Order Batch Formations for Less Picker Blocking in a Narrow-Aisle Picking System

  • Received : 2015.07.18
  • Accepted : 2015.09.14
  • Published : 2015.09.30


This paper analyses the best batch formations for order picking throughput in narrow-aisle order picking systems. Our analytical comparison finds that a high pick density variation leads to a heavy picker blocking. Simulation experiments show that a distance-based batching algorithm reduces picker blocking by decreasing the number of aisles visited and stabilizing the variation in number of picks per aisle by packing orders tightly, and that the solution quality and mechanism for determining the batch size dictated by the sorting strategy causes varying amounts of blocking. We conclude that combining a distance-based batching method with an appropriate batch sizing strategy will reduce picker blocking and shorten travel in narrow-aisle picking systems.


Warehousing;Order Batch Picking;Batching and Routing;Picker Blocking;Simulation Comparison


  1. Gue, K. R., Meller, R. D., and Skufca, J. D. (2006), The effects of pick density on order picking areas with narrow aisles, IIE Transactions, 38, 859-868.
  2. Ruben, R. A. and Jacobs, F. R. (1999), Batch construction heuristics and storage assignment strategies for walk/ride and pick systems, Management Science, 45, 575-596.
  3. Tompkins, J. A., Bozer, Y. A., and Tanchoco, J. M. A. (2003), Facilities Planning, J. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
  4. Parikh, P. J. and Meller, R. D. (2009), Estimating picker blocking in wide-aisle order picking systems, IIE Transactions, 41, 232-246.
  5. Parikh, P. J. and Meller, R. D. (2010), A note on worker blocking in narrow-aisle order picking systems when pick time is non-deterministic, IIE Transactions, 42, 392-404.
  6. Skufca, J. D. (2005), k Workers in a circular warehouse: a random walk on a circle, without passing, SIAM Review, 47, 301-314.
  7. De Koster, R., Van der Poort, E. S., and Wolters, M. (1999), Efficient orderbatching methods in warehouses, International Journal of Production Research, 37, 1479-1504.
  8. Gademann, N. and Van de Velde, S. (2005), Order batching to minimize total travel time in a parallelaisle warehouse, IIE Transactions, 37, 63-75.
  9. Gademann, N., Van den Berg, J., and Van der Hoff, H. (2001), An order batching algorithm for wave picking in a parallel-aisle warehouse, IIE Transactions, 33, 385-398.
  10. Hong, S., Johnson, A. L., and Peters, B. A. (2012), Large-scale order batching in parallel-aisle picking systems, IIE Transactions, 44, 88-106.
  11. Clarke, G. and Wright, J. W. (1964), Scheduling of vehicles from a central depot to a number of delivery points, Operations Research, 12, 568-581.
  12. Hong, S., Johnson, A. L., and Peters, B. A. (2013), A note on picker blocking models in a parallel-aisle order picking system, IIE Transactions, 45, 1345-1355.
  13. Hong, S., Johnson, A. L., and Peters, B. A. (2015a), Quantifying picker blocking in a bucket brigade order picking system, International Journal of Production Economics.
  14. Hong, S., Johnson, A. L., and Peters, B. A. (2015b), Order batching in a bucket brigade order picking system considering picker blocking, Flexible Services and Manufacturing.
  15. Gibson, D. R. and Sharp, G. P. (1992), Order batching procedures, European journal of operational research, 58, 57-67.

Cited by

  1. Dynamic order batching in bucket brigade order picking systems with consecutive batch windows and non-identical pickers pp.1366-588X, 2019,


Supported by : Pusan National University