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Choosing the Right Warehouse Storage Solutions for Efficient Order Picking


Order picking stands at the core of order fulfillment operations. While it appears straightforward, this process requires a meticulous balance of speed and accuracy and plays a pivotal role in supporting growth and profitability.

With the surge in eCommerce shopping and the ongoing evolution of the omnichannel retail landscape, order fulfillment operations have begun to crack under the weight of new demands. The right warehouse storage solutions can improve the efficiency and accuracy of order picking. This is especially important in today's competitive landscape, where businesses need to meet ever-tightening delivery timeframes, manage a growing list of SKUs, adapt to seasonal peaks, ensure minimal errors to prevent returns, and combat labor shortages.

Challenges in Order Picking

Efficient and accurate order fulfillment is crucial for modern warehouses and eCommerce businesses. However, there are numerous challenges that can often disrupt operations. Below we outline some of the most common challenges that can impact order picking efficiency: 

  • Seasonal peaks: During busy periods, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, order volumes can spike significantly, putting a strain on warehouse resources and lead to errors.
  • Labor shortages: Warehouse labor shortages are a major challenge for many businesses. This can make it difficult to find and retain qualified workers, which can lead to delays and errors.
  • Order picking errors: Order picking errors can occur for a variety of reasons, such as mislabeled items, incorrect picking instructions, or human error, leading to customer dissatisfaction, returns, and lost sales.

These challenges not only disrupt warehouse operations but can also result in significant financial losses. To put it into perspective, the average picking error costs between $50 to $300. In today’s competitive landscape, losses from avoidable mistakes must be eliminated. Let’s look at some of the solutions that can be implemented to address these challenges.


Selecting Warehouse Storage Solutions: Which One's for You?

The right warehouse storage solutions can improve the efficiency and accuracy of order picking. The best way to choose the right warehouse storage solution is to carefully consider the specific needs of the warehouse and to consult with a storage expert. 

Let’s look at the benefits and challenges for each warehouse storage solution. 

1. Static Storage

In the vast world of warehouse solutions, static storage stands out for its straightforwardness. 

Static storage solutions emphasize simplicity and predictability, often being the go-to choice for warehouses that operate with a limited SKU range or stable inventory. However, with the perks come certain limitations. 


  1. Simplicity: Unchanging layouts facilitate quicker picking.
  2. Low Cost & Maintenance: An affordable initial setup and easy, cost-effective maintenance makes static solutions attractive to margin-minded warehouses. 


  1. Inflexibility: Adapting to an influx of new SKUs can be cumbersome.
  2. Fragmented Inventory: Increased pick times can result when inventory gets spread across multiple locations.
  3. Poor Space Utilization: Rarely the best option for maximizing space utilization–especially with diverse product sizes.


2. Dynamic Storage

If you need to inject agility into your warehouse operations, dynamic storage solutions are worth consideration.

Fluid and adaptable solutions, dynamic storage options cater to warehouses that have to navigate demand spikes, diverse carton sizes, and products that require strict FIFO adherence

Dynamic storage solutions also maximize space utilization while enhancing order-picker visibility and accessibility. Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of storage solutions.


  1. Increased Picker Productivity: Quicker order fulfillment due to reduced travel distances.
  2. Enhanced Inventory Control: Efficient FIFO storage management decreases product wastage.
  3. Reduced Labor Costs: Optimal space utilization leads to more picks per hour, lowering labor needs.
  4. Ergonomic Benefits: Designed for ease of use, dynamic solutions minimize physical strain on workers.
  5. Flexible Design: Can be tailored to accommodate various product types and sizes.


  1. Initial Configuration: Requires more upfront planning and preparation compared. While not overly complex, consideration should be given to workflow, inventory velocity, seasonality, and product characteristics to optimize the layout.
  2. Cost Variability: Depending on the setup, costs might be higher than static storage.

3. Automated Storage

As technology continues to develop at breakneck speed, automated storage solutions are becoming increasingly common for warehouses interested in optimizing picking efficiency. 

Suited for high-volume warehouses, automated storage solutions minimize human intervention to optimize picking precision and speed. 

But while there's significant gains to be made with automated solutions, there are also serious complexities to navigate.


  1. Increased Storage Density: Automation allows for maximum storage in minimal space.
  2. Higher Productivity: Swift automated retrieval drastically boosts order fulfillment rates.
  3. Reduced Variable Costs: The reduction in manual tasks slashes ongoing operating expenses.
  4. Safer Working Conditions: Automated processes decrease the likelihood of workplace accidents.
  5. Real-Time Monitoring: Integrated systems provide live data for inventory tracking and management.


