Pallet Picking: Everything You Need to Know

Streamline order fulfillment with pallet picking. Discover its benefits, challenges, and more within this article.

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As a warehouse manager, you may be struggling with inefficiencies in order fulfillment, frequent delays, or high labor costs.

Perhaps your current picking methods can't keep up with large orders or high volumes of the same SKU. If these issues sound familiar, pallet picking might be the solution you need.

Pallet picking involves moving entire pallets of products instead of individual items or cases, making it faster and more efficient. This method is ideal for warehouses handling bulk orders or high-consumption items, helping to streamline operations, reduce errors, and cut costs.

In this guide, we will explain what pallet picking is, how it works, and the signs that indicate it might be right for your warehouse. We'll also cover the benefits and challenges, giving you a comprehensive overview to help you decide if this approach aligns with your goals.

What is Pallet Picking?

Pallet picking is a warehouse order fulfillment process where entire pallets of goods are selected and moved to the packing or shipping area.

This method is widely used in industries handling large volumes of products, such as retail, manufacturing, and logistics.

By picking whole pallets rather than individual items or cases, warehouses can significantly increase the speed and efficiency of their operations, ensuring timely and accurate order fulfillment.

How It Works

Pallet picking involves several key steps to ensure products are efficiently and safely retrieved and prepared for shipment. Here are the key steps from start to finish.

Step 1: Inventory Management and Planning

Efficient pallet picking begins with accurate inventory management. Warehouses use Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) to track the location, quantity, and status of each pallet.

This real-time data allows warehouse managers to plan picking routes and prioritize high-demand products.

Utilizing technologies like RFID and barcode scanning ensures that inventory information is always up-to-date, enabling managers to analyze inventory data, optimize storage layouts, and minimize travel time.

Step 2: Equipment Preparation

The choice of equipment depends on the warehouse setup and the height at which pallets are stored.

Common equipment includes forklifts for picking pallets from high racks, pallet jacks and trolleys for lower levels and tight spaces, and combi type VNA trucks that allow operators to pick from higher levels while remaining in the cab, improving safety and efficiency.

Step 3: Picking the Pallets

Warehouse operators follow planned routes to retrieve the required pallets. The picking process is guided by the WMS, which provides real-time instructions and ensures the correct pallets are selected.

Operators use pallet jacks or trolleys for low-level picking, while forklifts or VNA trucks are used for pallets stored at higher levels to ensure safe and efficient retrieval.

Step 4: Moving to Packing or Shipping

Once picked, the pallets are moved to the packing or shipping area. This stage involves careful handling to prevent damage to the goods and ensure they are ready for transport.

Pallets are transported using forklifts or conveyor systems. In the packing area, pallets may be further divided if required, or additional packaging materials are added to secure the products for shipping.

Step 5: Final Checks and Documentation

Before shipment, final checks are conducted to verify the accuracy of the picked orders. Documentation is updated in the WMS to reflect the movement and status of the pallets. This involves ensuring the correct pallets have been picked and are ready for shipment, and updating the WMS to maintain accurate records and track the shipment process.

Following these steps streamlines pallet picking, reduces errors, and boosts efficiency, ensuring large orders are accurately and promptly fulfilled for B2B and B2C needs.

What are the Benefits and Challenges of Pallet Picking?


Pallet picking offers several significant advantages for warehouse operations, particularly for those handling large volumes of products.

These benefits contribute to increased efficiency, accuracy, and overall cost savings.

Increased Efficiency

Pallet picking is highly efficient, especially for operations dealing with high-volume orders. By picking entire pallets instead of individual items or cases, warehouses can significantly reduce the time and labor involved in the picking process.

Whole pallets can be moved quickly with forklifts or pallet jacks, allowing for faster order fulfillment. Minimizing the number of touches each product goes through reduces the likelihood of errors and damage, streamlining the picking process.

Improved Accuracy

Using pallets for order fulfillment enhances accuracy by reducing the number of individual picks and thereby minimizing the chances of mistakes. Whole pallets typically contain single SKUs, simplifying the tracking and management of inventory.

Integrating technologies like RFID and barcode scanning ensures that pallets are correctly identified and picked, further enhancing accuracy.

Cost Savings

Pallet picking can lead to substantial cost savings in several ways. By reducing the time and effort required for picking, labor costs are lowered. Fewer pickers are needed, and those who are employed can be more productive.

Additionally, efficient pallet picking minimizes the wear and tear on equipment, reducing maintenance and replacement costs.


Pallet picking is suitable for a wide range of products and industries. Whether dealing with bulk items or large quantities of smaller items, pallet picking can be adapted to fit various needs.

It can be used in different warehouse layouts and for different product types, from consumer goods to industrial parts, making it easily scalable to meet increasing order volumes without significant changes to existing processes.


Despite its benefits, pallet picking also presents several challenges that warehouses must address to ensure efficient and safe operations.

Accurate Inventory Management

Accurate inventory management is critical for efficient pallet picking. Inaccurate data can lead to picking errors, delays, and increased costs. Maintaining up-to-date and accurate inventory records is essential.

Any discrepancies can result in incorrect picks and longer fulfillment times. Utilizing WMS and automated tracking systems can help maintain accurate inventory information and provide real-time updates to warehouse staff.

Optimized Warehouse Layout

An optimized warehouse layout is necessary to facilitate smooth pallet picking operations.

Poorly planned layouts can lead to inefficiencies and increased risk of accidents. Ensuring adequate space for equipment movement and storage is vital, and aisles must be wide enough for forklifts and other machinery.

High-consumption products should be placed in easily accessible locations to minimize travel time and increase picking speed.

Equipment and Training

Proper equipment and training are crucial for efficient and safe pallet picking. Inadequate equipment or lack of training can significantly hinder operations.

