Throughput models for a dual-bay VLM order picking system under different configurations
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionIndustrial management & data systems. 2019, 119 (6), 1268-1288. 10.1108/IMDS-11-2018-0518
Purpose Vertical lift module (VLM) is a parts-to-picker system for order picking of small products, which are stored into two columns of trays served by a lifting crane. A dual-bay VLM order picking (dual-bay VLM-OP) system is a particular solution where the operator works in parallel with the crane, allowing higher throughput performance. The purpose of this paper is to define models for different operating configurations able to improve the total throughput of the dual-bay VLM-OP system. Design/methodology/approach Analytical models are developed to estimate the throughput of a dual-bay VLM-OP. A deep evaluation has been carried out, considering different storage assignment policies and the sequencing retrieval of trays. Findings A more accurate estimation of the throughput is demonstrated, compared to the application of previous models. Some use guidelines for practitioners and academics are derived from the analysis based on real data. Originality/value Differing from previous contributions, these models include the acceleration/deceleration of the crane and the probability of storage and retrieve of each single tray. This permits to apply these models to different storage assignment policies and to suggest when these policies can be profitably applied. They can also model the sequencing retrieval of trays.