A picking list is a document that is often used to pull particular items in specific quantities from an inventory. The pulled items are either routed to a production floor for use in a manufacturing effort or to fulfill an order placed by a customer. While the detail found on the list varies, the information is usually sufficient to document the activity so that tracking systems within the overall operational structure of the business are updated to reflect the disbursements from inventory.
When a picking list is used to locate and pull goods to fulfill an order placed by a client, the list often acts as the authorization to remove the goods from inventory. Once the list is used to physically locate and move the goods to the order fulfillment area, that same list can be used to update the inventory records. With some systems, the picking list is actually generated in the inventory database, placing the ordered items into a holding pattern until it is confirmed that the goods have been pulled and are now in the possession of the order fulfillment department. At that point, the detail on the picking list will be matched with the purchase order of the customer, and a packing list is generated to accompany the ordered goods to their destination.
In a similar manner, a picking list may be generated in order to pull specific items for use internally, such as on a production floor. With this application, the line items on the list are often created using details found on a departmental requisition form. As with fulfilling customer orders, the items are pulled and routed to the department that places the requisition, transferring both the quantities and the costs to that department. Once receipt of the items are acknowledged, they are deducted from the inventory stock, making it possible to always maintain an accurate inventory of what goods are on hand and when certain items need to be reordered from vendors.
It is possible to use a picking list in just about any type of business setting. Even offices may use lists of this type to requisition office supplies from a central supply area within the company, or make use of the picking list to pull items for delivery to the customers who order them. As a tool that aids in creating a document trail for both internal and external transactions, the value of the list cannot be overestimated.