An experimental investigation of learning effects in order picking systems

Eric H. Grosse (Carlo and Karin Giersch Endowed Chair Business Management: Industrial Management, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany)
Christoph H. Glock (Carlo and Karin Giersch Endowed Chair Business Management: Industrial Management, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 19 July 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the prevalence of human learning in the order picking process in an experimental study. Further, it aims to compare alternative learning curves from the literature and to assess which learning curves are most suitable to describe learning in order picking.

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental study was conducted at a manufacturer of household products. Empirical data was collected in the order picking process, and six learning curves were fitted to the data in a regression analysis.

Findings

It is shown that learning occurs in order picking, and that the learning curves of Wright, De Jong and Dar‐El et al. and the three‐parameter hyperbolic model are suitable to approximate the learning effect. The Stanford B model and the time constant model led to unrealistic results.

Practical implications

The results imply that human learning should be considered in planning the order picking process, for example in designing the layout of the warehouse or in setting up work schedules.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to study learning effects in order picking systems, and one of the few papers that use empirical data from an industrial application to study learning effects.

Keywords

Citation

Grosse, E. and Glock, C. (2013), "An experimental investigation of learning effects in order picking systems", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 850-872. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-03-2012-0036

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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