One-Piece-Flow: Picking Frankfurter Brett

As one of the most labour-intensive and cost-intensive processes of internal logistics, picking accounts for about half of the operational warehouse costs. The arrangement of the order-picking area often determines the efficiency of the employees and is largely responsible for the achievable output of finished orders.

If, for example, a large area is lost due to storage using Euro pallets, ergonomic material removal can no longer be guaranteed. Unnecessary walking distances and long waiting times can also be the result of non-optimised processes.

Restructuring the order-picking area is therefore an effective way to optimise walking distances, reduce costs and increase efficiency. One possibility for this is the one-piece flow concept - an innovative form of flow production.

Fact sheet:

  • Industry: Logistics
  • Implementation: 2016
  • Project duration: 6 weeks
  • Project objective: Increasing efficiency with increased process reliability
  • Materials:
    • CREFORM tube Ø 28mm
    • Metal joints
    • Conveyors

The starting position

As a specialist in innovative fulfilment, Versandmanufaktur GmbH also sought to optimise its order picking processes in 2016. The company, based in Witten, takes care of a large part of the after-sales services for its customers, from data transfer, receipt of goods and order transmission to shipping and returns management.

The focus of the optimisation process: the Frankfurter Brett.

Confusing & time-consuming:

During the on-site inventory of the Frankfurter Brett picking area by a CREFORM expert, various sources of error were identified:

  • Unnecessary storage areas & gripping paths
  • No ergonomic removal and provision of materials
  • High storage areas by means of Euro pallets & buffer spaces
  • Long walking distances

No ergonomic removal and provision of materials

High storage areas by means of Euro pallets and buffer spaces

Unnecessary walking distances

Efficiency increase of 60 percent: picking according to the one-piece flow principle

After a process consultation by CREFORM, a concept for the introduction of the CREFORM system was developed together with the team of the dispatch manufactory.

The optimisation results at a glance

  • Efficiency increase of 60% per employee and shift

  • Ergonomic material removal

  • High process reliability: Ordering of new materials by means of return through empty crates (KANBAN)

  • Continuous throughput and short walking distances thanks to the U-cell

  • Optional enlargement of the U-cell thanks to mobile design

  • One picking trolley per employee

  • No waiting times

  • From folding the carton to delivery: complete picking process in one place

Efficient & ergonomic: the new picking zone

For the introduction of the CREFORM system, individual Kanban shelves and standardised picking trolleys were constructed, which were built together in a workshop. The Kanban shelves are loaded from the outside, while the material is picked from the inside. By means of a slanted front on the inside, an ergonomic individual part removal could be made possible.


Due to the large number of product variants, it was not possible to feed all items at one packing station. The arrangement of the order-picking area as a U-cell enables continuous throughput in one-piece flow and short walking distances. Thanks to a mobile design, the U-cell can be enlarged if necessary, for example during the Christmas season.

By redesigning the picking zone and the entire picking process from folding the cartons to delivery, the number of finished picks per person in one shift could be increased by 60%: from 50 pieces to 80 pieces.

At the same time, with the help of the CREFORM system, it has been possible to increase process reliability. By introducing the 2-bin Kanban system, it is always ensured that sufficient material is available in the picking area. As soon as a container is emptied, it is placed in the empties return and initiates the ordering of a filled container, which is then delivered by the material supplier.

With the increase in efficiency and process reliability, two decisive performance parameters were optimised, which can contribute to the entrepreneurial success of the mail order company in competition.

You want to increase the efficiency and quality of your production?

Feel free to contact me! Together we will develop the right solution for you!

Christian Schäffer

Head of Sales Europe North

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