SCL SEMINAR :: When to Separate Carton-picking from Piece-picking in a Distribution Center
Many high-volume distribution centers, especially those that support retail stores, pick pieces from flow racks. Should carton quantities be picked from there as well? Or should cartons be picked from bulk storage? The former results in restocking more frequently; and the latter, higher pick costs. We build a mathematical model that tells us where each unit (cartons, pieces) of each SKU should be picked so that total labor costs (picking plus restocking) are minimized. The decision procedure is efficient and proven to err from optimal by an insignificant amount.