Features and innovations

Warehouse Performance: from optimized inventory reservation to intelligent batch planning! (part 3/4)

In our last article, we already introduced you to the topic of stock reservation as a first optimisation measure for a more efficient warehouse performance. This time we would like to look at the second phase, namely the optimisation of batch planning for an intelligent picking strategy in the warehouse.

The initial situation: Items of several orders are combined in multi-order picking and processed in one round. In the process, the commis


The order management itself can be carried out in one step (order-oriented) or two steps (item-oriented). The classic compilation of order items for a transport unit and an employee is based on order priorities and compiles the next pending order items taking into account, for example, the volume of the transport unit. In most cases, this results in a large spread between the items to be picked. Figure 1 opposite shows the following scenario: the respective orders to be picked are arranged according to priority. Due to the fact that the picking orders have not been strategically reserved within a local area or at least within an aisle, the employees of a transport unit cover long distances and usually have to pick in the entire warehouse area. In the process, the long travel times in particular account for a significant proportion of the picking time and have a negative impact on performance in the long term. This does not have to be the case!

One possible solution here is to optimise batch planning and thus answer the question: "Which order items should be planned on a transport unit so that the distances are minimal?" What does the whole thing look like in practice? The grun


The basis for this measure is the planned picks as a result of the stock reservation. In the course of batch planning, these picks are strategically classified and optimised so that as many order items or pre-calculated package shares as possible can be picked and, above all, as close together as possible (cf. Fig. 2).

Strategic stock reservation and the consistent use of reservation results also make it possible to implement batch planning in the best possible way. The goal is to put together strategically sensible combinations of pick orders on a transport unit within a round trip in order to reduce the walking distances. This is mainly achieved by planning locally related orders together in one batch, but with the restriction that the planned batch is not larger than one transport unit. The optimised batch planning is carried out taking into account the same checking sequences as the stock reservation, each of which is set using the customer's warehouse layout. Examples of one type of inspection level are "segment clean" or "level clean". At the same time, the permissible planning combinations of the segments are defined and concrete threshold values for planning the next batches are configured, with the aim of increasing the quantitative throughput as best as possible and making optimal use of the available resources (e.g. people, trolleys).

The result: with optimised batch planning, incoming orders in the warehouse can be processed faster in a timely manner, with shorter routing times and less effort per order. In this way, you make the best possible use of the potential in your warehouse and thus increase the overall efficiency of your warehouse.

Would you like to learn more about the consistent analysis and use of data in the warehouse? Then also read "Warehouse Performance: "Warehouse Healing" Strategy as the Key to an Intelligent Warehouse! (Part 4/4)"

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