performed manually.
  • Automated Picking. Machinery and software help to elaborate this type of tasks.
  • Mixed Picking. The two previous strategies are combined.

Then it is also possible to find classification of the picking typology in this way:

  • Low-level picking. Loading units located at a comfortable height.
  • Picking at medium level. Loading units at heights of no more than 3.5 or 4 m.
  • High-level picking. Loading units at all heights.
  • Picking on pallets. Picking directly on pallet racks.
  • Pick-to-light. Process managed by a warehouse management system, WMS


Picking steps

Picking processes are based on three distinct phases:

Order Preparation Phase

It encompasses all those tasks related to data collection and order allocation. It also includes the preparation of the corresponding machinery and resources to carry out the work.

Movement phase within the warehouse

This is one of the most time-consuming phases. This phase includes everything that has to do with the movements of the warehouse operators in search of the merchandise, and return to the operations area to continue with the packaging of the order.

Product Extraction Phase

In this phase, the resources necessary for the extraction of the product will be used. Machinery will be used if the element is at a certain height or location.

Then the Packing process will be carried out, which should not be confused with Picking.


Difference with packing

Packing refers to both the packaging and the containers used to transport the products.

Key considerations to be taken into account for transport and final delivery to the customer.

The packing list is of special importance in packing. You have more information about it in:


Picking Technologies

One of the best ways to optimize and improve a warehouse picking service is by integrating different technology-based strategies.

Thus, the best known trends are:

Pick to Light

It is an order picking technology that uses alphanumeric displays and buttons in warehouses to guide manual picking and registration of items for shipment.

Put to Light

Efficient automated sorting method for dividing large quantities of products into individual customer orders, using illuminated devices to indicate to operators where to place the products.

Pick to Voice

A system that uses easy-to-understand voice instructions to direct operators to specific locations in the warehouse and tell them which products to pick to complete customer orders.

Optimizing a good picking service is crucial to provide greater efficiency and a strong supply chain.


Impact of picking on sustainability

In today’s world, where sustainability has become a fundamental pillar of business operations, the logistics picking process plays a crucial role in minimizing the environmental impact of distribution and warehousing activities.

Efficient picking not only results in a leaner and more cost-effective logistics operation, but also contributes significantly to reducing the carbon footprint of companies.


Resource optimization and waste reduction

A well-implemented picking strategy allows for a more efficient use of resources, resulting in less waste generated.

By minimizing errors in the order picking and packing process, the need for reshipments and returns is reduced, thereby reducing packaging material waste and fuel consumption associated with distribution.


Energy efficiency in the warehouse

The adoption of advanced picking technologies, such as automated systems and light- or voice-directed picking solutions, not only increases the accuracy and speed of the process, but also optimizes energy use within the warehouse.

These systems allow a more intelligent management of lighting, heating and cooling, adapting to the real needs of operations and contributing to a significant reduction in energy consumption.


Promoting the circular economy

Efficient picking also plays an important role in supporting the circular economy. By ensuring that the right products are selected and shipped efficiently, a supply chain that prioritizes the reuse and recycling of materials is encouraged.

This not only reduces the demand for new resources, but also promotes a longer product life cycle, in line with the principles of sustainability and environmental responsibility.


Contribution to global sustainability

Finally, by improving picking efficiency, companies not only benefit their own operations, but also contribute to broader sustainability goals.

By reducing the number of trips needed to deliver orders and optimizing distribution routes, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, a crucial step towards mitigating climate change.


In conclusion, integrating sustainable picking practices into logistics is an essential step towards building greener and more responsible operations. At Across Logistics, we are committed to adopting strategies that not only improve our operational efficiency, but also protect our planet for future generations.


More information on sustainability in logistics is available at:


Integration of picking with other logistics operations

The effectiveness of picking in the supply chain is not limited to order picking and order preparation; its true value is manifested when it is harmoniously integrated with other logistics operations.

This synergy between processes is essential to maximize efficiency, reduce costs and improve customer service.

At Across Logistics, we understand that picking is a key piece of the logistics puzzle, whose seamless integration with warehousing, inventory management and transportation is vital to operational success.


Connection to storage

A efficient storage management is the first step to optimize picking. The layout and organization of the products within the warehouse must facilitate quick and safe access during the picking process.

Implementing intelligent storage systems, which communicate directly with picking solutions, enables precise product localization and minimizes travel times, contributing to faster and more accurate order picking.


Inventory management

Integration of picking with inventory management is crucial to maintain real-time stock accuracy.

Advanced Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allow inventory to be automatically updated as picking operations are performed, ensuring that product availability information is always accurate and up to date.

This integration allows better planning of stock replenishment, avoiding overstocks or shortages and making informed purchasing and storage decisions.


Transportation and distribution

Efficient picking translates into faster and more accurate order picking, which directly impacts transportation and distribution efficiency. By ensuring that orders are complete and ready for shipment in a timely manner, transportation loads can be optimized and route planning can be improved.

