This study analyzes impacts by batch picking on picker blocking in narrow-aisle order picking, and determines appropriate batch formations for a better order picking throughput. We present multiple-pick analytical models to offer insights about picker blocking in batch picking. Several simulation studies over a variety of batching situations scrutinize order batching situations which give throughput benefits in narrow-aisle configurations by satisfying the analytical results. Our results highlight three findings for narrow-aisle batch picking processes: 1) variation of pick probability in batch picking is inevitable and is a primary driver of picker blocking; 2) a near-optimal distance-based batching algorithm can experience less picker blocking than expected, because it reduces both the number of aisles visited and the variation in the number of picks per aisle; and 3) the sorting strategy itself (i.e., pick-then-sort or sort-while-pick) causes varying amounts of congestion.
Proceedings of the International Material Handling Research Colloquium
Hong, Soondo; Johnson, Andrew L.; and Peters, Brett A., "Analysis of Picker Blocking in Narrow-aisle Batch Picking" (2010). 11th IMHRC Proceedings (Milwaukee, Wisconsin. USA – 2010). 27.