Changing Direction: Goods-to-Person

Clogged aisles? Congested pick zones? Bottlenecks in your DC? Fueled by e-commerce growth, warehouses are changing the way they fulfill orders. Instead of bringing the pickers to the goods to pick items, companies are using automation to take goods to the person. Statistics show that order pickers spend 60 percent of their day traveling within the warehouse and only 40 percent picking. Eliminating picker travel by bringing the goods to persons, companies can increase productivity and improve efficiencies.


The goods-to-person fulfillment model minimizes wasted time between picks and increases the number of orders each person can process. Instead of sending workers out to retrieve goods, the concept utilizes automated material handling equipment to bring the goods to the person in a fixed spot. Order pickers do not need to walk the warehouse, instead products come to them on conveyors, automated storage and retrieval systems, mobile storage shelves, etc. By reducing travel time, productivity is increased.

High-density storage systems, AS/RS, high-speed conveyors and other automated material handling equipment is used within the goods-to-person model.  For one client, UNEX developed special shelving and carton flow units that allows robots to pick items that are then taken to the picker.

In the goods-to-person model, SKUs are retrieved from storage as directed by order management and brought to the picker at a pick station or palletizing station. Pickers place the items into the appropriate container or on a pallet. Fulfillment accuracy is greatly enhanced as the right goods are delivered directly to the workers, so there is no chance for a mis-pick. Since the picker does not have to walk, the focus at the pick stations and pack stations is on ergonomics and high productivity.

E-commerce and omni-channel retailing have created the increased need for the goods-to-person order fulfillment model due to smaller, more frequent order sizes that tax warehouse labor. The goods-to-person approach works perfectly in high-volume operations that require lots of piece picking. Bringing the goods to your pickers means they no longer have to travel several miles per day throughout your warehouse on concrete floors, wasting time and energy – and putting a lot of stress on their bodies.

Change direction – use goods-to-person for happy workers with happy feet.