Hybrid Order Picking

By Sarah
June 18, 2024

Order fulfillment is a game-changer for any business. Late deliveries can turn away potential consumers. A worse scenario is the replacement of orders. This means shipping companies pick up the wrong orders with a similar ID or product niche.

But such problems are not going to happen anymore. How can you settle this issue? The solution is— Hybrid order picking. It has a new market flare because of its picking accuracy. Now, businesses won’t have to mix up the orders as robots ensure you choose the right products.

If you are curious about this new technology, let’s join hands and learn together. We have blurted out all the information about hybrid order picking.



1. Hybrid Order Picking

1) What is hybrid order picking?

Hybrid order picking is a relatively new man in the industry with many benefits. It concludes the deployment of both humans and robots to improve order-picking efficiency and increase accuracy.


Since the evolution of AI, hybrid order picking has emerged as a new solution. Warehouses can use the technology to help humans pick the relevant orders. The robots optimize human efficiency and give a pump to working speed.

The result?

Businesses can open doors to new opportunities and minimize operating costs. Plus, the availability of traditional technology, such as handheld picking devices, is still useful in such a system.

2) Why is hybrid order picking important?

It is a revolutionary idea if you are wondering about using Hybrid order picking. You’ll keep yourself at the top with such a system. Here are a few scenarios that compel the use of Hybrid order picking in the systems.

  • Increased productivitywith robotics and human efforts can be the first reason behind its implementation.
  • It reducesthe worker’s efforts. So, your workers can focus on more intellectual tasks and go to the far end for your success.
  • The cost-effectivenessof this technology is another big moment to brag about.
  • Hybrid order picking promises both accuracy and speed. That will put your business more in control and better at output.

2. 3 Components of Hybrid Order Picking

The hybrid order-picking system has three functional components. Losing one point can destroy the whole chain, leading to the failure of order fulfillment through this method.

Here is a detailed discussion of each component.

● Human

Human creativity is matchless. Robots are undoubtedly best at increasing efficiency, but they sometimes fail. For example, you need to specify the orders, and robots might mix up things. At some point, it becomes necessary to utilize the human intellect.


In all such cases, you come across the crucial part— humans! In Hybrid order-picking, humans can streamline the order-picking process. From defining the rules for picking orders to manual sorting processes, humans provide a boost.

Some tasks could be more complex for the robots to be conducted. Operators can handle such tasks with better efficiency. Many warehouses even specify the work. Collaborative robots process the orders while humans retrieve the products to minimize order mingling and errors.

To cut the story short, human operators have flexibility in the working environment. As per the adjustments, warehouses can consider the humans and robots as necessary two faces of one thing.

● Automation Technology

At the point where you are pondering about humans, rethink the automation technology. It can iron out all the complexities on the way. For example, warehouses can use smart technology to explore packages and stocks immediately.

Recently, the warehouse management system has been under discussion. Thanks to elegant performance, you can streamline your orders. Connect your store with the warehouse and complete order fulfillment one-click tasks with the integration.

With this system, you can receive orders. The warehouse will specify the orders and help deploy the picking technologies, such as pick-to-light systems. The instant picking of the orders will help streamline the supply chain and ship orders quickly to the consumers.

Automated storage and retrieval systems can further amp up the efficiency of the order-picking systems. This technology helps humans speed up the picking process and increase productivity.

● Robotics

Say welcome to one of the most significant components— robots! They take the supply chain efficiency to the next level. At this point, there are a different types of robots to know:

  • Semi-autonomous robots. As the name says, they are not 100% automated. Instead, they work as a component of humans, increasing work efficiency and tackling the problems humans can’t.
  • Fully-autonomous robots. They take up the responsibility of picking the orders without relying on human components. They might work with humans in shared spaces.
  • Mobile robots. These are automatically guided vehicles that transport the goods from one place to another. They help minimize the efforts and improve work efficiency by speeding up the fulfillment processes.
  • Collaborative robots. They are also called co-robots. Their role is to help humans pick and process orders. For example, some robots help process orders while workers can retrieve the packages.
  • Pick-and-place robotic arms. Such robots pick orders from one place and move them to another. You can consider them mobile robots, but they offer only partial facilities for moving products. Their role is quite impactful for modern warehouses that need to improve order efficiency.

