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The order-picking problem in parallel-aisle warehouses

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2009
Çelik, Melih
Order-picking operations constitute the costliest activities in a warehouse. The order-picking problem (OPP) aims to determine the route of the picker(s) in such a way that the total order-picking time, hence the order-picking costs are minimized. In this study, a warehouse that consists of parallel pick aisles is assumed, and various versions of the OPP are considered. Although the single-picker version of the problem has been well studied in the literature, the multiple-picker version has not received much attention in terms of algorithmic approaches. The literature also does not take into account the time taken by the number of turns during the picking route. In this thesis, a detailed discussion is made regarding the computational complexity of the OPP with a single picker. A heuristic procedure, which makes use of the exact algorithm for the OPP with no middle aisles, is proposed for the single-picker OPP with middle aisles, and computational results on randomly generated problems are given. Additionally, an evolutionary algorithm that makes use of the cluster-first, route-second and route-first, cluster-second heuristics for the VRP is provided. The parameters of the algorithm are determined based on preliminary runs and the algorithm is also tested on randomly generated problems, with di fferent weights given to the cluster-first, route-second and route-first, cluster-second approaches. Lastly, a polynomial time algorithm is proposed for the problem of minimizing the number of turns in a parallel-aisle warehouse.