Order picking Solutions and systems

Picking is the process by which goods and items are selected from a storage unit and put together for a specific purpose (e.g. orders or production orders). Picking includes all work steps from compilation and preparation for shipping to the trigger for restocking. It is considered the "supreme discipline" in logistics, as it is crucial for the efficient processing of orders and offers a maximum of design options.

The techniques and methods used in order picking influence important aspects such as warehouse layout, workstation equipment, order assignments, intralogistics organization and the choice of suitable conveyor technology and options.

In order to find a suitable solution for your company, it is important to have a basic understanding of the organization and process of order picking. This knowledge facilitates the selection of a suitable picking technology.


Person to goods | IGZ

"Person-to-goods principle"

An order picker picks the requested items from the respective storage location and successively assembles the goods for the orders. If the order volume is limited or the items are not suitable for automatic conveyor/storage technology (e.g. cannot be conveyed), the "person-to-goods" method is usually used.

Goods to person | IGZ

"Goods-to-person principle"

Here, goods are automatically retrieved from a warehouse, usually using containers or pallets delivered by conveyor technology. Once the goods have been removed from a workstation, the remaining items/containers are transported back to the warehouse and stored. If, for example, a particularly large range of articles needs to be managed, it is worth considering warehouse automation and "goods-to-person" methods.

In modern warehouses, automated systems such as conveyor technology, sorters, driverless transport systems and robotics are increasingly being used, not least due to increased flexibility, quality and performance requirements in intralogistics.

The aim of fully automated order picking (as an expansion stage of the "goods-to-person" principle) is to ensure fast and, above all, error-free processes, increase delivery quality, reduce throughput times and save costs in the long term, thereby increasing overall efficiency.

Order picking methods

One-step picking | IGZ

In one-step picking, only one order is processed at a time. The employee focuses on putting together the products for this particular order.

Multi-level picking | IGZ

Multi-level picking involves the simultaneous processing of several orders. By collecting the products for all orders at the same time, the employee can process several orders simultaneously.

Multi-order picking | IGZ

Multi-order picking also involves the simultaneous processing of several orders, but in a more efficient way. To speed up the process and increase efficiency, the products are arranged in such a way that they can be used for several orders at the same time.

Order picking systems in a quick check

The most common paperless processes used in the manual person-to-goods principle include Pick by Scan, Pick by Light and Pick by Voice. There are also other innovative picking solutions such as Pick by Vision (picking with smart glasses), Pick by Motion (gesture-controlled picking) and Pick by Robot (fully automated picking).

IGZ offers comprehensive best-practice packages in conjunction with SAP EWM for all these picking technologies.

Pick by Light

Pick by Light is a picking method that serves to make the process more efficient and error-free. The basic principle is based on the use of light signals to show pickers the exact location and quantity of items to be picked. Each storage compartment in which a product is located is equipped with a light indicator that signals exactly which item is to be picked.

After picking, the picker acknowledges the process, the light indicator goes out and the system guides him/her to the next storage location for the next item. The main advantages of this technology are efficiency, error reduction and a short training period.

Pick by Voice

This voice technology allows warehouse staff to receive computer-generated picking instructions and confirm them by voice. Both hands are free and can be used to pick the goods. Tedious scanning processes with mobile data terminals (MDEs) or handling pick lists are no longer necessary.

All picking orders are dictated to the pickers directly from SAP EWM (SAP Extended Warehouse Management) via headphones.

IGZ implements pick-by-voice solutions based on SAP standard software, i.e. voice terminals are linked directly to SAP EWM - without the use of middleware, subsystems or client-based speech recognition. IGZ offers an SAP-certified, highly standardized and even more flexible SAP connection for voice terminals for Pick by Voice.

Pick by Vision

Hands-free technologies are increasingly replacing mobile data collection devices (MDC) - especially in the area of picking and packing. The data glasses/smart glasses act as a multifunctional device and simplify operation for warehouse employees. Real-time orders are displayed directly in the field of vision via SAP EWM using a permanently installed microdisplay. Another advantage of this application is the integrated low stock check, which helps to ensure the best possible availability of the goods that have just been picked.

The integrated scanning functionality or optional voice recognition makes manual recording superfluous, so that pickers always have both hands free for the actual work while they are automatically guided step by step through the picking process by the smart glasses.

Further information on Pick by Vision can be found here.

Pick by Motion

Contactless picking confirmation par excellence: With Pick by Motion, the picking process and SAP posting merge into a single movement to create what is known as contactless picking confirmation. At the heart of Pick by Motion is a high-performance camera that monitors all picking processes by pickers and offers great added value, especially when picking from insert boxes. If an item is picked or placed incorrectly, employees are alerted with a visual and acoustic signal.

Further information on Pick by Motion can be found here.

Pick by Robot

Pick by Robot was developed for the fully automated picking of individual parts. The multi-patented and award-winning IGZ picking robot "LUKE" is the first mobile picking robot that can be used alternately or as an alternative to order pickers. Pick by Robot can be easily retrofitted to existing workstations. There is no need for complex robotic cells or conveyor technology superstructures. The space requirement is therefore the same as the radius of action of a human.

In practice, the robot uses calculated gripping and suction points to remove goods from a source container and place them in one or more target containers/cartons. Integrated high-performance cameras are used to recognize the items to be removed. Special packing pattern algorithms in SAP EWM and the ability to change the orientation of the picked item ensure optimized filling of the target containers.

Further information on Pick by Robot can be found here.

Why IGZ is the right partner for you

Order picking is an intralogistics sub-process with a significant impact on the performance and efficiency of logistics operations. This is why special attention should be paid to this area when planning a new warehouse.

We will be happy to help you with dimensioning - whether static or dynamic, for example - taking your corporate strategy into account.

We recommend the following steps for technology selection and dimensioning and will go through them with you:

  • Determination of requirements and framework conditions
  • Breakdown of the product range into assortment classes
  • Division of the picking orders into order classes
  • Preselection of picking processes
  • Development of strategies for handling the assortment classes
  • Selection of cost-optimized picking systems, taking into account upstream and downstream functional areas

Our experts support you in calculating investments and operating costs, put them in relation to efficiency gains and ensure that order picking keeps costs within a moderate, calculable range.

Your contact

Do you still have questions or would you like more information?

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Holger Häring
Head of Sales