3. How to set up hybrid order picking?

Coming through the Valley of Benefits, you might have decided about hybrid order picking, but even if you don’t go for it, at least you know how to add it to your system.

Here are a few ways to deploy the hybrid order picking.

● Assess warehouses

It would help if you started with the warehouse. Here are a few key points to consider about your first journey.

  • Decide on the type of warehouse.
  • What technology are you going to implement?
  • Think about the new technology.
  • Keep a variety of products.
  • Settle for the SKUs and product specifications.
  • Select the workers.
  • Assess the robot types that are important for your business.
  • Check the quantity of the robots.
  • Do you have plans to hire a tech expert?
  • Are you ready to provide training to your workers and robots?

Considering all the details earlier saves you time. Always categorize the products. Come up with new plans. Always consider the top technology. Having plans for monitoring the supply chain is even better at this point.

● Integrate with warehouse management services.

Have you heard of the warehouse management system(WMS)? It is a new thing in the market. Smart warehouses deploy the WMS. With this technology:

  • Connect your stores with the warehouses.
  • Automate all the orders.
  • Notify your suppliers or shipping companies.
  • Make your supply chain seamless.
  • Increase the order fulfillment rate.
  • Reduce the late delivery or errors in order picking.

All your orders will be transported at the right time with a WMS. All you have to do is to implement it in your system. Connect your sales. And do central management.

Robot sorting goods

Whenever you will get an order, the system will notify the warehouse. The warehouse will deploy humans and robots to pick up your orders. And finally, shipping companies will ship them on time!

Is that even a hassle? Many businesses use this technology to automate all the orders.

● Select appropriate technology and tools.

Keep various factors in mind. For example, think about the limitations of warehouse space. Deem about the appropriate technology. Consider the tools like:

  • Robots
  • Conveyors
  • AS/RS
  • Picking modules

Implementation of such technology isn’t simple. Ponder all the factors, such as product range. SKUs and mobility of the orders. Always be ready to face the technology challenges. Make plans to tackle all the issues in the earlier.

One thing is more important— budget! Warehouses are storage places. Setting up needs a huge budget. If you exceed the budget limit, managing your orders won’t be easy. Calculate the costs of your robotics and workers. Implement a system that offers cost-effectiveness.

● Provide training.

There are two types of training.

  • Training workers. Worker training is quite crucial. If you use inexperienced workers, it can be a humongous issue. Set up training sessions. Teach them how to meet the demands of the order. Provide details about order retrieval, processing, and packaging. Some workers also need training in the verification of orders to avoid errors. Be clear about the details to avoid any mistakes in the future.
  • Training robots. Robots are already coded with the details. You must teach them how and from where to pick the orders. Moreover, integration of work with humans is necessary. For example, you can teach robots about order processing or retrieval. At the same time, workers will do the other jobs.


● Optimize system.

Go one step closer to progress. Go for the test drive of your systems. Check the flaws.

Are there any errors? Settle them now! You can check for:

  • How is order processing being done?
  • How can you optimize the issues?
  • Are your workers keeping up with high work efficiency?
  • Does your robot collaborate with workers?
  • Have you provided training sessions for the workers and robots?

Scan through the supply chain operations. If there are any disruptions, you can further improve it. Make your supply chain flawless this way.

● Provide customer support.

Consumers can’t wait longer for the orders. Timely updates are necessary. You can put a halt to returns or refunds with customer support.

Be available 24/7 to respond to consumer requests. Listen attentively to their concerns. Confirm their tracking IDs. With effective customer experience, you can get their attention. Become the number one choice for their issues.

● Monitor and modify business according to changes.

Get updated with the time. Outdated businesses only run for a short time. For example, if competitors are adapting to new technology, go for it. Ensure the technology bears excellent results.

Be seasonals. Suppose you receive 50% more orders in summer. In that case, you can deploy better technology. New staff. And fulfill all your orders on time.

