Minimize Labor & Maximize Efficiency

Tremendous importance is placed on the order processing function as the direct link to customer satisfaction. It can also be the most labor intensive and costly area of your operation. A company’s ability to deliver quality products as ordered and on schedule, is critical. Alternative Technologies will help you evaluate your existing order processing systems and implement the necessary improvement strategies.

The first step is to conduct a Product Slotting Analysis. During this phase we determine how much of each SKU should be stored in a particular storage medium. Next, we’ll perform a Needs Assessment to clearly define the operational requirements unique to your business.


Data Inputs:

  • Total number of transactions
  • Total number of orders
  • Number of picks per order (piece, case or pallet)
  • Quantity of items per pick
  • Picks per SKU
  • Seasonal restrictions
  • Throughput Requirements/Goals
  • Growth Objectives

Armed with this essential data, Alternative Technologies’ material handling specialists will design an order processing system to minimize manual labor costs and increase productivity and order accuracy. The final system will incorporate a combination of the following methods and technologies depending on your order processing requirements.

Order Picking Methods –

  • Basic Picking – Order selector picks items from shelving or racking typically onto a pallet jack, order picker or picking cart, fulfilling one order at a time.
  • Batch Picking – Items are picked for multiple orders in batches, using a pick list consolidating multiple orders. Batch picking can greatly reduce travel time, but can affect order accuracy if not managed effectively.
  • Zone Picking – Zone picking, also known as Pick and Pass, is similar to an assembly line. The picking area is divided into zones in which the order picker only selects items within the zone. Orders (totes) are moved from one zone to the next until the order is completed. Zone picking is ideal for large operation with a high number of SKU’s and orders.
  • Wave Picking – Wave picking is a combination of zone and batch picking, where all zones are picked simultaneously to conveyor, then sorted by specific order. Wave picking is also the fastest of all methods and can be very effective in large facilities with thousands of SKU’s and a high number of picks/lines per order.

Order Picking Classifications

  • Person to Goods – Item remains in a fixed location within the picking area waiting for the order picker.
    • Storage Types – Pallet Rack, Pallet Flow Rack, Static Shelving, Carton Flow Racking, Pick Modules.
    • Technology – Pick-to-Light, Voice Picking, RF Picking.
    • Picking Method – Basic or Batch Picking.
  • Goods to Person– Items are conveyed or delivered directly to the order picker for selection. Picker typically picks items for more than one order at a time.
    • Storage Types – Conveyor System, Horizontal & Vertical Carousels, Verttical Lift Modules, AS/RS systems.
    • Picking Method – Basic, Batch, Zone, Wave.
    • Sorting System – This highly automated method utilizes multiple conveyors and sorting devices. Items are placed on a conveyor and sorted for each order. The order selector collects the items that have been sorted and processes the order.

Additional Links