Pick and pack

Pick and pack is a strategy that can help simplify the fulfillment process, especially in regard to direct shipping or dropshipping. Learn how selecting the pick and pack warehouse that uses the right method for your needs can save you money and optimize your customer experience.

What is pick and pack?

Pick and pack is a type of order fulfillment method involving selecting (or "picking") the right kind and amount of items from warehouse shelves and packaging (or "packing") them for shipping. Instead of prepping and shipping whole pallets or cases of goods, a business can use warehouse workers who pull individual products from master boxes or containers on warehouse shelves and place them into appropriate envelopes or shipping boxes labeled for delivery.

This warehouse setup works particularly well for ecommerce businesses as they tend to ship smaller orders that require them to pack specific items for delivery.


What is a standard pick and pack process?

1. Order receiving

Once customers place their orders, those orders are transmitted to the pick and pack fulfillment center via packing slips generated at the time of ordering; these packing slips can be in either digital form or physical printouts. The use of barcodes on products and packing slips helps the picker to locate the correct items for order fulfillment.

2. Order picking

At the fulfillment center, the picker retrieves each of the items on the packing slip from the warehouse shelves. Often, pickers will retrieve batches of orders at once. Your methods and inventory storage strategy play an integral role in how efficient or inefficient this crucial stage of the pick and pack process occurs. There is no single best method or strategy for doing this; different businesses will benefit most from different methods and strategies, based, in large part, on sales volume.

3. Order packing

The picker delivers the items to the packing station, where the team securely boxes, seals, and labels them for shipment to the customer.

4. Order shipping

Once your team packages the orders on the packing slips, they then take them to the loading dock where they sort those orders according to the appropriate carrier. Carriers then retrieve those sorted packages to deliver to their respective customers.


Airhouse saved AÏYA 20 hours per week on packaging. Learn more.

What are the different pick and pack methods?

There are four common methods of picking and packing. Each one has its particular advantages, and which strategy you choose depends on which of these advantages serve you best.

Piece Picking

This is perhaps the most straightforward of picking methods. In this method, workers pick each order individually as it comes in. Upon receiving an order, the worker brings it into the warehouse and picks all the ordered items off the shelves. This method serves small warehouses particularly well, but it can be inefficient in most other warehouses.

Batch Picking

In a pick and pack warehouse with more traffic, batch picking is a more efficient picking method. It’s not too unlike piece picking, except instead of picking orders individually as they receive them, workers combine multiple orders into single batches. Then, they pick items for the whole batch of orders at once before sorting them into their respective individual packages for shipment.

Zone Picking

In this method, a warehouse is divided into several zones or areas. Order pickers are assigned to a specific zone and only pick ordered items in their particular zone. If an order contains items from multiple zones, pickers from each zone will pick the items from their zone to fulfill the order. As pickers place the items from their respective zone into the corresponding box, they then send that box on to the next relevant zone, either manually or by conveyor belt.

While this method involves multiple pickers instead of a single one to fulfill orders, it can be more efficient than other strategies for larger warehouses carrying a wider array of goods.

Wave Picking

This method is a combination of batch picking and zone picking. Here, instead of zone picking orders one at a time as they’re received, workers zone pick whole batches of orders at once.


What is a pick and pack warehouse?

For a pick and pack fulfillment method to work, companies need a well-functioning warehouse. This includes effective organization, skilled workers, and efficient packaging systems. These factors must all work seamlessly together to eliminate the possibility of errors, which can cost ecommerce businesses in lost revenue, customers, and reputation.

Different warehouses use different inventory storage strategies to best maximize the efficiency of their unique operations. The main inventory storage strategies these warehouses use are:

  • Chaotic: In which new SKUs are randomly added as new shelf space becomes available
  • Like With Like: In which inventory is organized by pertinent factors like size, color, or category
  • Volume: In which more popular items are shelved closest to the packing station, while less popular items are stored further away
  • Class-based: In which SKUs are shelved together according to classes, with new items added to any newly available shelf space within its class

What is pick and pack software?

This software helps to automate and simplify the process of picking and packing. It also helps to avoid costly errors. A system incorporating this type of software will help you more quickly and effectively pick the correct items and manage inventory to keep your pick and pack warehouse running smoothly and efficiently.




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