The Sequencing Best Practice to Boost Warehouse Order Picking Efficiency

This best practice is known as location sequencing. It means that when you are configuring your locations for picking purposes, replenishment, and for put-away purposes in the reserve area in the top level position. While doing this you would have picked the naming convention to streamline the picking.

On top of it there is also the ability to configure something called as the location sequencing. It means that you do not want your pickers to the same location twice which is also known as zig-zagging. Optimizing the picking process will make your picking operators to walk less. Unproductive labor such as unproductive walking due to skipping does not directly translate to picking. The more you pick the more you can ship, the more you ship the more you can invoice and the more you invoice, the more money you make. 

It’s important to follow the location sequence as it makes everything optimum. I’ve seen in some WMS where while they are picking from the current location, especially in the path where they’re walking through and then picking something like a batch picking process, they could not only see their current location where they are picking. They could even see the next location where they have to go and based on that they could even skip aisles if there are no picks in that aisle. 

There is no point in going through that aisle even though the picker takes that path. It makes it even more efficient if your picks little sporadic and not dense. I mean that’s difficult to control as it’s all based on the order that’s coming. With ABC velocity SKUs you can control it to some extent but it’s not going to be always perfectly controllable. From a put away perspective after building the pallets the receiver can go to the reserve area and can drop-off the every case according to the location sequence. If you have to tweak the location sequence based on the slotting optimization you can also plan accordingly, that would be beneficial. 

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Put a pedometer on your pickers and then measure one of the distances that they are walking. They are walking all day which means that miles and miles of distance. Looking at that data and then making sure that the location sequence is followed will make the picking process more optimum. Making sure that they are picking faster and minimizing the walk time in doing the picking will help you in making the picking process optimum. This is something that I’ve done in my WMS implementation all the time and that’s a standard practice and that’s the method I was amazed to see in other distribution centers where they didn’t have this and where people are picking by tribal knowledge. They pick every time when they’re looking at the picking location like “this is where I need to go next, I mean in the paper picking process. The locations are listed in sequence and that they follow that sequence.

These processes are not always done and it’s something simple that you could do quickly and get some good  gains out of your picking. The gains of efficiency from your picking process is something to think about. Hopefully this is helpful and please let us know your comments in the section below.

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Puga Sankara
Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. So far, Smart Gladiator Wearables have been used to ship, receive, and scan more than 50 million boxes. Users love them for the lightweight, easy-to-use soft overlay keyboard and video chatting ability, data collection ability etc. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 17 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at or visit the company at Also follow him at
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