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Keywords:

  • warehouse management;
  • storage assignment;
  • order picking;
  • bucket brigade

Bucket brigade order picking is a method for retrieving orders from a storage rack where workers follow a fixed sequence and dynamically adjust to variability in work content along the rack. The method is simple and has been shown to provide superior performance in many applications. In this article, we analyze how the location in which products are stored in the rack affects throughput. We identify conditions where storage decisions have a large impact on throughput (e.g., a 20% increase in productivity) and conditions where the impact is minimal. Conditions associated with high impact are high variation in worker skill, high variation in SKU volume, and a moderate level of walking-to-picking work content per pick list.