Goods-to-Person Solution and Labor Challenges | FORTNA

How a Goods-to-Person Solution Can Ease Labor Challenges

With U.S. unemployment rates hovering between 3 and 4 percent and job openings at over 8.5 million, recruiting and hiring warehouse workers remains challenging. A goods-to-person solution can ease an operation’s dependence on labor while optimizing processes, inventory management and order fulfillment.

by TJ Franco

With U.S. unemployment rates hovering between 3 and 4 percent and job openings at over 8.5 million,1 recruiting and hiring warehouse workers remains challenging for distribution operations. Even with creative hiring practices and rising wage and bonus structures, finding and keeping skilled and unskilled workers can heavily affect order fulfillment speeds and customer satisfaction.

In this FORTNA blog, we will learn how a goods-to-person (GTP) solution can help operations ease their dependence on labor while at the same time optimizing processes, inventory management and order fulfillment.

What is a Goods-to-Person Solution?

In most distribution warehouses, a picker receives an order, then walks the warehouse floor searching for the items (SKUs) included in the order. After the picker collects the items from many locations within the warehouse, the picker then walks the items to a packing station, the items are packed, and the box is sealed and ready for a shipping label.

While the number of steps a picker can take in a day varies from 10,000 to 15,000 steps due to the size of the warehouse, slotting practices and inventory management, workers can walk upwards of 6 to 10 miles daily.

A good-to-person solution takes travel time, steps taken and physical strain out of the equation by automatically picking and bringing the items to the worker.

How a Goods-to-Person Solution Works

Intelligent Warehouse Software. A GTP solution will need to integrate with a software platform. There is a wide range of warehouse management software on the market, and some due diligence will be needed to ensure it is the best fit for your operations. Two main types of software can be utilized in a goods-to-person solution: warehouse management system (WMS) and warehouse execution system (WES).

Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems. Several different types of automation can be utilized. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) use robotic shuttles or robots to retrieve and store products. There are also high-density storage solutions that stack and retrieve totes from the top of a storage stack. Each solution has its pros and cons; a supply chain partner can help analyze your current facility and operation and recommend the best-fit solution.

Goods-to-Person Station. A tote with the ordered items is retrieved and brought to workstations. Workers pick the appropriate number of SKUs and place them into a box for the order, and the tote is then delivered back to storage. Totes flow in and out of the station until the order is complete and the next order begins.

Benefits of a Goods-to-Person Solution

  1. Reduced returns. A GTP solution can significantly increase order accuracy by automating the inventory and picking processes, ensuring the right SKU is used to fill orders.
  2. Efficient labor use. Using GTP stations for picking, workers can be diverted to other tasks throughout the warehouse.
  3. Enhanced safety. Workplace incidents and accidents are reduced with pickers now contained to the GTP station areas and not spread across the warehouse floor.
  4. Scalability. One of the main benefits of a GTP solution is that it allows an operation to scale up or down depending on promotions, seasonality or customer demand.
  5. Recruiting and retaining workers. Workers are drawn to operations with the newest automation, offering an easier and less physically taxing environment and the opportunity to learn and work with the next generation of automation. Workers will think twice about jumping from an operation with a GTP solution to a warehouse without one.
  6. Ease of training. When hiring seasonal and temporary labor for peak seasons, minimal training time is needed to work a GTP station, which leads to faster productivity for new workers.


With labor challenges unlikely to ease soon, finding a supply chain partner to guide an organization through a goods-to-person solution selection process is critical. FORTNA has a team of industry experts and data scientists with the experience and expertise to transform your operations.

About the author


TJ Franco

Account Executive

TJ is a seasoned supply chain professional with over 15 years of experience in roles varying from production and sourcing, to importing and omnichannel distribution. TJ is a CSSC Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt and a member of CSCMP and the Procurement Foundry.