This paper develops a novel framework to evaluate the integral performance of order picking systems with different combinations of storage and order picking policies. The warehousing literature on order picking mostly considers minimizing either elapsed time or distance as the sole objective, whereas warehouse managers in a supply chain have to look beyond single-dimensional performance and consider trade-offs among different criteria. Thus managers still need a unified and efficient framework to select a portfolio of appropriate order picking policies from a multi-criteria and contextual perspective. Our framework—combining data envelopment analysis, ranking and selection, and multiple comparisons—provides an efficient methodology to simultaneously analyze several interrelated problems in order picking systems with multiple performance attributes, such as service levels and operational costs. We demonstrate our approach through comprehensive evaluations of order picking policies in three low-level, picker-to-parts rectangular warehouses facing demand variations.

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Keywords data envelopment analysis, order picking, performance evaluation, process design, warehouse management
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Production and Operations Management
Chen, C.M, & Gong, Y. (2010). A Flexible Evaluative Framework for Order Picking Systems. Production and Operations Management, 19(1), 70–82. doi:10.1111/j.1937-5956.2009.01047.x