Warehouses are an inevitable component in any supply chain and a vividly investigated object of research. Much attention, however, is absorbed by warehousing systems dedicated to the special needs of online retailers in the business-to-consumer segment. Due to the ever increasing sales volumes of e-commerce this focus seems self-evident, but a much larger fraction of retail sales are still realized by traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The special needs of warehouses servicing these stores are focused in this paper. While e-commerce warehouses face low-volume-high-mix picking orders, because private households tend to order just a few pieces per order from a large assortment, distribution centers of retail chains rather have to process high-volume-low-mix orders. We elaborate the basic requirements within both business segments and identify suited warehousing systems for brick-and-mortar stores (e.g., fully-automated case picking). The setup of each identified warehousing system is described, elementary decision problems are discussed, and the existing literature is surveyed. Furthermore, we identify future research needs.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2020.04.058, hdl.handle.net/1765/127607
European Journal of Operational Research
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Boysen, N. (Nils), de Koster, M.B.M, & Füßler, D. (David). (2020). The forgotten sons: Warehousing systems for brick-and-mortar retail chains. European Journal of Operational Research. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2020.04.058