4. Benefits of Hybrid Order Picking

I have been talking so much about the Hybrid order picking, but is it even worth the hype? Let’s make it a fair deal by exploring the different pros.

● Reduced Errors

Many issues erupt with manual handling. Let me break it into various pieces.

  • Humans can’t handle much work at one time.
  • Order picking speed is less.
  • Order errors are possible because workers are lazy.
  • Decreased efficiency with the need for more attention.

All such cases are a big con for the business. So, how can a hybrid system improve it?

It is simple. Automated systems focus on numbers and items. It can even perform more accurate tasks. But sometimes, errors occur. But further verification by human components is good. It can reduce errors significantly. Allow the warehouses to come up with order improvements. And increase the order fulfillment efficiency.

Such reduced errors stand out among the crowded businesses and make your system more appreciated. You’ll get more consumers heading toward your business.

● Fast supply chain

Without automation, it took time to inform the warehouses. Moreover, the order picking and packing speed is less with human effort.

Hybrid order picking has settled such issues. For example:

  • With WMS, automate all your orders. There will be no delay for order fulfillment.
  • Connect your stores and inform faster.
  • Link your channels and streamline the supply chain.
  • Robots can pick and pack orders within seconds. This delay also confirms the increased order efficiency.
  • Monitor orders and save more time.

Fast order fulfillment connects you with the buyers. Customers will be a lot happier. That is how businesses can attract new consumers. Make more sales in less time.


● Increased productivity

When deploying the hybrid order picking, you can at least expect increased productivity. For example, robots can handle hundreds of orders picking in the same way that it is only possible for human workers to do once you deploy hundreds of workers at one time, which will require costs.

Moreover, robots are quite good at handling repetitive orders and reducing errors in various cases. That can play a significant role in making orders a flawless deal.

The result will be fast order processing and fulfillment. It can improve customer satisfaction and skyrocket your sales levels within days.

● Cost-effective

Cost savings is another significant topic to discuss. Businesses have to go through tons of costs. For example, charges for order management are high. Warehouse management requires workers, operators, and controllers. Daily wages cut down the margins of the business.

But no worries; hybrid order is the solution. Explore new ways to decrease costs. Deploy robots. It is often a one-time fee. Less frequently, you come across errors in robotic functioning. Fast work will improve your productivity. Earn more and compensate for overhead costs.

Overall, you’ll be in better profits than this one!

● Better precision

Robots give accuracy! Make it better when working with robots and humans. For example, let robots retrieve the orders. Check the quantity. And process the orders. Operators can verify the order quantity and SKUs.

Such a hybrid order picking creates a perfect strategy. Reduce errors and be more precise with orders. Your business will generate better results and sales with such a system.

● Scalability

Is your business growing at a high pace? The good news is here! You can scale your business at a higher pace. Automated technology changes with time. You can update your systems and grow your businesses fast.

If you receive more than usual orders, deploy more robots. Increase the number of workers as well. You can tackle all the shortcomings earlier. Boost your business progress with the right steps. And scale your business to higher levels.

5. Challenges of Hybrid Order Picking

Hybrid order picking isn’t kids’ stuff. It can be good at some points. But don’t forget the challenges on the way. Especially if you are a beginner to technology, it can cause potential failure.

We have sorted out some common challenges. Take a look!

● Technological limitations

Talking about technology is too easy. But how to implement it? You need the relevant industry experts. Purchasing new tools isn’t child’s play. Moreover, the programming of robots is another concern.

If you are new to technology, it can be a point where you run back. You must know system compatibility is also crucial. Order management, channel linkage, and what technology to deploy raise various questions. It can limit the business growth.

● Maintenance requirements

Suppose you have deployed the technology. Now, who will maintain? Consider the automation of orders. Manage the functionality of tools. Minimize errors with proper training of AI robots.

All such concerns create bigger issues in a short period. You must invest more money in maintaining your robots as well. Hiring of monitoring experts is essential, too.

● Balancing automation with human labor

Automation with humans: does it work? Absolutely. It does. But the problem is the management. You need to set up the training sessions. Train your workers. Train your robots. Integrate their functionality. Finally, expect a high output.