Regular maintenance of forklifts, pallet jacks, and other equipment is necessary to avoid breakdowns and ensure smooth operations.

Comprehensive training programs for staff on the correct use of equipment and safety protocols can prevent accidents and improve efficiency.

Safety Concerns

Handling heavy pallets and operating machinery in a busy warehouse environment pose safety risks that need to be managed effectively.

Ensuring that pallets are not overloaded and are properly secured can prevent accidents caused by falling loads.

Implementing strict safety protocols and regular safety training can help mitigate risks associated with pallet picking.

Signs That You Should Use Pallet Picking for Your Warehousing Needs

If you're still unsure whether implementing pallet picking for your warehouse operations is right for you, check the signs below:

High Volume of Large Orders

If your warehouse frequently handles large orders with multiple units of the same SKU, pallet picking can significantly enhance efficiency.

This method is ideal for B2B operations or industries like manufacturing and retail where bulk orders are common. By picking entire pallets, you can streamline the order fulfillment process and reduce the time and labor required to handle large volumes of goods.

Need for Speed and Efficiency

Pallet picking is highly efficient, especially when speed is crucial for your operations.

If your warehouse needs to fulfill orders quickly, such as in fast-paced industries or during peak seasons, pallet picking can help meet these demands.

The ability to move whole pallets at once minimizes handling time and accelerates the picking process, allowing for faster order turnaround times.

High SKU Concentration

If your warehouse stores products with high SKU concentration per pallet, pallet picking is advantageous.

This method works best when each pallet contains a single SKU, simplifying inventory management and reducing picking errors. It ensures that large quantities of the same product can be quickly and accurately picked, which is beneficial for maintaining high inventory accuracy and operational efficiency.

Automation and Technology Integration

Warehouses looking to integrate advanced technologies and automation into their operations will benefit from pallet picking.

Automated systems like Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), RFID, and barcode scanning can greatly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of pallet picking.

These technologies provide real-time inventory tracking, optimized picking routes, and reduced manual errors, making pallet picking a seamless and productive process.

Optimized Space Utilization

If maximizing warehouse space is a priority, pallet picking can be highly beneficial.

This method allows for the use of vertical space and high-density storage configurations, making the most of the available warehouse footprint.

By storing and picking from high shelves or utilizing automated storage systems, you can increase storage capacity without expanding the physical warehouse space.

Cost Reduction and Labor Efficiency

Pallet picking can lead to significant cost savings by reducing labor costs and improving worker productivity.

If your warehouse aims to lower operational costs, this method can help by minimizing the number of pickers needed and reducing the time spent on each pick. Additionally, the use of proper equipment and regular maintenance can further enhance efficiency and reduce long-term costs.

Safety and Ergonomics

For warehouses focusing on safety and ergonomics, pallet picking can help reduce the physical strain on workers. Handling whole pallets with forklifts or automated systems minimizes manual lifting and movement of heavy items, decreasing the risk of workplace injuries. Implementing safety protocols and ensuring proper training for equipment use can further enhance worker safety and operational efficiency.

Consider these signs to determine if pallet picking is right for your warehouse. It offers benefits like increased efficiency, accuracy, cost savings, and safety, making it a valuable strategy.


In conclusion, pallet picking is a vital process for warehouses handling large volumes of goods, but it comes with challenges such as inefficiency, inaccuracies, and high operational costs.

Packiyo addresses these pain points effectively with its comprehensive suite of features. Accurate inventory management with real-time tracking ensures precision, while efficient order fulfillment through automation and optimized picking routes reduces delays and labor costs.

Advanced picking technologies like mobile smart picking and bulk shipping enhance speed and accuracy. Seamless integration with existing systems, detailed real-time reporting, and the ability to customize and scale ensure that Packiyo can meet the evolving needs of your warehouse operations.

If you want to read similar topics, be sure to check out our blog where we’ve covered recent topics such as 'What is Inventory Reporting', 'Pick, Pack, and Ship', and more.

We hope we’ve helped you understand what pallet picking is in greater depth, and we look forward to seeing you in our next article. Take care!


What types of products are best suited for pallet picking? Pallet picking is ideal for products that are stored and shipped in bulk. These include items like beverages, industrial goods, construction materials, and large retail items. Products with high SKU concentration, where each pallet contains a single type of item, are particularly well-suited for this method because it simplifies inventory management and picking accuracy.

How does pallet picking compare to case picking and piece picking? Pallet picking involves moving entire pallets of products, making it faster and more efficient for handling large volumes. In contrast, case picking involves selecting individual cases from a pallet, and piece picking requires picking individual items. While case and piece picking are more flexible for smaller or mixed orders, pallet picking is more efficient for large, homogeneous orders.

What equipment is typically used in pallet picking operations? Common equipment used in pallet picking includes forklifts, pallet jacks, and trolleys. For higher levels, mid-high reach pickers or combi type VNA trucks are used, where the operator’s cabin rises with the load. Automated systems, such as Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and robotic pallet pickers, are also increasingly used to enhance efficiency and reduce labor costs.

How can technology improve the pallet picking process? Technology can significantly enhance pallet picking through the use of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), RFID, and barcode scanning. These systems provide real-time inventory tracking, optimize picking routes, and reduce errors. Advanced technologies like AI and machine learning can further optimize pick paths and inventory management, increasing overall efficiency and accuracy.

What safety protocols should be followed during pallet picking? Safety protocols for pallet picking include ensuring that pallets are not overloaded and are properly secured, using appropriate lifting techniques, and operating machinery safely. Warehouses should implement regular safety training for workers, maintain clear aisles to prevent accidents, and use safety barriers or signs to designate picking areas. Automated systems can also reduce the need for manual handling, further enhancing safety.

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