Serial picking

What is serial picking?

Serial picking in intralogistics means that a customer order (a carton) is picked by several pickers one after the other in several picking zones. At the end of picking, the order is ready and can be packed and shipped.

Serial picking in detail and simply explained

In the serial picking method, a sales order is created in the warehouse management system after the order-oriented entry (no partial orders). In the picking method, the order should fit completely into a carton or tote (volume calculation).

Before the first storage zone, the carton is prepared in the appropriate size and marked (barcode and picking list at the I-point).

The picking order is started in the first picking zone. The picker picks the goods from the appropriate storage bins. Once all items in his storage zone have been picked, the picker places the order at the transfer point. Picking paths (path time), the pick time, the base time and the dead time in processing should be as short as possible.

Another employee takes over the order and processes it in his picking zone. Once he has finished, he then hands the order over to another picker, and so on.

Once all items in the sales order have been completely picked, the order is packed and shipped.

Serial picking and the technology

Serial picking can already be supported with a simple technology such as MDE. The storage locations are displayed on a terminal and the removal is confirmed with a barcode scanner (alternative: Pick-by-Watch, Pick-by-Tablet).

The picking time can be optimized by using conveyor technology. The cartons are automatically transported to the picking zones. Picking methods such as Pick-to-Light and Pick-by-Point® are optimally suited for this. The pick list is scanned. The light shows the picker the goods on the shelf (also the quantity). The picking performance is optimized. The process in the warehouse is thus greatly accelerated.

Advantages of serial picking

Depending on the development of the technical picking methods, serial picking as a procedure has the following advantages:

  • Relatively low investment costs (MDE)
  • Simple system introduction
  • Little training
  • Extension options (conveyor technology, Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, Pick-by-Point®, etc.)

Disadvantages of serial picking

The disadvantages are defined as follows:

  • Long order processing time
  • Complex volume calculation required
  • If without conveyor technology: loss of time due to distribution time


Serial picking is simple and is often used with conveyor technology and other picking methods, such as Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, Pick-by-Point®. Depending on the size of the warehouse, MDE can be used first and only then the other techniques (Pick-by-Watch, Pick-by-Tablet). The relatively long order cycle time (man to goods) is rarely a problem. Serial picking is optimal for small to medium-sized warehouses.

Comparable picking methods

For comparison, read about the other picking methods:

Multi-level picking
Parallel picking
Series-oriented picking

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