Introduction to the interactive warehouse

What is this site about?

Just imagine a store that orders products from a warehouse. These products have to be retrieved from the storage area.

That is easy. Send someone in and tell him which products the store wants.

Yes, that is right. But, if we only give that person a list of products, then he or she might be wandering around the warehouse for quite a while. We could give directions. That is, it would be very convenient for a person to know at least the sequence in which he or she should visit the locations.

Why? Just give the list and the person will return with the products after a while.

That is certainly true. However, his superior would probably like him to return as fast as possible. The order picker could use some help with that. There are several techniques to determine a good sequence for each order.

Hold on. Techniques? You mean that you want a computer to find a good route through the warehouse for every order?

Yes. As a matter of fact, quite a number of Warehouse Management Systems are capable of that. Unfortunately, the methods used in these systems are generally not very good. I have made this internet site to show a few methods that find routes in a warehouse.

Somehow, I sense that you didn't just make a site to show some alternatives. You probably think that your methods are better than the ones that are generally used.

Let me put it this way. I don't know of any standard Warehouse Management System using a method to determine the shortest route for every order. Recently, I did a study for a company. I found that if they would use an optimal routing strategy, then the order pickers could pick the same amount of orders, walking only 70% of the distance. After seeing these results, the company decided to implement my 'combined heuristic'.

Are your methods really good? Maybe I can find better routes than your computer methods.

You can try that! This site offers the possibility to make your own routes, just by moving the mouse. And after making a route, you can compare it to the routing methods. Good luck.

Go to the Interactive Warehouse

Some background information

The Interactive Warehouse is created by Kees Jan Roodbergen.
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