Sequencing unit load retrieval requests has been studied extensively in literature for conventional single-deep automated warehousing systems. A proper sequence can greatly reduce the makespan when carrying out a group of such requests. Although the sequencing problem is NP-hard some very good heuristics exist. Surprisingly the problem has not yet been investigated for compact (multi-deep) storage systems, which have greatly increased in popularity the last decade. This paper studies how to sequence a group (or block) of storage and retrieval requests in a multi-deep automated storage system with the objective to minimize the makespan. We adapt well-known sequencing heuristics for the multi-deep system, and propose and evaluate a new heuristic: percentage priority to retrievals with shortest leg (PPR-SL). Our results show the PPR-SL heuristic consistently outperforms all the other heuristics. Generally, it can outperform the benchmark first-come first-served (FCFS) heuristic by 20-70%. The nearest neighbor (NN) heuristic that performs very well in conventional single-deep storage systems, appears to perform poorly in the multi-deep system; even worse than FCFS. In addition, based on FCFS and PPR-SL, we find robust rack dimensions yielding a short makespan, regardless of the number of storage and retrieval requests.

Additional Metadata
Keywords AS/RS, TSP, compact storage, logistics, sequencing, warehouse
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
Yu, Y, & de Koster, M.B.M. (2011). Sequencing Heuristics for Storing and Retrieving Unit Loads in 3D Compact Automated Warehousing Systems (No. ERS-2011-003-LIS). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from