Bae 5 Tracker

What is an order picker and why do I need one?

order picker

Picking cases or single items from racks in a warehouse is the only job an order picker, a single-purpose lift truck, does. The order picker operator stands on a platform and moves up with the mast, unlike most lift trucks. This piece of equipment can access heights of anywhere between 9 feet and 35 feet.

Order pickers come in two types: mid-level and high-level.

Mid-level order pickers allow an operator to pick cases or items from a height of 15 feet to 25 feet. They have a lift capacity of about 3,000 pounds. Usually, these lift trucks are free roaming, but can be set up for wire or rail guidance. They are meant to work in narrow aisles.

High-level order pickers enable an operator to pick cases or items from 20 feet to 35 feet. As with mid-level order pickers, high-level order pickers also have a load capacity of 3,000 pounds. These lift trucks work in a narrower aisle than mid-level order pickers and are wire or rail guided.

Wire guiding or rail guiding order pickers means that the lift truck can operate in an aisle as narrow as 54 inches. Wire or rail guiding helps the operator to focus on the task on hand: picking orders and their locations. This also helps with increasing space in the warehouse storage system.

Order pickers work best in warehouses that operate for library archival storage, retail applications and furniture picking. Furniture picking has a very specific order picker that includes a larger platform for more ease and productivity when moving bulky and odd-sized loads.

An order picker is an appropriate lift truck for any operation that deals with many SKUs and not a lot of quantity of any particular SKU number. The order picker is not suited for tasks such as: unit load picking, or right angle stacking, and transportation for long travel distances.

Order pickers fit into many different types of warehouse operation processes. These processes include batch picking, spacing and slotting.

Batch picking is used when inventory needs to be pulled for multiple orders at one time. These orders are combined. This, in turn, increases productivity by reducing the number of trips needed to one area of a warehouse to pull product. Batch picking can reduce travel time and therefore labor costs.

Spacing: The process of putting most trafficked goods in different aisles for less congestion of order pickers and better optimization of travel – the most costly factor of order picking.

Slotting: The process to organize products in a warehouse to help optimize order picking.

It is important to consider the following factors when deciding if an order picker is the right lift truck for your warehouse operations:

  1. What is the case picking height?
  2. Do you have overhead obstructions (such as doorways, tunnels, trailers, etc.)?
  3. What are your load, pallet or cart requirements?
  4. What are your floor conditions?
  5. Can the warehouse be optimized for guidance?

As order pickers are mostly operated at elevated heights, it is important that operators are properly trained on maneuvering and safety of these trucks. All operators are required to wear a harness while operating any order picker at any height.

Get this Article as a printable White Paper

Subscribe to our Warehouse Innovator email list of industry professionals and we will will send this Article as a printable White Paper that you can share with colleagues, use as training materials, or keep in your professional library.
Click here