The performance of a storage policy in a warehouse is usually evaluated on the basis of the average one-way travel distance/time needed to store/retrieve a load. Dividing the storage space into zones based on item turnover frequency can reduce the travel distance. However, for a given number of stored items, a larger number of storage zones also requires more storage space, because of reduced space sharing between the items, which increases travel time. This study considers the required space consumption by storage zoning in comparing the performance of random, full turnover-based and class-based storage policies for a unit-load warehouse operated by a forklift in single-command mode. A generalised travel distance model that considers the required space consumption is developed to compare the performance of these policies. Results show that the one-way travel distance of a random policy decreases with the increase in skewness of the demand curve. By considering the required space consumption, a class-based storage policy performs generally better than a full turnover-based policy. In addition, the optimal warehouse shape factor (ratio of warehouse width to depth) appears to decrease with the skewness of the demand curve. Warehouse managers are advised to adopt a wide-shallow warehouse layout when the item demands are approximately equal, whereas a narrow-deep layout is preferred when the demand curves are steep.

, , , ,,
ERIM Top-Core Articles
International Journal of Production Research
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Guo, X., Yu, Y., & de Koster, R. (2016). Impact of required storage space on storage policy performance in a unit-load warehouse. International Journal of Production Research, 54(8), 2405–2418. doi:10.1080/00207543.2015.1083624