Buying an Order Picker Forklift? Read This First

Choosing An Order Picker? Your Questions Answered (AND Common Errors to Avoid)

If you’re a warehouse professional the benefits of an order picker might be obvious (we’ll start with some basics below just in case!). But it’s still easy to overlook just how big an impact you can have on your warehouse performance just by picking the right order picker.

That’s because the vast number of times the machine will be used across each day, week, month and year means every feature of the truck can scale up to have a big effect on overall warehouse results.

We asked our warehouse optimisation experts to identify, and answer, some essential order picker questions PLUS add some common order picker errors to avoid.

Here’s what they told us…

Choosing an Order Picker: What is An Order Picker?

Buying an Order Picker Forklift? Read This First Aisle Master

Let’s start with an easy one you might want to skip if you already use or manage an order picker in your fleet!

Thankfully, the concept of an order picker truck is really simple: it’s a type of forklift designed to be used to constantly pick individual items from a warehouse as quickly and easily as possible.
The use of an order picker with the capacity to be used as a forklift, in the traditional way, adds extra flexibility plus additional warehouse and cost efficiency. For example, the Aisle Master Order Picker can even be used indoors and outdoors for reduced handling from one vehicle to another.

However, the safety and comfort of the user is the factor that’s at the crux of a good order picker. That’s because ease of use, access, ergonomic considerations etc are key as the operator will be stepping in and out of the machine a huge number of times during a warehouse shift.

Tip: The importance of operator comfort, and therefore reducing fatigue, should always be kept in mind as it means seemingly minor considerations like the height of the step into the order picker truck become extremely important.

See also: Warehouse Efficiency 101

Choosing an Order Picker: Where Can Order Picker Trucks Be Used?

An order picker forklift can be used anywhere fast, repeated access to stock is needed while maintaining driver comfort and a high level of picking efficiency.

For example, the Aisle Master Order Picker is used worldwide for high performance environments, where speed and volume of pallet in and package out is key, including…

• Ecommerce

• Manufacturing production areas 

• Tier One automotive companies 

• Warehousing logistics  

Our specialists recommend that any warehouse with an emphasis on handling time and/ or a high volume of goods handling should consider the benefits of an order picker truck for improved results.

Tip: As well as examining the processes in your warehouse operation to achieve the maximum possible efficiency, ask an Aisle Master warehouse optimisation specialist for help to illustrate benefits of an order picker truck on metrics like handling time.

Choosing an Order Picker: How to Drive an Order Picker

In this guide we’ll use the example of the Aisle Master Order Picker as, thanks to its recent launch in 2021, it represents the very latest technology and design.

You’ll see from our video that the order picker machine is used by simply…

• Stepping into the order picker truck

• Manoeuvring alongside the correct area of warehouse shelving

• Stepping off the order picker to select and move the outgoing package into storage for outgoing goods held on the front or the order picker

• Stepping back into the cab 

• And repeat! 

You’ll notice that, due to the constant repetitions we mentioned above, the design of the order picker forklift means the operator is faced with a minimum of stooping, sitting and other unnecessary movements.

Tip: The operator’s movement, bearing in mind this will be repeated many thousands of times, should be the heart of your decision when choosing an order picker truck.

See also: An Introduction to VNA Forklifts

Choosing an Order Picker: What is a Narrow Aisle Order Picker?

Buying an Order Picker Forklift? Read This First Aisle Master

At Aisle Master we believe passionately in the benefits of a narrow aisle warehouse and, therefore, in the use of narrow aisle forklifts and/ or order picker trucks.

The reasons for this are simple: if you need more warehouse capacity your options are…

• 1, Expand your warehouse

• 2, Move warehouse or buy a second warehouse

• 3, Find more capacity in the warehouse you already have 

It’s easy to see why Option 3 is highly cost-effective.

As an added benefit the better use of layout and forklift capacity involved in the optimizing the storage capacity of a warehouse also delivers faster handling times due to quicker truck to rack times.

A narrow aisle order picker truck is, therefore, a truck designed to maximize the benefits of a narrow aisle optimized warehouse.

Tip: You can access an entirely free, in-depth warehouse optimisation report for your facility by simply requesting an Aisle Master warehouse planning session. 

Choosing an Order Picker: Who Makes the Best Order Picker?

Buying an Order Picker Forklift? Read This First Aisle Master

We, of course, proudly recommend the Aisle Master Order Picker as it was purpose designed, engineered and made in Ireland by our colleagues to produce the ultimate performance for warehouse owners and managers.

Our specialists strongly recommend that buyers look out for some key features:

• Truck cabs and driver comfort: The Aisle Master Order picker features an ergonomic wrap-around ‘standing rest’ position that’s easy to move into and out of frequently without strain. Buyers have given feedback that, in particular, older colleagues have praised the reduced fatigue the design helps to produce.

