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Robotized Warehouse Systems: Developments and Research Opportunities

Kaveh Azadeh, René de Koster and Debjit Roy

No ERS-2017-009-LIS, ERIM Report Series Research in Management from Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam

Abstract: Robotized handling systems are increasingly applied in distribution centers. They require little space, provide flexibility in managing varying demand requirements, and are able to work 24/7. This makes them particularly fit for e-commerce operations. This paper reviews new categories of robotized handling systems, such as the shuttle-based storage and retrieval systems, shuttle-based compact storage systems, and robotic mobile fulfillment systems. For each system, we categorize the literature in three groups: system analysis, design optimization, and operations planning and control. Our focus is to identify the research issue and OR modeling methodology adopted to analyze the problem. We find that many new robotic systems and applications have hardly been studied in academic literature, despite their increasing use in practice. Due to unique system features (such as autonomous control, networked and dynamic operation), new models and methods are needed to address the design and operational control challenges for such systems, in particular, for the integration of subsystems. Integrated robotized warehouse systems will form the next category of warehouses. All vital warehouse design, planning and control logic such as methods to design layout, storage and order picking system selection, storage slotting, order batching, picker routing, and picker to order assignment will have to be revisited for new robotized warehouses.

Keywords: robotized warehouse systems; robotized handling systems (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-05-30
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