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Picking warehouse - top explanation in 2024

What is a picking warehouse?

By definition, a picking warehouse is a warehouse in which partial quantities of the product range are picked from the storage bins. Picking devices or picking systems optimize the picking time of the activity. The goods are divided into storage areas and assigned to a storage bin. The assortment is replenished from the supply warehouse.

Which picking methods support a picking warehouse?

  • Pick-to-Light
  • Voice Picking
  • Pick-by-Point®
  • Pick-by-Cart
  • Pick-by-Frame®
  • Pick-by-Watch
  • Pick-by-Point®
  • etc.

In this article, we explain exactly what an order picking warehouse is. We also give you some tips on the topic of picking and the supporting picking systems for optimizing your warehouse.

Various picking devices and picking systems with a database are used to optimize picking times, process orders quickly and provide ergonomic support for employees (pickers) (travel times, walking distances). The investment pays off quickly with a large range of goods and partial quantities.

Stored are: Pallets, boxes, cartons, sacks, barrels, equipment and machines. If the goods are not sufficiently available in the picking warehouse, they are replenished from the supply warehouse, replenishment warehouse or high-bay warehouse using loading aids.

The best manual picking methods ("man to goods") in a picking warehouse include: Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, Pick-by-Point, Pick-by-Frame, Pick-by-Cart, etc. The aim is to provide the picker with optimum support for picking in his storage areas.

In an automated picking warehouse, machines are used that work according to the "goods to man" principle. The storage system (e.g. paternoster from Hänel) automatically provides the items at the picking station. The goods are moved internally in the warehouse using conveyor technology. The investment is significantly greater than with manual picking methods.

Picking performance in a picking warehouse

A picking warehouse must provide the picking orders for dispatch or production quickly with the lowest possible error rate. To achieve this, a company uses equipment such as: Forklift trucks, flow racks, shelving racks, load units, containers, conveyor technology, etc. are used in order picking. All these solutions and systems serve to optimize the performance and quality of employees in the warehouse (order picking warehouse) and in intralogistics as a whole. The shortfall should be kept as small as possible. The aim is to process the picking list quickly. The global definition of picking performance in a picking warehouse is not possible and depends on many factors (range of articles) in each area.

The entire process must run quickly and ergonomically for the employee, from recording in the incoming goods department to removal, with minimal stocking, taking into account space requirements and technical requirements. Picking is either fully automated or manual. Depending on how the goods are stored. Stock transfers often help with optimization.

A picking warehouse often works according to a FIFO principle, whereby orders are often linked to further processing in a unit storage area. The fast-moving items in a picking warehouse are very important for the operators and quality assurance. The excessive reserves in an order picking warehouse bring more disadvantages than advantages. The task of the picking warehouse does not include return deliveries or returns processing. 


A picking warehouse is used for the direct picking of items for shipping, production or manufacturing. The pickers work in the various storage areas and pick the product range. Each area often processes incoming orders (as serial picking or parallel picking). The picking warehouse is supplied with partial quantities from other warehouses. Various systems are used to support the picker.

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