This paper proposes an approximation model based on queuing network theory to analyze the impact of order batching and picking area zoning on the mean order throughput time in a pick-and-pass order picking system. The model includes the sorting process needed to sort the batch again by order. Service times at pick zones are assumed to follow general distributions. The first and second moments of service times at zones and the visiting probability of a batch of orders to a pick zone are derived. Based on this information, the mean throughput time of an arbitrary order in the order picking system is obtained. Results from a real application and simulation show that this approximation model provides acceptable accuracy for practical purposes. Furthermore, the proposed method is simple and fast and can be easily applied in the design and selection process of order picking systems.

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Keywords applied probability, queueing, simulation, stochastic processes
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal European Journal of Operational Research
Yu, M, & de Koster, M.B.M. (2009). The impact of order batching and picking area zoning on order picking system performance. European Journal of Operational Research, 198(2), 480–490. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2008.09.011