Carts and Desks for Retail Distribution and Other Industrial/Commercial Applications

In many cases, the simplest material handling solutions are the most efficient. Reliable order picking carts and sturdy, well-equipped packing desks can optimize the order filling process for dozens of industries.

Carts and packing desks are vital to material handling tasks, especially for warehouses and distribution centers (DCs) involved in retail logistics — but these dependable tools can also increase efficiency in all sorts of other facilities. In fact, any workplace that involves moving materials or boxing items for delivery will benefit from quality carts and packing desks, including:

  • Automotive repair and maintenance garages
  • Brick-and-mortar retail outlets and grocery stores
  • Academic and public libraries
  • Hospitals, clinics, and other health care agencies
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Food processing and production companies
  • Storage warehouses and distribution centers

For every application, BHS warehouse equipment offers the strength and durability to handle the toughest material handling demands. BHS Order Picking Carts and Shipping/Receiving Desks are perfectly suited to their native warehouse settings, but heavy-duty construction and scalability make them ideal tools for a range of industrial and commercial operations.

In this paper, we will focus on the use of carts and shipping desks in traditional and electronic (e-commerce) retail applications. This is not to diminish the potential benefits of order picking carts or ergonomically-designed desks in other industries; any business with a receiving/delivery department or a stock room is a great candidate for these tools.

Order Picking Carts and Shipping/Receiving Desks in Retail Distribution

Shipping, Receiving and Packing Station

Figure 1. The BHS Shipping/Receiving Desk (SRD) is a fully adjustable packing desk, available in left, right, or flush hand orientation.


The rapidly expanding e-commerce industry has introduced new urgency to order-filling practices at distribution centers all over the world. To understand the depth of change in the retail industry, it is helpful to look at the astonishing rate of growth in the e-commerce sector.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the nation’s retailers achieved e-commerce sales of $227 billion dollars in 2012.
  • There was a 14.7 percent increase in e-commerce sales between 2011 and 2012, and the market continues to trend upwards.
  • Research conducted by the real estate company CBRE Group suggests that e-commerce may account for 10 percent of all U.S. retail sales by 2017.

Because every e-commerce transaction depends on the picking process, reliable order filling equipment has a direct impact on operation profitability. The International Journal of Production Research reports that manual order picking is the most labor-intensive task performed in the modern warehouse, representing up to 65 percent of the total operating cost.

BHS Order Picking Carts (OPCs) cut down on these costs by allowing workers to fill many orders during a single picking tour. This operating strategy (known as pick-by-article) depends on robustly designed carts with multiple shelves to provide organization. With four fixed shelves and load capacities of up to 3,000 pounds, BHS OPCs are ideal for an efficient pick-by-article strategy.

BHS Shipping/Receiving Desks (SRDs) optimize ergonomics and improve access to essential order-filling tools such as barcode scanners, computer monitors, and shipping labels. Each facility can customize these packing desks to meet unique needs, ensuring efficient and accurate order packing.

Carts and Desks in Traditional Retail Establishments

As The Seattle Times reports, traditional retail has been growing alongside e-commerce since 2000. Shelf stocking is a key task for these brick-and-mortar stores, and efficient order handling leads directly to improved profitability.

BHS Order Picking Carts can assist in safe and efficient stocking operations. They are particularly suited to retailers dealing in bulky or heavy products, such as dealers in mechanical components and the automotive industry. Durable steel materials can offer excellent reliability while securing heavier products, preventing damage due to mishandling.

Many retailers manage both e-commerce and traditional retail from the same facility; for these businesses, the BHS SRD is an ideal workspace. Not only does the SRD provide a convenient station for logging incoming loads, it can double as an order-packing center with clear ergonomic benefits for workers.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) cautions employees against frequent reaching or repetitive bending over work surfaces. Such actions are risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders. The SRD provides customized cutouts that allow workers safe access to the full range of the desk’s surface, along with any scanner, paper roll, or computer required for work tasks. These ergonomic advantages prevent injury and improve efficiency in every application.

Order Picking Cart (OPC)

Figure 2. The BHS Order Picking Cart (OPC) is ideal for processing orders and moving merchandise.


BHS Material Handling Equipment for Your Workplace

The interaction between carts and shipping desks is usually very simple: workers use carts to transport items to shipping/receiving desks, where they can be logged, packed, and shipped. Together, these two tools comprise a reliable system for filling orders.

In addition to the heavy-duty steel construction, BHS Order Picking Carts (OPCs) feature rugged, phenolic casters and fork pockets that are compatible with any standard lift truck. These features give the BHS OPC the versatility to fit into any workplace.

The BHS Shipping/Receiving Desk (SRD) achieves a similar level of utility with a long list of customizable features, including cut-outs for left- or right-handed workers and a completely adjustable monitor mount and keyboard tray. By matching the specifications of a packing desk to the workforce, facility managers can realize powerful ergonomic benefits, with associated productivity increases.


Chackelson, Claudia, et al. “Evaluating Order Picking Performance Trade-Offs By Configuring Main Operating Strategies In A Retail Distributor: A Design Of Experiments Approach.” International Journal Of Production Research 51.20 (2013): 6097-6109. Business Source Premier. Web. 20 May 2015.

“E-commerce Activity Driving Increased Demand for Prime Warehouse and Distribution Space.” mmh. Peerless Media Network, 23 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.

“E-Stats – Measuring the Electronic Economy.” E-Stats, Main Page. United States Census Bureau, 22 May 2014. Web. 20 May 2015.

Hagspihl, R., and S. E. Visagie. “The Number Of Pickers And Stock-Keeping Unit Arrangement On A Unidirectional Picking Line.” South African Journal Of Industrial Engineering 25.3 (2014): 169-183. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 May 2015.

“How Much Online Business Is Done Every 30 Seconds? Incredible E-Commerce Statistics! [INFOGRAPHIC].” SocialTimes. Adweek, 11 Jul. 2014. Web. 20 May 2015.

“Rapid Growth Of E-Commerce Reshaping US Industrial Market.” Cbre. CBRE Group, Inc., 8 July 2014. Web. 20 May 2015.

Talton, Jon. “The E-commerce Growth Surprise, in Three Charts.” The Seattle Times. 18 May 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.

BHS Competitor Websites Consulted for This Article:

Download PDF