E-commerce fulfillment competition evolves around cheap, speedy, and time-definite delivery. Milkrun order picking systems have proven to be very successful in providing handling speed for a large, but highly variable, number of orders. In this system, an order picker picks orders that arrive in real time during the picking process; by dynamically changing the stops on the picker’s current picking route. The advantage of milkrun picking is that it reduces order picking set-up time and worker travel time compared to conventional batch picking systems. This paper is the first in studying order throughput times of multi-line orders in a milkrun picking system. We model this system as a cyclic polling system with simultaneous batch arrivals and determine the mean order throughput time. These results allow us to study the effect of different product allocations. For a real world application we show that milkrun order picking reduces the order throughput time significantly compared to conventional batch picking.
Progress in Material Handling Research: 2016
van der Gaast, J. P.; de Koster, M.B. M.; and Adan, I.J.B.F., "Analyzing Order Throughput Times in a Milkrun Picking System" (2016). 14th IMHRC Proceedings (Karlsruhe, Germany – 2016). 34.