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Order batching and time efficiency in kit preparation

Robin Hanson (Chalmers University of Technology - Division of Logistics and Transportation, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Lars Medbo (Chalmers University of Technology - Division of Logistics and Transportation, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Mats I. Johansson (Chalmers University of Technology - Division of Logistics and Transportation, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 2 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether man-hour efficiency of picking is affected by the use of batch preparation, compared to preparation of one kit at a time. This paper focuses on small kit preparation areas.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on two experiments that were performed at a vehicle assembly plant and then analysed quantitatively.

Findings

The results provide a strong indication of the advantages associated with batch preparation, in terms of man-hour efficiency.

Practical implications

The fact that the effects identified during the experiments are substantial, over 20 per cent reduction of average time per picked component in Experiment 1 and 7 per cent in Experiment 2, indicates that the option of batch picking holds potentials for large cost reduction and should be considered when kit preparation systems are designed.

Originality/value

Limited research has dealt with the design of kit preparation systems, thus leaving considerable knowledge gaps. Previous research dealing with batch picking focuses on other environments than kitting and on large picking areas where batching can reduce walking distances. In contrast, the current paper focuses on small picking areas, which are common in industrial kitting applications. This paper provides a considerable contribution by demonstrating improvements in time efficiency that batch preparation can offer to small picking areas in addition to larger areas. The discussion also provides a basis for future research, which could focus on aspects other than time efficiency, such as the quality of kit preparation, and variables that might moderate the effect of batching.

Keywords

Citation

Hanson, R., Medbo, L. and Johansson, M.I. (2015), "Order batching and time efficiency in kit preparation", Assembly Automation, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 143-148. https://doi.org/10.1108/AA-05-2014-046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited