Order picking systems should support the employees

Picking systems - Hololens in action

Order picking systems are very important in the warehouse or a production facility and should support the employees. The requirements are very different. This is exactly the reason why it is not possible to create a universal system. First plan and then choose the picking techniques.

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We will introduce you to the LUCA systems and give you an insight into the various possibilities. We will also explain which systems fit together and how they are best used.

What are picking systems?

Imagine a big warehouse. Many articles or semi-finished products are stored on shelves or pallets. The customer or production orders certain articles.

If the goods are available at the storage bin, the Warehouse Management System generates an order. Now the articles must be collected from the storage bins.

This is exactly when the picking systems come into operation. They are supposed to support the employee in the warehouse. Read more about picking at Wikipedia.

The best picking systems?

Many scientists and researchers have been dealing with this question for several years. The answer here is very simple:

None of the picking systems is the best. The system must fit the requirements.

It is simply not possible to build a single solution and thus to fulfill all tasks. Every bearing is different.

Which includes standards:

  • Pick-by-Light
  • Put-to-Light
  • Pick-by-Voice
  • pick-by-point®
  • Pick-by-Frame®
  • Pick-by-Cart
  • Pick-by-Watch

Others are new and very innovative.

The main differences

First and foremost, picking systems must differentiate according to the type of automation. In some warehouses and production facilities it does not make sense to use complex and expensive automation. On the other hand, a high-capacity dispatch warehouse cannot be fully realized without automation.

This results in the following breakdown for picking:

  • Fully automatic
  • Semi automatic with conveyor system
  • Manual

Fully automatic order picking

Fully automatic picking can only be used for certain articles and at high performance. The high costs must justify the investments. The goods are picked fully automatically and transported to the packaging e.g. via a conveyor system.

In order to operate a fully automatic plant, a highly qualified technical staff is required. Constant monitoring of the systems and immediate reaction in case of malfunctions are absolutely necessary.

Due to the high costs, fully automated picking systems are not very common.

Semi-automatic picking with conveyor system

An example of this is the classic dispatch systems. Automatic or manual carton erectors are used to prepare the cartons. The cartons are transported to the individual picking zones via a conveyor system. the appropriate picking systems: Pick-by-Light, Pick-by-Scan, , Pick-by-Watch, etc. are used.

We distinguish between:

  • man to goods
  • man's goods

Semi-automated picking systems are generally widely used. The costs of hardware and implementation are kept within manageable limits. The design of the systems is not too technically demanding. Annual maintenance is usually sufficient for the systems.

Manual picking

In the foreground of manual picking systems is always the human being. The technical equipment should make the picker's work easier, guide him and signal possible errors.

In many warehouses only forklifts or order picking trolleys are used. Different shelving techniques are used here (pallets, flow racks, shelf racks, etc.). For this reason, the picking systems must also be set up differently.

In a picking warehouse where only pallets are picked, forklift terminals are quite sufficient. On the other hand, the small parts and small containers find their place in shelves or flow racks. Then picking trolleys are more suitable.

Type of manual picking

One of the important additional criteria for the correct selection of manual picking systems is the type of picking. Here there are the following differences:

  • Singel Order Picking
  • multi order picking

Manual picking methods that are frequently used include

  • Pick-by-Light
  • Pick-by-Voice
  • Pick-by-Frame®
  • pick-by-point®
  • Pick-by-Watch
  • Pick-by-Tablet

The correct planning and concept

We often experience it, that already at the time of the request is very fixated on a certain technique. Pick-by-Vision is a fashion. The proven technologies are Pick-by-Light, Pick-by-Voice, Pick-by-Point, , Pick-by-Frame. Unfortunately, again and again only the technology and not the concept is in the foreground.

Combination of the systems

Some connections between the systems are particularly efficient. As an example, the problem with the checksums of the classical Pick-by-Voice one is very well suited. At high performance the employee has to "talk" to the system a lot. Confirmation of the aisle, confirmation of the checksum, confirmation of the quantity, confirmation of the batch, etc.

All this costs a lot. The problems with orientation and checksums are solved by the connection Pick-by-Voice with Pick-by-Point®.

The Pick-by-Point® light shows the storage compartment with a large dot. The employee then only confirms the number of items picked. The combination of picking systems is very efficient in this case.

Advantages and disadvantages of picking systems


  • Support of the employees
  • Ensure quality
  • Enable high performance
  • Always up-to-date inventory control


  • High costs, depending on the type of automation
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Often not flexible due to complex technical structure

Why is LUCA different?

On the market there are many suppliers for individual systems. However, this is rarely enough to offer an optimal solution. We supply all systems from one source and control them centrally via our LUCA server software.

The LUCA systems control picking and the material flow throughout the entire plants. We also build individual and small plants.


LUCA offers many picking systems. In some cases it is even advisable to use the individual systems in combination. The focus during planning should be the concept and not just the technology. Talk to us.

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