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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1981

Brian N McKibbin

In the mid‐1970s Mothercare decided to establish a new distribution centre and mail order warehouse; a number of alternative order picking systems were considered for the…

Abstract

In the mid‐1970s Mothercare decided to establish a new distribution centre and mail order warehouse; a number of alternative order picking systems were considered for the company's world‐wide mail order operation. This article examines the various alternatives and describes the system which was finally selected — a carousel storage and selection arrangement. Current performance statistics of the system are provided which are related to Mothercare's sales volumes.

Details

Retail and Distribution Management, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-2363

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2002

Charles G. Petersen

In today’s competitive global economy, the focus is on faster delivery of small more frequent orders of inventory at a lower total cost. This often precludes the use of…

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5526

Abstract

In today’s competitive global economy, the focus is on faster delivery of small more frequent orders of inventory at a lower total cost. This often precludes the use of full pallet picking in warehouses so firms commonly use manual picking of cases and broken‐cases. Many firms increase the efficiency of their warehouses by using zone picking. Zone picking requires that a worker only pick those stock‐keeping units (SKUs) stored within their picking zone. In this paper we examine the configuration or shape of these picking zones by simulating a bin‐shelving warehouse to measure picker travel where SKUs are assigned storage locations either using random or volume‐based storage. The results show that the size or storage capacity of the zone, the number of items on the pick list, and the storage policy have a significant effect on picking zone configuration. In addition, we found that the absence of a back cross aisle also affected picking zone configuration. These results offer solutions to managers looking to implement improvements in distribution center operations.

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International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 22 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 19 July 2013

Eric H. Grosse and Christoph H. Glock

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…

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1945

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.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Antonio C. Caputo and Pacifico M. Pelagagge

To develop a decision support system (DSS) and improved management criteria for operating dispenser‐based single‐piece automatic order picking systems (AOPS) in…

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4010

Abstract

Purpose

To develop a decision support system (DSS) and improved management criteria for operating dispenser‐based single‐piece automatic order picking systems (AOPS) in distribution centers, able to reduce the need for manual decision making based on personal experience or subjective judgement.

Design/methodology/approach

Simulation was utilized to analyze the relationships between stochastic demand, setup parameters and performances of an AOPS. A set of rules was then defined to cost‐effectively select the values of setup parameters. A DSS was built incorporating the heuristic rules to dynamically update the equipment setup.

Findings

Manual management of an AOPS can be poorly efficient even if largely practiced. Significant economic benefits may result from rule‐based equipment setup instead of the traditional manual decision approach. This was verified resorting to a case study referring to the distribution center of a leading pharmaceuticals distributor in Italy. Major performances improvements resulted regarding manual operation by an experienced logistic manager, including a 40 per cent reduction of the cost per picked order line.

Practical implications

The proposed DSS is able to monitor the system behaviour over a specified time window and automatically set the values of the state variables for the next period. It is able to automatically define the set of items to be allocated on to the machine, to select the number of storage locations allocated to each item and set reorder levels and maximum picking quantities for each item, thus greatly simplifying the task of the logistic manager. Utilization of this DSS enables one to maintain a high level of picking automation efficiency while drastically cutting the required support personnel, thus significantly improving profit margins of high‐volume high‐rotation distribution centers.

Originality/value

The paper addresses, with original methodology, a practically relevant issue which is neglected in the literature. The paper is aimed at distribution centers managers seeking to improve the performances of AOPS and reduce their operating costs.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 106 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2019

Fabio Sgarbossa, Martina Calzavara and Alessandro Persona

Vertical lift module (VLM) is a parts-to-picker system for order picking of small products, which are stored into two columns of trays served by a lifting crane. A…

Abstract

Purpose

Vertical lift module (VLM) is a parts-to-picker system for order picking of small products, which are stored into two columns of trays served by a lifting crane. A dual-bay VLM order picking (dual-bay VLM-OP) system is a particular solution where the operator works in parallel with the crane, allowing higher throughput performance. The purpose of this paper is to define models for different operating configurations able to improve the total throughput of the dual-bay VLM-OP system.

Design/methodology/approach

Analytical models are developed to estimate the throughput of a dual-bay VLM-OP. A deep evaluation has been carried out, considering different storage assignment policies and the sequencing retrieval of trays.

Findings

A more accurate estimation of the throughput is demonstrated, compared to the application of previous models. Some use guidelines for practitioners and academics are derived from the analysis based on real data.

