Goods-to-person picking (also: goods-to-man picking) describes a picking method in which the provision of inventory is dynamic and automated. In this process, articles are fed directly to the picker by means of materials handling technology.

The employee then receives the inventory at his picking station and removes the quantity specified by the warehouse management system. After removal, the empty containers or those filled with residual quantities are promptly transported back to the warehouse using the same conveyor.

Advantages of goods-to-person picking

The advantage of this method is that the order picker is supported by the shorter walking distances and less physical activity (low lifting or stretching movement). In this way, a comparatively high picking performance is achieved. In addition, the use of automatic removal aids reduces the susceptibility to errors.

  • high picking performance due to elimination of travel times
  • high range of articles
  • lower susceptibility to errors
  • Containers are easily and automatically “disposed of”
  • ergonomic workplace possible

Disadvantages of goods-to-person picking

The disadvantage is that increased waiting times or possible breakdowns of the materials handling equipment result in both personnel expenses and investment costs.

  • higher investment costs for automated storage and retrieval systems
  • less flexibility due to fixed number of picking locations
  • no flexibility in the face of fluctuating requirements (bullwhip effect)
  • In the event of machine failure, there is a risk of serious chain reaction (warehouse gridlock)

Examples of goods-to-person systems include:

  • High-bay warehouse with automatic rack conveyors
  • Revolving racks, paternoster racks, tower racks, automatic picking storage system
  • Continuous racks with automatic rack conveyors

Basic information on the process flows in picking can be found under Picking – Process Steps.

Image source: twg-group press office

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