When editing a Fulfillment Plan, you can utilize the Location Sort function and right now, it's possible to Pick Sort by Location, with the only option for Location Sort being "Address" - having the option to choose additional criteria such as sorting by zone or cost would be a helpful change/addition.
Great news! This is something we already support, but it does require the use of a custom field. Check the article I have linked below, specifically the "Worth the Mention" section of the location paragraph. All one would have to do in this scenario is populate the custom field with whatever value they would like and then it is available as an option in your fulfillment sort drop down. Hope this helps!
I actually use the method you suggested, Carter, using a custom field to create a pick sequence. It's really a lot of work to upkeep and to make pick route changes, especially now my pick route has over 4000 locations and I have to keep track of every single one.
I can see where having the additional sort criteria could be helpful to have some additional pick sort options, like address and zone, rather than having full manual control.
While I understand the maintenance can be a bit of work to keep up on (especially if you are adding / changing locations a lot) - without this tool you would not have the flexibility to uniquely direct your pickers path for every single location. In your zone suggestion, if you have hundreds or thousands of locations within that zone, you will still want to direct your pickers on how they should approach it. IE do we want to jump our pickers back and forth across the aisle or do we want to them to go down one side and come back the other? Do we want them to wrap around end caps or prevent them from going down an aisle in a certain direction? These are all examoples of things that custom field unique to every location will allow you to do.
Now, in theory you can always create a custom field like 'Sort Zone' that would be much easier for you to manage (just bulk update your locations) and this would still allow you to direct your pickers on what zone to pick first; however, you wouldn't be able to dictate their path for each location within those zones as I mentioned.
The location address is our out of the box sort option (alpha-numeric, a to z) so you are always welcome to use the address field vs pick sort.
Also, you may be interested in the location cost field. The location cost will allow you to associate 'costs' with any locations in the warehouse. When orders, Infoplus will first attempt to allocate inventory from forward locations vs standard ones, the second consideration it makes is the cost field - we always try to allocate from the lowest cost available. We're essentially always shopping for the cheapest deal when considering what inventory should be allocated. (see the allocation link below for more).
For locations that you do not prefer to pick from (top shelf locations, overstock, support beam in the way etc) you can assign higher costs to these locations. The cost system is arbitrary so the higher the cost the more the system will attempt to avoid that location for allocation. Going back to your zone reference, you could bulk update your cost by zone so that Infoplus always looks at certain zones over others.
Overview of Allocation Options:
Finally, some best practice tips when manipulating your pick sort is to always leave some room when jumping from one aisle to the next. For example if you want to start your picks in Aisle A and end in Aisle Z, choose numeric values that relate to your warehouse area. For example, your first pick position can be 1000, the next 1001, then 1002 and so on. Whenever you get to the next aisle, start your pick sequence at 2000, 2001, 2002 and so on. As a result, you will only have to edit a few aisles at a time vs redoing your entire pick sequence every time your locations change.