Wave Picking Vs Batch Picking: Which Is The Best Choice?

Learn about the pros and cons of wave picking vs batch picking, so you can make a decision that's right for your business.

Wave Picking Vs Batch Picking: Which Is The Best Choice?

For choosing the best option between wave picking and batch picking, we need to understand the utilization of an optimum approach towards orders management. Let’s first look over both terminologies and then evaluate.

Batch Picking

In this type of order picking, the picker picks the items from a single stock-keeping unit (SKU) from different orders in its batch picking carts as a single collection. This saves the selector from repeatedly accessing the exact location for the items again and again. 

Batch picking is optimum for SKUs as low as 5 to 6. This has a low risk of causing order repetition or redundancy in the order invoices. After the items are collected at a point, packing station, the items are packed into several orders as per the quantity demanded by each buyer. 

Wave Picking

It is a type of order picking protocol in which the orders based on similar categories are picked together. Assuming the store gets scheduled deliveries for 30 orders in 4 hrs, the orders will be divided into categories like out of 30, 10 orders to be stamped fragile, 15 orders to be sent via air, and the remaining 5 to be sent to a specific location. 

This way, the orders are picked and prioritized by the waves. The first wave would be executed, picking ten fragile orders sometimes, then the latter two order categories would be selected as wave picking. 

In this order picking method, one order and one SKU are picked and grouped in a similar order category. 

Which Protocol Is The Best Choice?

Batch Picking requires a one-time location visit per SKU for multiple orders. For Wave Picking in a warehouse, various waves are picked per shift. 

Batch picking works ideally for a small business or warehouse. Wave picking can be scalable, in this case, for a more significant business. In this scenario, a wave order picker is encouraged.

Due to the one-time visit of location in batch picking, pickers at the warehouse prefer that due to less collision, a minor threat to damage, and less visit to one spot. In contrast, wave picking is restricted to order picking relating to a specific time, material and different zones. Wave picking puts the SKU at risk by visiting the location repeatedly.

Batch picking carts cause cart traffic in the warehouses; employees are bumping their carts into each other when moving from aisle to aisle. This is not the case in wave picking. 

Both wave picking and batch picking are better in their way. These methods are chosen based on whichever fulfills the goal of achieving productivity and efficiency in the business. 

Conclusion

So, what's the verdict? Wave picking or batch picking? As with most things in life, it depends on your specific situation. If you have a large inventory and are processing orders quickly, wave picking is likely the better choice. However, if you have a smaller inventory or need more time to process orders, batch picking may be a better option for you.

 At Simpl Fulfillment, we know both methods inside and out. Let us handle your fulfillment needs - our team of professionals will help you choose the method that's best for your business!

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