In comparison, other order picker machines often use a more open/ flat-backed cab design buyers can easily compare against the cab of the Aisle Master Order Picker using online images alone.

• Step height: With a step height of just 280mm, the Aisle Master Order Picker is purpose-designed to make constant entry and exit from the vehicle as easy for the operator as possible.

Our designers have highlighted this as, alongside the cab design, an essential factor for operator comfort and injury-reduction.

• Vehicle size: Manoeuvrability in a very narrow aisle delivers the ‘sweet spot’ between efficiency and storage capacity in a modern warehouse.

The Aisle Master vehicle boasts an overall length of just 2780mm and, crucially, a chassis width of 1400mm (rear) and 980mm (front).

In practice, this delivers a machine less bulky and easier to position than other types of order picker machine, especially in comparison to a man up order picker vehicle.

• Speed of use

A patented chain steering system, which allows the truck to articulate more than 205°, and as 12m reach height are among the features allowing the Aisle Master Order Picker to work efficiently in aisles as narrow as 1.8m.

Added to the ease of cabin access and ergonomic features as well as a ground speed of 8km/hr, this adds up to a fast, safe solution for handling goods at scale.

This video explains how one expanding company switched their manufacturing facility vehicle to an order picker and discovered that the benefits included ease of driver training as well as safety and comfort of picking at scale.

Tip: For help to assess how an Aisle Master Order Picker would perform in your warehouse simply ask an Aisle Master specialist for help.

See also: Why VNA Truck Sales Continue to Soar

Choosing an Order Picker: What Are the Common Errors to Avoid?

Buying an Order Picker Forklift? Read This First Aisle Master

In the case of the new Aisle Master Order Picker, the vehicle (without a battery) weighs 6,165kg.

You can find the full specification here but the remaining essentials include…

• Mast range: 4300-12100mm

• Step height: 280mm

• Battery: Choice of large 620, 775 or 930 amp-hour capacity for full shift operation

• Capacity: 2000kg

• Ground speed: 8km/h

Tip: For help to assess how an Aisle Master Order Picker would perform in your warehouse simply ask an Aisle Master specialist for help.

See also: Avoiding Forklift Downtime

Choosing an Order Picker: How Much Does an Order Picker Cost?

The cost of an order picker varies depending on the model, whether the order picker is new or used and the options/ accessories chosen.

However, our experts strongly recommend that you consider a number of factors to assess the ‘real cost’ of your order picker forklift:

• Whole life cost: A purchase cost should be balanced against the reduced repair and downtime costs involved in buying a new machine with a warranty.

• Feet reduction: How does an order impact your overall fleet? An Aisle Master Order Picker can replenish stock before or after order picker duties meaning fewer trucks, few operators and reduced maintenance costs. 

• Fuel cost: An estimated annual figure is a useful approach.

• Health and safety benefit: Improved ergonomic performance and visibility features are designed to reduce injuries.

• Efficiency benefit: The value of faster, more reliable handling of goods should also be taken into account as opposed to the bottom-line price of the vehicle.

Keeping the bigger picture in mind when reviewing the price of an order picker truck delivers a clearer link between vehicle cost, running costs and warehouse performance.

Tip: Never assess the cost of a warehouse vehicle as a single, black and white cost without considering essentials such as repair cost vs warranty, downtime cost and fuel.

 Choosing an Order Picker: How We Can Help

Buying an Order Picker Forklift? Read This First Aisle Master
Aisle Master can assist, supply and support your purchase of an Aisle Master Order Picker, and much more besides.

A renowned warehouse planning service (find a range of case studies showing superbly successful warehouse optimization projects here), can help to understand your bigger picture, is easy to access, and at no charge.

Plus, to help maintain an efficient and cost-effective warehouse with reduced downtime every Aisle Master vehicle is supported by:

• Warrantied reassurance: The backing of a 5-year or 5,000 hours parts warranty is standard, giving you peace of mind and low cost of ownership.

• Superb parts access: Major parts distribution warehouses are located strategically, often delivering parts anywhere in Europe and the US within 24 hours. However, common replacement parts are also available from local suppliers. 

• Technical support where you need it: A worldwide dealer network means factory-trained Aisle Master engineers can be found close to hand across the globe. The result? Less downtime for your operation.

Find out more about the full range of Aisle Master very narrow aisle forklifts and order picker vehicles – including benefits, spec and options – here.

Most of all, the right combination of warehouse layout, processes and vehicles can deliver substantial efficiency savings at a time when warehouse costs and availability of additional storage space are under more pressure than ever.

It’s never too early to contact us to discuss your order picking process and the efficiency of your warehouse unit. Think of us as a professional partner ‘in your corner’ to help deliver outstanding warehouse efficiency. To find out more, ask us how.

Questions? Simply ask one of our specialists. We’re here to help.