With a great deal of options available out there, choosing an order picking strategy to order fulfillment can become overwhelming, regardless of whether you operate a small e-commerce store, a distribution center, or a large-scale warehouse.

Within a business, the responsibility of implementing order picking strategies often falls under the scope of operations managers, warehouse and logistics managers – individuals who are typically responsible for analyzing the specific requirements of the business.

So whether you run a small online store or manage a distribution center, implementing an effective strategy is essential to ensure efficient and accurate order fulfillment. This includes evaluating the available order picking methods and selecting the most appropriate strategy based on factors such as order volume, product characteristics, warehouse layout, and technology capabilities.

What is order picking?

Order picking refers to the process of retrieving specific items or products from a warehouse or storage facility to fulfill customer orders. It is a crucial step in the order fulfillment process, where designated personnel, often known as order pickers or pickers, locate, collect, and assemble the requested items according to the customer’s order details.

This typically involves navigating through the storage facility, following a predetermined path or order sequence, and selecting the correct quantity of items from their respective locations. The picked items are then prepared for packaging, further processing, or immediate shipment to the customer.

In some cases, businesses may also engage consultants or experts specializing in supply chain management or logistics to provide guidance and expertise in implementing efficient order picking strategies.

Efficient order picking plays a significant role in ensuring timely and accurate delivery of customer orders. It requires careful planning, organization, and coordination to optimize productivity and minimize errors. Various order picking strategies and technologies, such as batch picking, zone picking, pick-to-light systems, or voice-guided picking, may be employed to streamline the process and enhance overall efficiency.

These should be implemented by businesses that engage in order fulfillment, which includes companies operating in various industries such as e-commerce, retail, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics. 

Why do you need an order picking strategy?

Choosing your order picking strategy could significantly impact overall productivity, accuracy, and customer satisfaction. And the wrong decision can lead to a domino effect of late deliveries, operational failure, and customer dissatisfaction. It is for these reasons that increased productivity should be at the center of your strategy.

Not to mention, it directly impacts time efficiency, cost reduction, accuracy, scalability, and ultimately, the competitive advantage of a business. If you’re still unconvinced as to why productivity plays a critical role in selecting an effective order picking strategy, we’ve listed several more reasons here:

  • Time Efficiency – with an efficient order picking strategy, products are selected and dispatched to customers in the shortest possible time so businesses can handle a higher volume of orders within the same timeframe.
  • Cost Reduction –  by maximizing productivity, companies can achieve higher order fulfillment rates with fewer resources, thereby lowering operational costs.
  • Accuracy and Error Reduction – a well-designed order picking strategy prevents costly returns and re-shipments but also enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Scalability and Growth – as businesses expand and order volumes increase, a scalable and productive order picking strategy becomes crucial. This ensures that operations can adapt to changing demands and market conditions.
  • Competitive Advantage – effective order picking strategy enables companies to provide faster turnaround times, meet tight delivery deadlines, and enhance overall customer experience. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and a stronger market position.

Remember that you are supposed to be tailoring your order picking strategy to align with your unique business needs and to exceed customer expectations, so that you can make informed decisions that enhance productivity, streamline operations, and contribute to the overall success of your business.

Tips for choosing the best order picking strategy 

So now that all of the advantages and benefits have been laid out, it’s time to dissect how business owners can select an effective order picking strategy to boost productivity. Here are several key considerations that you should keep in mind: 

Order Volume and Characteristics

Analyze your order volume, frequency, and characteristics. Consider factors such as the number of daily orders, order sizes, variations in products, and order patterns. This analysis will help you determine the most suitable order picking method. 

With Voice-Pick by FAST, you can optimize your order fulfillment, streamline workflow, and reduce errors all at the same time. This pick-by-voice solution allows you to optimize orders with just a simple voice command, so you can focus more on your clients’ needs.

Warehouse Layout and Design

Evaluate your warehouse layout and design to optimize the flow of products and minimize travel distances for order pickers. Consider factors like bin locations, product categorization, and the placement of high-demand items. Efficient placement and organization of inventory can significantly reduce picking time and enhance productivity.

Group similar products together in your warehouse management system based on their characteristics, such as size, weight, or popularity. This enables order pickers to navigate their warehouse operations more efficiently, reducing the time spent searching for specific items. Implementing logical numbering or labeling systems for bins can further facilitate easy identification and retrieval of products in warehouse processes.

Technology and Automation

While voice picking technology is not new, its use has grown exponentially over the past few years. Explore technology and automation solutions that can streamline order picking operations like voice picking. This could include implementing barcode scanning systems, pick-to-light or put-to-light systems, voice-directed picking, or even robotics and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). 

Voice-Pick by FAST uses Honeywell SoundSense™ technology, which utilizes additional microphones that can easily identify and minimize interference by up to 50%. Integrating these technologies can improve accuracy, speed, and overall efficiency in the order picking process.

Employee Training and Ergonomics

Invest in proper training for order pickers to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their tasks efficiently. Additionally, consider ergonomics and employee well-being by providing ergonomic equipment, optimizing workstation layouts, and implementing safety measures. 

By using Voice Pick, your employees will allot faster picking time since they can concentrate on their work without having to regularly stop to take instructions or update systems. Remember that a trained and comfortable workforce is more likely to perform at their best and contribute to higher productivity.

Performance Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

Implement performance monitoring systems to track order picking metrics and identify areas for improvement. Measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as order accuracy, picking rates, order cycle time, and productivity levels. By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly analyzing data, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions to enhance their order picking strategy.

Regularly analyze the data collected and make adjustments to optimize the order picking strategy over time. Continuous improvement efforts will help drive ongoing productivity gains and embracing a culture of continuous improvement is essential for optimizing order picking operations and driving ongoing productivity gains in inventory management. 


To sum it up, productivity is vital in selecting an effective order picking strategy. When a business chooses to prioritize productivity, it can better optimize their business’ order fulfillment processes and achieve sustainable growth in their respective industry. 

Remember, the right order picking strategy can enhance time efficiency, reduce costs, improve accuracy, support scalability, and provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It’s a strategic investment that aligns with your business goals and positions you for long-term success.

Use the right technology and select the right order picking strategy to start fostering a culture of productivity where you can streamline your operations, fulfill customer orders faster, and stay ahead of the competition.

Ultimately, regardless of the size or industry of the business, any organization involved in fulfilling customer orders should prioritize the implementation of effective order picking strategies to optimize productivity, accuracy, and customer satisfaction.

If you’d like to learn more about Voice Pick by FAST and how you can increase your business productivity, click here or get in touch with our Solutions Expert

Subscribe to our Newsletter!