Hero Highlight: Vision picking

Order picking strategies to improve your logistics processes

Order picking is one of the most critical processes in logistics and contributes to a company’s success. Complete, timely order fulfillment keeps customers happy. It helps companies maintain a competitive edge. TeamViewer can help you optimize these processes.

Order picking at a glance

Proper picking processes in your warehouse are an important aspect of warehouse management. It affects the speed, accuracy, and cost of order fulfillment. The picking method you choose should fit your business. Think about your company’s size, order volume, and priorities. Then you can optimize your picking processes with the right technology. Have you considered inventory management software, mobile scanners, or light picking? Or even augmented reality? They all reduce errors, improve accuracy, and increase productivity.

Follow the best practices and strategies for warehouse order picking. This will improve customer satisfaction, efficiency, and profitability.

Chose a warehouse picking system that’s right for your business

When deciding on the right warehouse picking strategy to meet your organization’s needs, you need to consider;  

  • the number, frequency, and size of orders, 
  • the type and quantity of items you distribute, 
  • the number of warehouse workers you employ, their working hours and their safety, 
  • the layout and available square footage of your warehouse, and 
  • the technology on offer. 

Some of the most common warehouse picking systems include:

  • Single order picking

    Customer orders are compiled individually and processed one after another. This can be a suitable option for businesses with a small range or limited storage.

  • Batch order picking

    Customer orders are grouped into batches and processed together. This reduces travel time and increases productivity.

  • Cluster order picking

    Customer orders are picked simultaneously using a single picking device. This can be a cart or a tote, that has separate compartments for each order.

  • Wave order picking

    Customer orders are scheduled and released in waves. The criteria for this are priority, shipping time, or destination. This allows for better coordination of resources and activities within the warehouse.

  • Zone order picking

    The warehouse is divided into zones. Each warehouse worker is assigned to a specific zone. The warehouse worker only picks items from that zone and passes the order to the next zone or a consolidation area. This reduces travel time and congestion in the warehouse.

You may decide to use a combination of systems, such as Zone/Batch or Zone/Wave, to optimize your picking system.

The pros and cons of popular warehouse picking processes

There are several ways a warehouse worker can process an order. Steps include receiving instructions, performing the task, and confirming completion. Each picking process has its advantages and disadvantages. The best choice depends on your company’s specific resources, budget, and goals.


With pick-by-paper, all information about the order can be found on a printed pick list. This includes item type, quantity ordered, and storage location. Based on this information, the picker retrieves the required items and confirms the pick by checking them off on a paper list.

Pick-by-paper solutions are easy to implement, and new employees can be trained quickly. Overall, this picking process is very cost-effective because the initial investment is low. Workflows can be adapted to new requirements, making it a very flexible option.

But pick-by-paper is error-prone. The picking process can also be time-consuming because the warehouse worker cannot work hands-free. There is no real-time network communication with a WMS, inventory control system, or order tracking program.


The picking list is displayed on a mobile data entry (MDE) device. To confirm that an item has been added to the order, the worker scans a barcode on the shelf or on the product itself. This is done using the device's built-in barcode reader. 

Pick-by-scan enables real-time communication with the Warehouse Management System. This eliminates the need for analog pick lists. The WMS manages, controls, and optimizes all operations in a warehouse. The system tracks inventory from the time it is received until it leaves the warehouse after picking. Communication with the WMS greatly reduces the risk of errors and speeds up internal processes. The WMS adjusts inventory numbers in real time immediately after scanning.

However, the handler still has to hold a scanner, which means that they have one hand free at most. The user interface of Pick-by-scan solutions can be confusing and not very intuitive. This can lead to longer training times for new workers and cause them to be confused, which means they make more mistakes and lose more time.


Pick-by-light eliminates the need for a pick list altogether, as small LEDs on the shelves light up to show the picker the items to be picked. Digital displays next to the shelves show the quantity ordered. The worker then confirms the pick by pressing a button on the shelf.

This approach to picking is paperless and frees the warehouse worker's hands for other tasks. Less search time also means faster picking, and the workflow is easy to learn. However, the capital cost is high. Pick-by-light solutions typically require specific changes to the warehouse infrastructure and setup. This also means that adapting workflows is often complicated. For example, the light signal is displayed without any connection to a specific order. This makes pick-by-light rather inflexible.

How technology improves warehouse order picking

  • Automate the order picking process

    Using robots, conveyors, sorters, or other devices. This reduces human errors and increases speed and accuracy.

  • Integrate the picking system with other warehouse systems

    Examples include inventory management, order management, or warehouse management. This improves visibility, coordination, and communication.

  • Optimize picking routes

    This can be done using algorithms, software, or artificial intelligence.  This minimizes travel time and distance, improving productivity and efficiency.

  • Improve warehouse worker performance

    This can be done using wearable devices, voice recognition, barcode scanners or RFID tags. Benefits include real-time information, guidance, and feedback.

Enhance your order picking with an industrial augmented reality solution

Industrial augmented reality (AR) solutions are the next step in order picking. AR systems like TeamViewer Frontline's pick-by-vision solution xPick enhance the real world. They are increasingly used in warehouse order picking. Warehouse workers receive visual or audio guidance, instructions and support. For example, AR-enabled smart glasses or headsets can display the optimal route for picking items. They also integrate barcode or QR code scanning capabilities. Relevant information about the order or products is also provided. AR can also reduce training time and costs for new hires. These solutions help workers learn order fulfillment processes faster.

The key to AR assisted order picking is the smart glasses or head-mounted display (HMD) that the warehouse worker wears. The warehouse worker sees information about the order right in his or her field of view. For example, the location of the item is displayed. The HMD also displays the item to be selected. Information includes the item number or a picture, as well as the quantity required. The operator confirms the pick with a scan, either with an integrated camera or a separate scanner connected via Bluetooth. Possible accessories include an ergonomic ring, glove scanners or wearable RFID technology.

Pick-by-vision technology with AR reduces training and onboarding time for warehouse workers. Step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and provide the necessary information currently it is needed. This intuitive and visual approach to picking accelerates the learning process. Warehouse workers start adding value almost immediately. 

The picking process throughout the warehouse is also faster, as people tend to take in information more quickly with visual cues. Any relevant instructions or messages are immediately displayed on the screen. The warehouse worker also benefits from hands-free operation and ergonomic wearables.

AR systems are flexible, Wi-Fi-based solutions. There is usually no need to change the warehouse infrastructure. Standard interfaces allow vision picking systems to integrate with most warehouse management systems.

xPick: the AR warehouse picking system from TeamViewer Frontline

TeamViewer Frontline is a cloud-based enterprise productivity platform. It enables the use of industrial AR technology along the entire value chain.

Frontline uses augmented reality to empower workers in various industries. Applications include digitized logistics, manufacturing, inspection, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

xPick is a vision picking system and part of the TeamViewer Frontline platform. It uses smart glasses to guide and assist warehouse workers in fulfilling orders. It also supports other wearable and mobile devices. Frontline streamlines the picking process in warehouses by:

  • Increasing productivity

    Workers receive guidance and item locations on their smart glasses. This eliminates the need for paper lists or handheld scanners.

  • Increasing accuracy

    Workers are alerted to any errors. Modules for weight verification, barcode scanning, or voice verification increase productivity.

  • Improving ergonomics

    Hands-free operation reduces strain and fatigue for workers.

  • Improving visibility

    Integration with other systems provides real-time analysis of inventory, performance, and productivity.

xPick helps operators to optimize their picking processes. This reduces errors and costs and increases customer satisfaction.