What is an order picker?
An order picker is a type of forklift (also known as a lift truck) used to fill individual orders. These orders are either piece-part or case picks, as opposed to full pallet loads. So, for example, you might see a standard forklift scoop up an entire pallet of let's say, blenders, while an order picker would be used to select an individual boxed blender. Make sense?
Order pickers are electric, as they're used indoors. More recent models have really pushed the envelope on the battery life for these machines, as some models are now able to work through multiple shifts on a single charge, greatly increasing the productivity of the warehouses where these machines are used.
Where are order pickers used?
Order pickers are used in warehouses that have multiple levels of items, and are particularly handy for locations with three levels or more. Traditionally, in these sorts of warehouses the solution to these sorts of picks was to use a rolling ladder. Obviously, this had some drawbacks (safety being a big one), so the order picker has become the new standard. Many models can now reach heights of over 30 feet, allowing for much better use of vertical space and increasing the efficiency of the modern warehouse.
Given the explosion of SKUs in modern retail, it's important for warehouses to be able to stock a huge variety of items, making order pickers essential to the present and future of the material handling world.