Choosing a Warehouse Cart for Piece Picking

Choosing a Warehouse Cart for Piece Picking


Piece picking, also known as broken case picking or pick-and-pack, is a time-intensive process in which workers retrieve individual items (as opposed to cases or pallets).

In modern markets, piece picking is practically unavoidable — and potentially expensive, since it relies on manual labor. That’s one reason that the market for piece picking robots is expected to grow to $5.71 billion by 2028.

But for many warehouses and storage centers, automation isn’t a practical solution (at least, not yet). Human judgment is part of order fulfillment, particularly in operations with regularly changing inventory. Humans are faster, more capable, and more flexible than automated solutions, which is why automation leaders like Amazon still rely on people to handle most order packing tasks.

To help your workers manage piece picking efficiently, you’ll need ergonomic equipment that can be maneuvered through your facility.

Understanding the Challenges of Broken Case Picking

At scale, , so every optimization has an enormous return on investment. Piece picking presents some obvious issues for warehouses:

  • Workers must select the right items by quantity and SKU, and without accurate tracking, errors are likely.
  • Putaway errors can slow down order picking.
  • Item bins may be located throughout a facility, which increases the travel needed for packing.
  • Equipment issues can lead to product damage or multiple trips per order.
  • Non-ergonomic equipment can lead to unnatural movements, raising the risk of worker injuries.

Many of these problems can be addressed through management. Misspicks can be limited through the appropriate use of barcode scanners, for example, and warehouse mezzanines with vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) can limit travel within larger operations.

But ultimately, you still need humans moving through your facility. Those workers will need equipment that moves with them without forcing awkward movements (which leads to injuries and lost productivity) or extra trips to collect all of the items for particularly large orders.

Fortunately, broken case picking isn’t particularly complex. Material handling equipment simply needs to be ergonomic, durable, and appropriate for the task.

Order Picking Carts Designed for High-Throughput Piece Picking

The Order Picking Cart (OPC) from BHS is designed to keep merchandise moving. It’s a fully customizable solution, and the four standard models are engineered to fill orders:

  • Heavy-duty steel construction supports loads of up to 3,000 lb (1361 kg). Custom options are available for greater capacities (see below).
  • Standard models include three shelves and a base platform for product placement.
  • Two rigid and two swivel casters allow for reliable maneuverability, even in tight aisles.
  • Lipped shelving helps contain merchandise during transport.
  • An open-style frame provides visibility of contents for all sizes.
  • A durable powder-coat finish resists both corrosion and scratches.

The stock OPC models are an excellent option for general-purpose order picking, but customization can lead to a higher ROI.

Custom Options for More Efficient Order Picking

BHS provides extensive options for customizing OPCs. Put simply, if you can dream up a feature, we can work with your team to make it happen — while maintaining fast delivery times. 

Custom Order Picking Carts
Custom Order Picking Carts

Some examples of custom features for piece picking:

  • Custom shelving arrangements to allow pickers to handle multiple orders at once or to accommodate larger orders.
  • Fully adjustable and removable shelving.
  • Custom caster materials and configurations.
  • Caged shelving for pick-to-carton applications and for sorting bins.
  • Non-skid shelf surfaces, which can keep items in place while workers navigate ramps with heavy grades.
  • Custom color powder coatings, or uncoated stainless steel for sensitive environments.
  • Fully customizable dimensions, expanded load capacities, and more.

If you’re ready to optimize your approach to pick-and-pack, BHS can help. To explore custom features for the Order Picking Cart, contact the BHS sales team at 1.800.247.9500.