Order picking in carousel systems under the nearest item heuristic

Nelli Litvak, I.J.B.F. Adan, J. Wessels, Willem H.M. Zijm

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A carousel is a computer controlled warehousing system, which is widely used to store small and medium sized goods. One of the most important performance characteristics of such systems is the pick time of an order, which mostly depends on the travel time of the carousel. In this paper we consider some reasonable heuristics for order picking. In particular we establish properties of the Nearest Item (NI) heuristic. This one is frequently used in practice. We derive tight upper bounds for the travel time under the NI heuristic, and closed form expressions for its mean and variance. We also present a simple two-moment approximation for the distribution of the travel time. In addition, we find the mean, variance and distribution of the number of turns.
Original languageUndefined
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Department of Applied Mathematics
Number of pages31
ISBN (Print)0169-2690
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Publication series

NameMemorandum / Faculty of Mathematical Sciences
PublisherDepartment of Applied Mathematics, University of Twente
ISSN (Print)0169-2690


  • EWI-3343
  • IR-65711
  • METIS-141218
  • MSC-90B05

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