ERIM Research Clinic: Facility Logistics



Within the ERIM-LIS group Facility logistics (material handling) is one of the five main research themes. Facility logistics deals with the design, management, planning and control of flows (product, people, or information) within facilities (manufacturing plants, container terminals, warehouses, cross-docks, hospitals), with the objectives to optimize performance (lead time, variability, reliability, customer service, costs, flexibility,..).

In this lecture I will focus on warehouse logistics. Warehouses plays an important role in the supply chains of companies as they decouple supply from demand. Moreover, warehouses have a role in forming an assortment or as a point in the supply chain to group material flows to create transport efficiencies.
Many problems in warehouse optimization can be tackled with simple models. As an example, I will treat the following warehouse-design questions using elementary models.

  • How much stock should be stored in the warehouse?
  • What is the optimum size (height/width ratio) of a warehouse, or of a storage rack?
  • How many storage/retrieval cranes (see picture) are needed to achieve a certain throughput?
  • What are the optimum boundaries for turnover-class based storage?
  • What is the optimum storage depth?
  • How can we compare warehouse performance?

If time permits I will also give some examples of current research projects.

Reading material: "Design and control of warehouse order picking: A literature review", René de Koster, Tho Le-Duc and Kees Jan Roodbergen (
Contact information:
Miho Iizuka