Design and Control of Efficient Order Picking Processes

By Tho Le-Duc


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.

About Tho Le-Duc

Tho Le-Duc was born in 1974 in Quang Ninh, Vietnam. He received a Bachelor degree in Navigation Science from the Vietnam Maritime University in 1996 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology Bangkok Thailand (AIT) in 1998. Thanks to the financial support from the Belgian Development and Co-operations, he obtained his master degree in Industrial Management from the Catholic University of Leuven in 2000. Since May 2001, he started as a PhD candidate at Erasmus University. For more than four years, he performed research on order picking in warehouses. As the results, Tho Le-Duc has been presented his research at several conferences in the fields of operations research, material handling, logistics and supply chain management in both Europe and North America. His research papers have been published or accepted for publication in several refereed conference proceedings, scientific books and international journals.

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