At Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer (VBA), about 19 million flowers have to be distributed daily to customers in a building of 1 million m 2 within a few hours. With the increasing daily number of customer orders, the congestion in the main distribution area increases. As a consequence, the makespan exceeds the available time, and flowers arrive too late at the customers. This paper investigates the concept of zoning in the distribution process, where distributors work in teams for a fixed group of customers in a specific zone of the distribution area. Customers are assigned to zones to balance workload. We show by simulation that this way of organizing the distribution process reduces congestion and leads to considerable improvements in both makespan and transaction lead time.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Customer orders, Customer satisfaction, Distribution, Heuristics, Land use, Lead-time, Makespan, Minimizing makespan, Optimization, Practice of OR, Sales, Simulation
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Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Operational Research Society. Journal
de Koster, M.B.M, & Yu, M. (2008). Minimizing makespan and throughput times at Aalsmeer flower auction. Operational Research Society. Journal, 59(9), 1182–1190. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602474