Modern warehouses are models of efficiency. One way warehouses stay efficient is to utilize the advantages of wave picking. This method of taking a product from the shelves is more efficient for a number of reasons. The most profound, a smaller number of movements across the warehouse.

As we noted in a past blog about Amazon’s warehouses, the more you can reduce employees physical movement around a warehouse, the more efficient they become. Now, with wave picking, the pattern of movement goes in a snake-like pattern through the aisles. Rather than randomly grabbing an item from aisle 1, then aisle 5, then aisle 2, this method goes from aisle 1, to aisle 2, then aisle 3, etc. so there is no back and forth.

Wave Picking Visual Description
A wave picking route through a standard warehouse

With this method of picking products, you aren’t limited to picking one order at a time. Instead, you can pick multiple orders at once. You then sequence the orders so they all fall into their proper loading zones.

The advantages of wave picking are multiplied when looking at the efficiency of your picking teams working together. For instance, if one employee starts from position D in the image above, and another starts at position A, you have now doubled the efficiency of your warehouse. This get’s even better when you have robots in the mix.

Advantages of Wave Picking

  • Cut down on employee time required to pick
  • More efficient to utilize employees in succession for picking (wave-batch)
  • Makes it easier to understand what products have been picked, and what products need to be picked
  • Cut down on the distance each employee needs to travel
  • Less complex and error-prone than other picking methods
  • Easily accomplished through Distribution Hub

Disadvantages of Wave Picking

  • Usually only run once per day, which may leave urgent orders for another day
  • Can get confusing when multiple pickers are involved with one wave, overlap
  • For complicated warehouse layouts, it may not be the best option
  • Likelihood for errors if the proper cart system is not used to store orders sequentially

Whether this is the right picking method or not becomes a matter of preference. If you’ve been taking a very staggard approach to picking product it may be time to check out Distribution Hub. With wave picking, product check-in, put-away, picking, packing, shipping, routing & delivery, it’s a one-stop-shop for the modern-day wholesaler.

Check out other picking methods from Newcastle Systems

Reach out to a to get started with your warehouse management evaluation. Or, simply reach out to discuss your situation where our specialists will help to diagnose and prescribe the right solution for you.

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