Originality/value

Differing from previous contributions, these models include the acceleration/deceleration of the crane and the probability of storage and retrieve of each single tray. This permits to apply these models to different storage assignment policies and to suggest when these policies can be profitably applied. They can also model the sequencing retrieval of trays.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 119 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Woo Ram Kim, Namuook Kim and Yoon Seok Chang

This paper aims to explore methods of defining ejecting zones (EZs) used in automatic picking systems (APSs), particularly in A-frame APSs. An A-frame APS automatically…

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589

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore methods of defining ejecting zones (EZs) used in automatic picking systems (APSs), particularly in A-frame APSs. An A-frame APS automatically ejects products onto a conveyor, which then brings the products to their destination. EZs are moving zones on a conveyor, and each EZ corresponds to one picking order. Products are ejected as a zone passes channels in which the products are stored.

Design/methodology/approach

First, three EZ types are defined, and their operations are explained. Second, picking orders are analyzed and categorized by considering the structure and the picking mechanism of an A-frame APS. In addition, picking-order instances reflecting actual data are randomly generated according to each category. Finally, the performance of the EZs is evaluated using the picking-order instances and computer simulations.

Findings

The results from the computer simulations suggest the EZ types suitable for use with various picking order types considering order fulfilment speed and energy usage.

Research limitations/implications

In this paper, the authors only adopt a triangular distribution which is considered most practical distribution in the industry.

Practical implications

It is believed that these results can provide managers and operators with useful guides to facilitate the effective operation of an A-frame APS. The provided ideas have been implemented at the pharmaceutical warehouse of the largest logistics company in Korea.

Social implications

The result shows that the proposed idea could save energy consumption and the APS have potential to save labor involvement in picking.

Originality/value

It is essential to define the EZs when operating an A-frame APS efficiently, but there is almost no research in this area. This paper focuses on defining EZs, as well as methods to utilize these zones.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Mar Vazquez-Noguerol, Iván González-Boubeta, Iago Portela-Caramés and J. Carlos Prado-Prado

Grocery sellers that have entered the online business must now carry out order fulfilment activities previously done by the customer. Consequently, in a context of online…

Abstract

Purpose

Grocery sellers that have entered the online business must now carry out order fulfilment activities previously done by the customer. Consequently, in a context of online sales growth, the purpose of this study is to identify and implement best practices in order to redesign the order picking process in a retailer with a store-based model.

Design/methodology/approach

To identify different work alternatives, an approach is developed to analyse the methods used in distinct stores of one large Spanish grocer. The methodology employed is a three-step statistical analysis that combines ANOVA and MANOVA techniques to settle on the best alternatives in each case.

Findings

Substantial improvements can be achieved by analysing the different working methods. The three-step statistical analysis identified best practices in terms of their impact on preparation time, allowing a faster working method.

Practical implications

To manage business processes efficiently, online grocers that operate store-based fulfilment strategies can redesign their working method using a criterion based on their own performance.

Originality/value

This is one of the few contributions focusing on the improvement of e-grocery fulfilment operations by disseminating best practices through decision-making criteria. This study contributes by addressing the lack of approaches studying the order picking process by considering its various features and applying best practices.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1989

MARC GOETSCHALCKX and JALAL ASHAYERI

Two researchers suggest a new approach to the most fundamental warehousing operation of all.

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1719

Abstract

Two researchers suggest a new approach to the most fundamental warehousing operation of all.

Details

Logistics World, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-2137

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2011

Gino Marchet, Marco Melacini and Sara Perotti

The purpose of this paper is to study the performances of “pick‐and‐sort” orderpicking systems (OPSs) and investigate picking efficiency and design issues as a function…

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2351

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the performances of “pick‐and‐sort” orderpicking systems (OPSs) and investigate picking efficiency and design issues as a function of the number and length of the picking waves.

Design/methodology/approach

An analytical model is proposed to estimate the picking efficiency as a function of wavelength. The model, which has been tested by simulations, includes an algorithm to estimate the expected overlapping of order lines. Finally, a case study illustrates the use of the model in the initial assessment phase of OPS design, and resolves the trade‐off between picking efficiency and sorting cost.

Findings

The effect of the wavelength on picking efficiency is calculated.

Research limitations/implications

The trade‐off analysis between picking efficiency and sorting cost refers to a specific sorting system and picking area layout.

Practical implications

The paper provides a tool to support the design of “pick‐and‐sort” OPS, where the importance of the length of the picking wave emerges.

Originality/value

This paper presents an innovative model that can be used in the initial phase of “pick‐and‐sort” OPS design.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1994

Henrik Brynzér, Mats I. Johansson and Lars Medbo

Presents a methodology useful when analysing the efficiency of orderpicking systems. The main feature of the analysis is the ability tocompare different system designs…

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2170

Abstract

Presents a methodology useful when analysing the efficiency of order picking systems. The main feature of the analysis is the ability to compare different system designs. The methodology has earlier been applied mainly to assembly production systems, and has in these cases proved to be an effective management tool in discussions concerning the choice of production system.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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