Development of order picking planning models considering ergonomics and worker characteristics
Order picking in warehouses is considered a key node for customer service and product availability, and it should be performed as efficiently as possible. Thus, the management of manual order picking processes has attracted the attention of researchers and practitioners for many years. Given the high impact manual order picking has on the total logistics cost of the company, the focus of prior research in this area was on the development of mathematical planning models that support, for example, finding assignments of items to shelf spaces or routes for the order pickers that reduce costs. However, considering human characteristics and their implications on order picking performance has inexplicably been overlooked by order picking research, and it has largely been ignored in order picking planning models. As a result, the performance of order pickers has been assumed constant over time, and errors that may occur during order picking have been neglected, which obviously led to unrealistic planning outcomes. The project at hand addresses this significant research gap and aims at developing analytical models considering human factors and worker characteristics in planning the order picking process. This can help in developing more realistic order picking planning models and in improving model validity. Understanding the implications of human factors on order picking efficiency and not assuming machine-like characteristics in planning models helps to increase the performance of order picking systems.The participant will support research activities carried out at the Institute of Production and Supply Chain Management, which will involve both qualitative and quantitative research methods related to the project goal. This includes the development of mathematical models as well as field studies on working conditions in typical order picking warehouses for data collection.
Pre-requisites or requirements for the project
Undergraduate courses in human factors engineering and operations/logistics management; basic programming skills
Recommended literature and preparation
Grosse, E. H., Glock, C. H., Jaber, M. Y., & Neumann, W. P. (2015). Incorporating human factors in order picking planning models: framework and research opportunities. International Journal of Production Research, 53(3), 695-717.
until the end of December 2018