What Do Pickers Do?

The world of logistics is all about different activities related to movement of goods from one place to another: booking of shipments, transportation, storage, picking and packing, distribution, shipping and delivery.

One of the important roles in a logistics facility such as a warehouse or a distribution centre is that of a picker. But what do pickers do? Read on to find out!

Role of a Picker

Pickers help in dispatching goods from the warehouse storage to the customers. They have a deep understanding of the warehouse’s layout so they are able to easily navigate the warehouse to find the right aisle. They read incoming orders, pick items from their respective shelves and get them to a truck or shipping container on time. Moreover, they operate forklifts and other heavy machinery, update inventory and keep accounts of the number of goods. Pickers also maintain the machines they use and perform repairs. Quality assurance and goods inspection also come under their job profile.

A Day in the Life of a Picker

As logistics answers to increasing demand, it also supports the e-commerce industry which is witnessing exponential and unprecedented growth. With all this action in the foreground, the industry deals with a widening skill gap and shrinking labour availability.

This is understandable as automation and AI will continue to make employee skills obsolete, creating a deficit in employee proficiencies. Again, this is true across sectors.

As the landscape evolves minute by minute, if teams are not prepared to learn on-the-go and anticipate challenges, then businesses stand to lose on many fronts. A member survey from Association for Talent Development (ATD) reveals how lower efficiency tops the list of business impacts of the skills gap, followed by missed opportunities for the organisation.

Like with any other job, pickers follow set schedules to ensure that the orders are fulfilled and delivered on time. Pickers start their day by meeting their team lead to go over announcements and goals for the day. They receive stock delivery orders and ensure that the goods arrive in good condition. This ensures that pickers know what to achieve during their shift. At many places, the day of a warehouse picker starts with participating in group stretches to warm up their muscles and loosen up before the hard work begins.

Pickers use GPS devices and headsets to help them navigate the warehouse and pick the items that need to be shipped. Pickers may lift goods manually or use machinery to do so. They use scanners to correctly determine the SKU of each item and pick out ordered items from storage areas using barcodes, serial numbers, etc. Barcodes on packages and shipping labels are scanned to ensure the correct product goes into the right bin. One by one, pickers scan and move through products. Once the scanning is done, pickers take the goods to packers so that they can be packed, after which they are loaded onto delivery trucks.

Who Can Become a Picker?

Typically, a picker does not require any specific type of education other than a high school diploma. However, a qualified picker should have at least one year or substantial experience working as a picker or any other similar role in a warehouse or storage facility. They must be well-versed with safety protocols. In large warehouses, pickers need to also have a forklift licence to be able to drive forklifts to move goods.

What Skills Should a Picker Have?

Here are some skills that a picker should have.

  • In-depth knowledge of industry safety regulations
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment for long hours
  • Physical strength and fitness
  • Team spirit
  • Attention to detail
  • Self-independence and motivation
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to use a radio frequency or barcode scanner

How Can You Become a Picker?

Our Introduction to Picking module is a good way to start learning about what picking is and what this job role involves in more detail. Start your skilling journey with 21CC Education today!

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