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Metaheuristics for Order Batching and Sequencing in Manual Order Picking Systems


  • Sebastian Henn

    () (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Verena Schmid

    () (Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics, Universität Wien)


Order picking deals with the retrieval of articles from their storage locations in order to satisfy customer requests. A major issue in manual order picking systems concerns of the transformation and consolidation of customer orders into picking orders (order batching). In practice, customer orders have to be completed by certain due dates in order to avoid delay in the shipment to customers or in production. The composition of the picking orders, their processing times and the sequence according to which they are released have a significant impact on whether and to which extent given due dates are violated. This paper presents how metaheuristics can be used in order to minimize the total tardiness for a given set of customer orders. The first heuristic is based on Iterated Local Search, the second one is inspired by the Attribute-Based Hill Climber, a heuristic based on a simple tabu search principle. In a series of extensive numerical experiments, the performance of these metaheuristics is analyzed for different classes of instances. We will show that the proposed methods provide solutions which may allow for operating order picking systems more efficiently. Solutions can be improved by 46% on average, compared to the ones obtained by standard constructive heuristics such as an application of the Earliest Due Date rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Henn & Verena Schmid, 2011. "Metaheuristics for Order Batching and Sequencing in Manual Order Picking Systems," FEMM Working Papers 110011, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:110011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Derigs, U. & Kaiser, R., 2007. "Applying the attribute based hill climber heuristic to the vehicle routing problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(2), pages 719-732, March.
    2. de Koster, Rene & Le-Duc, Tho & Roodbergen, Kees Jan, 2007. "Design and control of warehouse order picking: A literature review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 182(2), pages 481-501, October.
    3. Yu, Mengfei & de Koster, René B.M., 2009. "The impact of order batching and picking area zoning on order picking system performance," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 198(2), pages 480-490, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Tzu-Li & Cheng, Chen-Yang & Chen, Yin-Yann & Chan, Li-Kai, 2015. "An efficient hybrid algorithm for integrated order batching, sequencing and routing problem," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 158-167.
    2. Cheng, Chen-Yang & Chen, Yin-Yann & Chen, Tzu-Li & Jung-Woon Yoo, John, 2015. "Using a hybrid approach based on the particle swarm optimization and ant colony optimization to solve a joint order batching and picker routing problem," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 170(PC), pages 805-814.

    More about this item


    Warehouse Management; Order Batching; Batch Sequencing; Due Dates; Iterated Local Search; Attribute-Based Hill Climber;

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