Open Location Management in Automated Warehousing Systems
46 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2009
Date Written: 30 2009 1,
A warehouse needs to have sufficient open locations to be able to store incoming shipments of various sizes. In combination with ongoing load retrievals open locations gradually spread over the storage area. Unfavorable positions of open locations negatively impact the average load retrieval times. This paper presents a new method to manage these open locations such that the average system travel time for processing a block of storage and retrieval jobs in an automated warehousing system is minimized. We introduce the effective storage area (ESA), a well-defined part of the locations closest to the depot; where only a part of the open locations –the effective open locations-, together with all the products, are stored. We determine the optimal number of effective open locations and the ESA boundary minimizing the average travel time. Using the ESA policy, the travel time of a pair of storage and retrieval jobs can be reduced by more than 10% on average. Its performance depends hardly on the number or the sequence of retrievals. In fact, in case of only one retrieval, applying the policy leads already to beneficial results. Application is also easy; the ESA size can be changed dynamically during storage and retrieval operations.
Keywords: open locations, storage and retrieval, AS/RS, warehousing, distribution science
JEL Classification: M11, R4, M, C61, L81
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