In the context of warehouse management and supply chain logistics, zone picking is an order picking technique. It is one of the numerous picking techniques that entails grouping stock-keeping units (SKUs) into several distinct zones, with teams of warehouse workers assigned to pick and sort from inside each zone.
The largest warehouses in the world still rely on core procedures that have been in use for decades. Even though warehouse technology is developing quickly these days, the fundamental concepts of most order-picking procedures aren’t new, they are just made more effective with the help of technology.
How does Zone Picking work?
A zone is allotted to each picker group and for each order, they must choose all SKUs that are present in that zone. This process, named “pick and pass”, at times entails shifting certain SKUs from one zone to another. When using this strategy, there is only one scheduling period per shift.
In some warehouse settings, zones can be divided based on whether picking will be assisted by a human or a robot. To explain this with an example, in a retail warehouse containing electrical components, it could be necessary to employ a powered pallet truck (PPT) for lifting heavy and bulky things, whereas in another area, a human picker might pick the lighter items. These two items selected may need to be combined, and they will eventually come together by moving them to the same zone or sorting and packaging area.
Benefits of Zone Picking
Zone picking at a warehouse, as a fundamental fulfillment method, significantly impacts the productivity of the supply chain. Pickers assigned to each zone only pick things located within it since the picking perimeter has been divided into several pick zones. It enables the creation of zones depending on certain criteria, such as a zone for high-security SKUs or a zone for fast-moving and slow-moving SKUs. Another advantage is that each zone can have its own technology, equipment, and storage plan.
It functions essentially like a regular assembly line. Using a collaborative mobile robot or a manual cart, cartons or other containers are moved from one zone to the next, while SKUs are added from each zone. Picking is finished once the order is completed, and the goods are then taken to the packaging and shipping sections.
This picking technique works best in large warehouses that handle a lot of SKUs with distinctive properties or picking needs. Inventory pickers stay in their designated areas rather than moving about the warehouse, and cartons containing the items needed for each order are brought to them, greatly reducing travel time. Pickers can pick more quickly and precisely by operating in a smaller zone, where they are more familiar with the SKUs and pick spots.
- Posted by WiserTech Solutions
- On August 30, 2022