  1. High Upfront Costs: The initial investment in automated solutions can be substantial.
  2. Technical Complexity: Automated solutions typically require regular maintenance by skilled technicians.
  3. Equipment Downtime: System failures can disrupt operations, leading to expensive downtime and delays. 
  4. Training: Staff needs training for both usage and troubleshooting, adding to initial setup time and continuous learning.

Download The Guide To Optimizing Warehouse Space Utilization

UNEX Guide to Optimizing Warehouse Space

What Storage Solution is Right for Your Warehouse?

Choosing the right warehouse storage solution is a pivotal decision that can influence your business's productivity, accuracy, and profitability. For an ideal outcome, consider factors like:

  • Inventory Traits: Examine your SKU diversity, throughput rate, and turnover frequency. These insights will direct you to the most effective solutions.
  • Order Dynamics: High daily order volumes might benefit from automation, while less frequent, bulk orders might be better served by dynamic and static solutions.
  • Warehouse Dimensions: Your warehouse's size and layout will dictate the best combination of storage solutions. Aim for maximum space utilization without sacrificing efficiency.
  • Picking Methods: Your warehouse’s choice of picking methods (ie: batch, zone, wave, or hybrid) will impact which solutions are best suited to your needs and challenges. 

Retail & Omnichannel Dynamic Storage Buying Guide

Assessing Product Throughput for Dynamic Storage

The unique demands and challenges of picking slow-moving and high-volume SKUs calls for specialized solutions. After you’ve considered the factors above, analyze your product throughput speed to identify the ideal solutions for your order-picking flow. 

Slow Moving

For products that don't fly off the shelves, a high-density storage system such as SpeedCell becomes invaluable. 

SpeedCell’s design ensures every square inch within your racks becomes usable storage space, solving the space utilization issues static storage can create. This space optimization significantly improves storage density, supports noticeably shorter pick paths, and promotes a more streamlined inventory management process.

Medium-to-Fast Moving

If your products have a higher turnover rate, solutions like carton flow systems may be a stronger option. 

Carton flow systems, like SpanTrack Lane and Wheel Bed, use gravity to facilitate FIFO order picking. Not only does this improve organization, but it also simplifies replenishment, increases storage density, optimizes space utilization, and provides enhanced visibility of stock.

Fast Moving

Pallet Track is a dynamic pallet flow system that is ideal for fast-moving products. It consists of durable pallet track rollers or wheel rails that allow pallets to flow through the system on a gravity-fed track.

Pallet track offers two-deep pallet storage lanes to increase storage density, and customizable track lengths and mounting options to optimize pallet flow for your operation. By enabling efficient FIFO inventory management and reducing fork truck maneuvers, pallet track systems decrease labor costs, product damage, and safety incidents.

SpanTrack Lane Carton Flow Rollers

Efficient, durable, and dependable, SpanTrack Lane carton flow rollers drop into existing structures to create the ultimate carton flow rack system for manufacturing facilities and order picking operations.

SpanTrack Carton Flow Beds

SpanTrack wheel beds are flexible carton flow beds that drop into existing structures to create the ultimate flow rack system for order picking operations, manufacturing facilities, and more.

SpeedCell Dynamic High-Density Shelving

SpeedCell is a dynamic high-density shelving solution that maximizes space utilization within standard pallet racking, helping warehouse and backroom operations improve pick speed and accuracy for valuable time and cost savings.

Pallet Track

Durable pallet track rollers or wheel rails create a dynamic pallet flow system for fast movers. Our high-quality pallet tracks optimize flow, increase efficiency and storage density, and can be customized to fit an operation’s unique needs.


Implementing Efficient Order Picking

Order picking is more than a facet of your warehouse operations—it directly influences customer satisfaction, warehouse efficiency, worker productivity, and your company's overall profitability. 

By integrating the ideal blend of storage solutions for your operation, you can unlock substantial gains in order-picking speed, accuracy, productivity, and cost savings. And in doing so, you’ll guarantee that the heart of your warehouse—order picking—beats strong and steady, pushing your entire business forward.

Ready to learn more about enhancing your warehouse storage solutions? Contact us today to speak to one of our space optimization experts who can help you identify the right storage mediums to meet the unique needs of your business.

The UNEX Guide to Understanding Throughput for Fulfillment will help you save time and space in your facility.