Doctoral Thesis Design and Control of Efficient Order Picking Processes

Defended on Friday, 23 September 2005


Within a logistics chain, products need to be physically moved from one location to another, from manufacturers to end users. During this process, commonly products are buffered or stored at certain places (warehouses) for a certain period of time. Order picking - the process of retrieving products from storage (or buffer area) in response to a specific customer request - is the most critical warehouse process. It is a labour intensive operation in manual systems and a capital intensive operation in automated systems. Order picking underperformance may lead to unsatisfactory service and high operational cost for the warehouse, and consequently for the whole chain. In order to operate efficiently, the order picking process needs to be designed and optimally controlled. Thesis Design and Control of Efficient Order Picking Processes aims at providing analytical models to support the design and control of efficient order picking processes. Various methods for estimating picking tour length, determining the optimal storage zone boundaries, layout, picking batch size and number of pick zones are presented. The methods are tested by simulation experiments and illustrated by numerical examples.


Order picking, Warehousing, Logistics Management, Order batching, Zoning, Warehouse design, Layout optimization, Storage zone optimization, Travel distance estimation, Order fulfillment and distribution, Storage system

Time frame

2001 - 2005

Preferred reference

T. Le-Duc, Design and Control of Efficient Order Picking Processes, René de Koster,


Tho Le Duc


René de Koster
Professor of Logistics and Operations Management
  • Promotor

Committee Members

Steef van de Velde
Dean RSM & Professor of Management and Technology