Paperless picking

What is 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. As a result, the error rate at the storage bin is significantly lower. The material flow is better organized 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 pick list. The employee is directly supported in picking the goods by a system with various devices directly at the storage location. Different picking methods are available for use.

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

Goals of paperless picking

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

  • Minimize costs and increase efficiency by increasing picking performance
  • Improvement of the quality by reduction of the error rate
  • Easy training of new employees    

As a standard (Pick-by-Scan method), MDE devices with barcode scanners are used. However, there are many other methods that support paperless picking.

Process of paperless picking

Entry of orders

Today, the paperless recording of picking orders in a company 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 picking is implemented as a process in different ways. With the help of various methods, the 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 ballpoint pen and has his hands free.

Posting of withdrawals

Posting 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 picking

Each paperless picking method has certain characteristics and which have advantages and disadvantages. Thus, the general classification is only conditionally definable.

Paperless picking Advantages

  • Fast and efficient picking by minimizing search times
  • The effort in the picking process is reduced (reading of the picking list is omitted)
  • Minimization of errors in the withdrawal of quantities
  • Always up-to-date stock levels through direct data acquisition
  • Optimal 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 investments, the ROI is very short. The connection of 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 from our point of view.

Which picking system suits your company best?