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Zone Picking and Its Benefits

Picking is by far the most labour intensive part of warehousing operations. Many studies have explored enhancing the efficiency of various picking methods, with a focus on the Order Batching Problem to optimize the total picking process for multiple shipping destinations.


Zone picking, sometimes referred to as pick and pass, divides a warehouse into dynamic zones based on demand and pick frequencies, where employees are stationed within given zone, so that they only travel within give space rather than covering miles on foot for the whole warehousing area. Considering nearly 60% of the effort in a picking activity being walking, majority of this effort is given  by robots to bring or pick up the products collaboratively with this methodology.


Consequently, robots can cover greater distances than humans without fatigue, accomplish tasks swiftly, and significantly enhance productivity.

Main Highlights

·      Zone picking can significantly improve efficiency when deployed in large warehouses with a wide variety of products.

·      Utilizing robots for picking decreases travel time and congestion among warehouse employees, thus enhancing overall productivity.

·      Zone picking is not universally applicable, but it can be integrated with other methods like wave or batch picking to address the specific requirements of a warehouse.

·      A warehouse management system such as Bottobo WIS (warehouse intelligence system) can simplify the zone picking.

The Advantages of Zone Picking

While beneficial for businesses of various sizes, large warehouses with extensive SKU inventories typically experience the greatest advantages from zone picking.

Increased flexibility

Zones can be customized based on criteria that align with business objectives. Furthermore, zone picking enables the implementation of different processes across various zones or products, rather than a uniform approach throughout the warehouse. For instance, certain zones may optimize order based picking, while others may be more efficient with batch picking (picking multiple orders into a single handling unit). Additionally, employees can utilize specialized equipment in specific aisles, tailored to the requirements of those zones.

Decreased travel time

Workers just stay in their zone, rather than repeatedly travelling throughout the warehouse. This greatly reduces travel time and consequently overall order picking time.

Decreased warehouse traffic

As workers remain within their designated zones, there is a decrease in aisle congestion and fewer individuals moving throughout the warehouse simultaneously, resulting in reduced congestion and bottlenecks.

Increased productivity

Decreased travel time and warehouse congestion both contribute to increased productivity. Additionally, zone picking enables robots and employees to collaborate on fulfilling a single order, resulting in quicker order completion.

Workers become specialized in their zones.

Limited to one zone, workers learn the SKUs and their locations in that zone. That knowledge helps them pick faster and more accurately.

If you’re interested in utilizing Bottobo solutions like "zone picking" in your warehouse, reach out to us.

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