Design and control of warehouse order picking: a literature review
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Order picking has long been identified as the most labour-intensive and costly activity for almost every warehouse; the cost of order picking is estimated to be as much as 55% of the total warehouse operating expense. Any underperformance in order picking can lead to unsatisfactory service and high operational cost for the warehouse, and consequently for the whole supply chain. In order to operate efficiently, the order-picking process needs to be robustly designed and optimally controlled. This paper gives a literature overview on typical decision problems in design and control of manual order-picking processes. We focus on optimal (internal) layout design, storage assignment methods, routing methods, order batching and zoning. The research in this area has grown rapidly recently. Still, combinations of the above areas have hardly been explored. Order-picking system developments in practice lead to promising new research directions.