This not only reduces shipping costs, but also decreases delivery time to the end customer, improving customer satisfaction and strengthening the company’s reputation.


Technology and automation

The key to successful integration of picking with other logistics operations lies in technology and automation. Systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and WMS allow seamless communication between different areas, from customer order to final delivery.

Picking automation, through robots and sorting systems, is integrated with automated conveyor solutions within the warehouse, creating a cohesive and highly efficient logistics ecosystem.


At Across Logistics, integrating picking with other logistics operations is a strategic priority. We strive to implement advanced technological solutions and innovative operational practices that enable us to provide exceptional service to our customers, reaffirming our commitment to logistics excellence.


Cost analysis and picking ROI

Understanding and optimizing the costs associated with picking is essential to improving the profitability and return on investment (ROI) of operations.


Cost breakdown in picking

The picking process involves various costs, from direct labor to investment in technology and equipment.

Labor, being one of the most significant components, includes the time employees spend picking, preparing and verifying orders.

Technology costs cover the implementation of warehouse management systems (WMS), automated picking solutions, and any other hardware or software that facilitates the operation.

In addition, equipment costs can include everything from forklifts to racking systems and assisted picking devices.


ROI calculation

To calculate the ROI of improvements in the picking process, it is crucial to consider both the direct and indirect costs mentioned above and the benefits obtained after the implementation of such improvements.

Benefits can manifest themselves in the form of increased order accuracy, reduced returns, improved customer satisfaction, and increased operational efficiency leading to reduced cycle times and labor costs.

ROI is then calculated by comparing the monetary value of these benefits with the initial investment and additional operating costs.


Strategies to maximize ROI

Labor optimization: Implement picking techniques that minimize unnecessary travel and improve ergonomics for workers, which can result in higher productivity and reduced fatigue.

Technology and automation: Invest in technology solutions that are aligned with the specific needs of the warehouse. Automation can significantly reduce picking errors and the costs associated with correcting these errors.

Ongoing training: Provide regular training to personnel to ensure efficient use of picking tools and techniques, thus maximizing investment in technology and labor.

Ongoing analysis: Conduct continuous monitoring and analysis of picking performance to identify areas for improvement and adjust strategies as needed.


In conclusion, a thorough analysis of costs and ROI in picking allows not only to justify investments in operational improvements but also to ensure that these improvements contribute to the objectives of efficiency, customer satisfaction and financial sustainability.


Picking in different sectors

The picking process varies significantly between different industries due to their unique requirements and specific challenges.

At Across Logistics, we understand the importance of tailoring our picking strategies to meet the unique needs of each industry, ensuring efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Below, we explore how picking is adapted and implemented in various industries.


Retail and e-commerce

In the retail and e-commerce sector, speed and accuracy in picking are crucial to meet customers’ fast delivery expectations.

Picking in these sectors often requires the management of a wide range of SKUs and the ability to handle demand peaks during peak seasons.

Picking solutions such as pick-to-light and pick-to-voice are popular, as they increase accuracy and reduce picking time.


Food and beverages

The food and beverage industry presents unique challenges due to the need to handle perishable products with different temperature requirements.

Picking in this sector must not only ensure efficiency and accuracy but also comply with strict food safety regulations.

Batch picking and the use of real-time tracking technologies are essential to manage product freshness and traceability.


Pharmaceutical and healthcare

The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry requires the highest standards of accuracy and compliance in the picking process due to the criticality of their products.

Picking in this sector often involves the handling of drugs that can be temperature sensitive and require full traceability.

Automated solutions and advanced management systems are essential to comply with regulations and ensure patient safety.



In the manufacturing sector, picking focuses on efficiency and supply chain optimization for production.

Picking components for assembly lines requires precision and the ability to adapt quickly to changes in production schedules. Integration of picking systems with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and just-in-time manufacturing (JIT) are common practices in this industry.


Technology and electronics

The technology and electronics industry, characterized by its rapid evolution and product diversity, demands picking solutions that can adapt to rapid inventory changes and the management of high-value products.

Accuracy is critical to avoid costly errors, and safety in handling sensitive components is paramount. The use of automated picking and collaborative robots is on the rise in this sector.


In conclusion, adapting picking strategies to the specific needs of each sector is key to maximizing efficiency, complying with regulations and exceeding customer expectations. At Across Logistics, our customized approach and our experience in a wide range of industries allow us to offer picking solutions that are not only efficient but also adaptive to the unique challenges of each sector.


Across Logistics, leaders in warehousing and distribution service

At Across Logistics we offer warehousing solutions solutions that are intelligent, competitive, flexible and adapted to the needs of each client.

We know that the warehouse and distribution service is becoming increasingly important in many sectors and companies. For this reason, we have expanded our service, increasing our worldwide warehouse space in the most strategic logistics points.

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