The complete guide to warehouse order pickers


To deliver your product to customers on time you need an efficient process for picking orders, and equipment that will make order picking fast and effortless.

What is a warehouse order picker?

A warehouse order picker is a piece of equipment used to pick and deliver goods needed for an order from storage. If your business fulfills orders, you should implement a warehouse order picking strategy that promotes speed, accuracy and safety. By streamlining order picking in your warehouse you can:

  • Improve order fulfillment times for your customers
  • Reduce complaints on faulty or damaged goods
  • Improve ergonomics for your warehouse staff
  • Save time and money by picking more orders in less time

Unlike traditional warehouse order pickers, TAWI’s order picker relieves warehouse workers from manual lifting. The vacuum lifter makes lifting quick and effortless, saving valuable strength and time. With the order picker, one warehouse worker can pick orders through a full 8-hour shift without any strain on arms, shoulders or back.

Why use a vacuum order picker?

Vacuum lifters enable effortless lifting when picking orders. The unique benefit of TAWI’s order picker is that it is a free-standing unit, easily attachable to any forklift or pallet jack. In other words, you won’t be dependent on one specific forklift unit. Instead, the TAWI Mobile Order Picker can be picked up by any forklift, used for picking one or more orders, and then taken over by another forklift or pallet jack.

TAWI’s order picker is a mobile vacuum lift system that enables effortless and ergonomic handling of all types of goods. The operator can easily pick boxes of varying size and shape, bags or other packaged goods with minimal physical effort.

In fact, the order picker will often enable one person to do what is normally a 2-man job. The order picker vacuum unit enables anyone to lift large and heavy goods that they would not be able to lift manually.

Person lifting 25kg sack using a vacuum lifter.

Warehouse order picker lifting plastic bag onto pallet.

What is the maximum weight which is safe for the vacuum lifter to pick?

Vacuum lifters come in different sizes, able to lift different weights. The wider the lift tube diameter, the heavier goods you can lift. TAWI’s order picker is compatible with vacuum units handling up to 176 lbs. However, the maximum lifting capacity also varies depending on the goods you need to lift. A more permeable load can reduce lifting capacity.

Order picking challenges

A key objective for successful order picking is to implement a process that will increase both productivity and accuracy. As Dave Piasecki notes in this article on order picking these two objectives are often in conflict with each other as a method that focuses on accuracy may for example sacrifice productivity. TAWI’s order picker solution resolves this conflict by enabling high speed order picking without compromising accuracy. The vacuum powered order pickers enable operators to pick orders at high speed, still allowing them to handle goods with care and attention.

Order picking methods

Finding the best order picking method for your business is essential for success. Which method is best suited for your business is dependent on several factors including type of operation, type of products, volume of orders handled, number of picks on a given order and number of picks from a given SKU. Below are some of the most popular order picking methods.

  • Discrete Order Picking. One order picker picks one order, one line at a time. This method is simple, provides fast response time for order fulfillment and allows easy tracking of order picker accuracy.
  • Zone picking. Every order picker is assigned one physically defined zone in the warehouse. The picker assigned to each zone is responsible for picking all SKUs located in this zone for each order.
  • Batch picking. One order picker picks a batch of orders at the same time, one SKU at a time. This method is superior when there are multiple orders with the same SKU, if orders normally have only a few SKUs.


How to be a faster warehouse order picker

Using proper order picking equipment will help streamline the order picking process to some extent. But to fully ensure fast order picking, the warehouse layout and operational processes also need to be considered. Here are some examples of warehouse improvement ideas.

  • Ensure product availability. Check and replenish inventory as needed. There are software solutions available to help you keep track of the status of your inventory.
  • Prioritize product placement. Put the most frequently ordered items near the entrance of the picking area. Sort according to popularity, placing the least frequently ordered products at the back.
  • Review warehouse layout. The way products are arranged in the warehouse greatly affects the speed and efficiency of the picking process. Grouping similar items together is often beneficial. The warehouse layout can also influence routing practices. Do you have items that are often ordered together? Make sure they are stored in proximity to each other.

What is the maximum weight which is safe for the order picker to lift?

Deduct the order picker weight (1,400 lbs) from your forklift’s capacity and you know how much you can safely load on your pallet. Forklift capacities often start at 3,000 lbs, meaning you can safely load at least 1,600 lbs on your pallet with the order picker. You will find the rated capacity for your forklift on its data plate.

In addition to the weight of the order picker unit you also need to consider the distribution on the pallet. If your load is oddly shaped or heavier on one end, the load center shifts towards the heavy end. This altered load center must be considered to ensure safe lifting. If in doubt, contact TAWI for advice on loading capacity for your order picker.

Order picking with mobile vacuum lifter on forklift

Warehouse order picker moving from pallet rack to pallet rack quick and easy.

Read more about: TAWI Mobile Order Picker | order picking

Related Content

Man checking shipping container on a trailer

Managing risks when unpacking shipping containers

An estimated 21 million shipping containers are currently moving goods from one point to another, with over 500 million loose loaded container shipments every year. This poses challenges to container unloading health & safety as the large majority of loose loaded containers are loaded and unloaded manually. What we need is an efficient, economical way to manage health and safety risks when packing and unpacking containers.

Read More

Workers moving boxes on pallet in logistics warehouse

Move Past the Competition by Optimizing Your Inbound Logistics Material Handling

Optimize Your Inbound Logistics: Across the world, companies are gearing up to cope with the boom in e-commerce fueled by the Covid pandemic. Like never before, the supply chain is flooded by containers and stillages piled high with packages big and small, carrying everything from tires, gym equipment, white goods and electronics to clothing, wellies or wine.

Read More

Need more info? Contact us here

Reach out to us anytime and we’ll be happy to help you.
Do you need an urgent response, please call us at 630-655-2905
(8 AM–5 PM, CDT)
Are you looking for replacement parts? Please contact us at

Get in touch?

Please specify what you want to lift with measures and weight, size of working area, and lifting height to get as accurate a quote as possible.

Are you unsure?
Call us at 630-655-2905 (8 AM–5 PM, CDT) for advice

Get in touch

Go to the top