It is all about talking. Practical implementation takes time and money. Your profits go down. Warehouse compatibility is necessary. You must know how to handle such challenges.

● Data security concerns

Technology implementation is not enough. Hackers are sharp. They penetrate the systems. Steal the data out of your systems. How will you deal with this issue?

Again, you must hire the experts. But costs are a concern. Security is the primary thing. If you can’t sacrifice profits, the issues will be even more. For a business, such issues create hassles.

● System reliability

Another big issue is the system’s reliability. You have enough budget to implement the system. You even manage it on time. What if your system can’t generate the required output? You can’t optimize your orders.

System reliability comes into scenarios. Businesses fail solely due to a lack of system reliability. Here are a few tips to handle this challenge.

  • Assess the system compatibility.
  • Be updated with new technology.
  • Go for the better solutions.
  • Update your systems timely.
  • Ensure you get the right output with an accurate approach.


● Potential resistance to change among employees.

Humans are stubborn. They are less likely to accept the new changes. Whenever you implement a new change, it is tough for workers. Suppose they accept changes. But it will still take time for them to adapt to new systems.

Carrying out such tasks can be a big hassle for the workers. Either you must have proper training sessions. Or offer all the solutions at this point.

6. Risks of Hybrid Order Picking

Hybrid order picking poses some threats to businesses. Do you want to know all the risks associated with it? Here are these.

● Technological failures

Talking about technology is straightforward. But practically, it is a bed of thorns. You need experts to manage technology. Maintenance costs are also a concern. Moreover, sudden failures in systems cause a fall in business operations. It might take hours or days to rectify such issues.

Technology failures are a setback for a new business. Either you go for powerful systems. Or hire the experts who maintain the tools efficiently. Harness robots with effective technology.

● Disruptions in workflow

Humans and robots are working together. What if one component fails? Will it cause a break in the whole system? Yes, it is 100% true.

Your shipping efficiency will decrease. Such disruptions are a massive challenge. You must think about this aspect to keep yourself away from failure.

● Manual labor issues

If you have implemented the robots, that is great! However, in a hybrid system, manual labor is necessary with the robots. Humans are prone to various diseases. Some go on holiday. Others might offer different outputs. If there are bulk orders, decreased human efficiency is a big problem.


It never happens with robots. They work tirelessly. Handle all the orders. Do their work on time. And help businesses optimize their progress. Manual labor issues can disrupt the whole supply chain. You can expect more errors. Increased delays. And decreased customer satisfaction.

7. FAQs

  • What are the three levels of order picking?

Three levels of order picking in the warehouse systems are:

  • Wave picking
  • Batch picking
  • Zone picking

Most warehouses use one of them. You can try the best one based on your needs.

  • How does hybrid order picking differ from traditional methods?

Traditional order-picking methods focus on manual workers. They are less likely to adapt to technology. Even sometimes, there is no concept of automation. In a hybrid system, humans and robots work together. It verifies the orders. Tackles the bulk orders in the blink of an eye. And cuts off the significant errors that were otherwise possible.

  • Does hybrid order pick increase efficiency?

Yes, it is 100% fact. Hybrid order picking uses human creativity and automation. The result is increased order-picking speed. Improved results. And shortened operational costs. You can cut down extra costs and elevate your business.

  • Can you customize hybrid order picking?

Yes, hybrid systems are customizable. Operators can specify all the conditions. Use the following factors.


  • Warehouse layout
  • Product characteristics
  • Order profiles
  • Budget

Tailor the system according to your goals. Improve the results in no time.

  • What are the types of warehouses for which hybrid order picking is beneficial?

Medium to large warehouses should use hybrid order picking. Automated technology opens gates for bulk order handling. Otherwise, humans can also handle a small number of orders. Therefore, all the massive warehouses should consider this option.


Hybrid order picking can shoot up your sales levels. Improved efficiency. Decreased costs. Less human effort. And minimized errors. Get all the amenities at one point. But where and how can you implement the whole system?

JustChinaIt is there for your assistance. We can assist in sourcing all technology products. Be your consultant on sourcing orders. And help you fulfill orders on time. Give your business a new direction of success now!


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