An approximation method based on G/G/m queuing network modeling using Whitt's queuing network analyzer to analyze pick-and-pass order picking systems is presented. The objective of this approximation method is to provide an instrument for obtaining rapid performance estimates (such as order lead time and station utilization) of an order picking system. The pick-and-pass system is decomposed into conveyor segments and pick stations. Conveyor segments have a constant processing time, whereas the service times at a pick station depend on the number of order lines in the order to be picked at the station, the storage policy at the station and the work practices. The proposed approximation method appears to be sufficiently accurate for practical purposes. It can be used to rapidly evaluate the effects of the storage methods in pick stations, the number of order pickers at stations, the size of pick stations, the arrival process of customer orders and the impact of batching and splitting orders on system performance.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
IIE Transactions
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Yu, M., & de Koster, R. (2008). Performance approximation and design of pick-and-pass order picking systems. IIE Transactions, 40(11), 1054–1069. doi:10.1080/07408170802167613