On the performance of robotic parts-to-picker order picking systems
Order picking is the activity in which a number of items are retrieved from a warehousing system to satisfy a number of customer orders. Automating order picking systems has become a common response to the wide variety of products and components stored in today’s warehouses and the short delivery lead times requested by today’s customers. As a result, new technical solutions have reached the market, including robotic parts-to-picker order picking systems such as robot-based compact storage and retrieval systems (RCSRSs) and robotic mobile fulfilment systems (RMFSs).
Despite the increased use of robotic parts-to-picker order picking systems, knowledge about how they perform in terms of throughput, order lead time, human factors, quality, flexibility, operational efficiency, and investment and operational costs needs to be further developed, as does knowledge about how their performance is affected by the order picking system’s design and context. Accordingly, the purpose of this thesis is to expand knowledge about the performance of robotic parts-to-picker order picking systems by investigating how their design and context influence their performance.
The thesis is built upon three studies: a systematic literature review study focusing on automated order picking systems, a multiple-case study on RCSRSs, and a single-case study on RMFSs. First, the systematic literature review study on the performance of automated order picking systems provides an overview of literature on order picking systems to date, aspects of their performance, and how their performance relates to their design. Second, the multiple-case study sheds light on characteristics of the performance of RCSRSs and the relationships between their performance and design. Third and last, the single-case study affords insights on how the context of RMFSs affects their performance.
The thesis contributes to practice by providing guidance to decision makers within industry in terms of the performance to expect of robotic parts-to-picker OPSs depending on their design and context. In turn, such knowledge can facilitate the selection and design of an OPS or else the redesign of a current system. At the same time, the thesis contributes to theory by providing a synthesis of literature addressing the performance of automated OPSs and by outlining the relationships between their design and performance.
Seminar room Korsvägen (2456), Chalmers
Opponent: Anna Granlund, senior lecturer, division of Product Realization within Innovation and Product Realization, Mälardalen university, Sweden.