Paperless picking

Paperless picking refers to a picking process in which the physical pick list is replaced by data entry in the warehouse management system. The picker picks with data entry devices without a picking list. The error rate at the storage location is thus significantly lower. The material flow is better organised and warehouse work is much more pleasant. Various barcode scanners, displays, data glasses, etc. simplify paperless picking and the picking process is completed quickly and with high efficiency.

Definition and explanation

The definition of paperless picking is very simple: In paperless picking there is no picking list. The employee is directly assisted in picking the goods by a system with various devices directly at the storage location. Various picking methods are available for use.

In this article we explain to you exactly how paperless picking works in logistics or production. We also show you how orders are started, picked, booked and completed. In addition, we will also show you some of the advantages and disadvantages of paperless picking. All this in comparison with classic picking with a pick list.

If you would like to learn more general information about picking, continue reading on Picking - Wikipedia.

Goals of paperless order picking

The introduction of paperless order picking has the following goals in a company:

  • Minimise costs and increase efficiency by increasing picking performance
  • Improve quality by reducing the error rate
  • Easy induction of new employees    

The standard method (Pick-by-Scan) is to use MDE devices with barcode scanners. However, there are many other methods that support paperless picking.

Process of paperless order picking

Entry of the orders

The paperless recording of picking orders in a company today is done with computers. The result of the administration in a warehouse management system is an electronic pick list. However, the pick list is not provided as a pick slip, but as a data record for the picking systems. The process is simple to understand.

The picking process

Paperless order picking is realised in different ways. With the help of various methods, the order picker is guided to the storage compartment and assisted in removing the goods. The most commonly used methods include the following solutions: Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, Pick-by-Frame, Pick-by-Point, Pick-by-Watch, etc. The picker does not have to note down his picks from the warehouse on the pick slip with a biro and has his hands free.

Booking of withdrawals

Booking of withdrawals takes place directly after the withdrawal confirmation. The advantage of this is that the stock levels are always up-to-date.

Completion of paperless picking

Once all items in an order have been picked, the warehouse can start working directly with the next order.

Advantages and disadvantages of paperless order picking

Each paperless picking method has certain characteristics that have advantages and disadvantages. This means that the general classification can only be defined to a limited extent.

Paperless picking Advantages

  • Fast and efficient picking by minimising search times
  • The effort in the picking process is reduced (reading the picking list is no longer necessary).
  • Minimisation of errors in the removal of quantities
  • Always up-to-date stock levels through direct data acquisition
  • Optimum material flow
  • Environmental protection and reduction of costs for paper, printers, maintenance and service

Paperless picking Disadvantages

  • High investment costs compared to a pick sheet
  • Limited flexibility due to technical equipment


Even though paperless picking involves investment, the ROI is very short. Connecting the different picking methods to a WMS or SAP system is no problem. The advantages in the picking process are clear.

Talk to us. We will help you find the right solution for paperless picking, although the data glasses for warehouse workers that have become popular in recent years are not suitable for this in our view.

Which order picking suits your company best?