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Paper Highlight: Analytical Models for Warehouse Configuration

Abstract

The performance of a warehouse is impacted by how it is configured, yet there is no optimization model in the literature to answer the question of how to best configure the warehouse in terms of warehouse shape and the configuration of the dock doors. Moreover, the building blocks for such a model (put-away, replenishment, and order picking models that can be combined in an optimization model) are either not available (in the case of replenishment) or built on a set of inconsistent assumptions (in the case of put-away and order picking). Therefore, this article lays the foundation for more sophisticated warehouse configuration optimization models by developing the first analytical model for replenishment operation performance and extending put-away and order picking performance models. These new models are used to address a question motivated by industry: the optimal configuration of a case-picking warehouse in terms of the shape of the facility and whether the facility is configured with dock doors on one or both sides. An example is presented to demonstrate the use of the proposed models in answering such a question, quantifying the benefit of using an integrated approach to warehouse configuration.

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