Warehouse operations consist of receiving goods, storage, order picking and shipping.
Order picking is the costliest process of warehouse operations. Manual order picking usually consists of a number of steps that are quite similar for different warehouses. The process is started by the order picker receiving a
picking list with different items that are to be picked. The picker then walks or drives a forklift to the locations of the items on the lists and collects the required quantity either on a trolley, pallet or some other form of load carrier. The picker returns to the starting location or a packaging station where the collected items are packaged and then shipped off to customers. Manual order picking is a labour-intensive activity and can be quite
time-consuming according – by some estimates more than 50 % of the operating expenses of a warehouse may be due to order picking, as a result of the labour-intensive nature of manual order picking.