Variable Neighborhood Search for the Order Batching and Sequencing Problem with Multiple Pickers
Order picking deals with the retrieval of articles from their storage locations in order to satisfy customer requests. The transformation and consolidation of customer orders into picking orders (batches) is pivotal for the performance of order picking systems. Typically, customer orders have to be completed by certain due dates in order to avoid delays in production or in the shipment to customers. The composition of the batches, their processing times, their assignment to order pickers and the sequence according to which they are scheduled determine whether and the extent to which the due dates are missed. This article shows how Variable Neighborhood Descent and Variable Neighborhood Search can be applied in order to minimize the total tardiness of a given set of customer orders. In a series of extensive numerical experiments, the performance of the two approaches is analyzed for different problem classes. It is shown that the proposed methods provide solutions which may allow order picking systems to operate more efficiently.
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