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project R-9778

Title : Integrating human factors in the optimisation of manual order picking processes. (R-9778)
Abstract: Trends such as shortened product life cycles and e-commerce put order picking activities under extra pressure. Many small orders for a great variety of stock keeping units need to be picked in limited time windows. To stay within these time windows, order picking time needs to be reduced, as this is an integral part of the delivery lead time. Reducing order picking time cannot longer be a standalone goal within order picking. Order pickers are working under high time pressure and are expected to be productive and accurate at all times. Because of its labour-intensive, task-repetitive nature, order picking often leads to the development of musculoskeletal disorders, which cause absence from work. Therefore, economic goals must be extended with ergonomic issues. The aim of this project is the integration of human factors in planning problems for optimising manual order picking. More realistic planning models with higher predictive accuracy are developed, resulting in overall efficiency improvements and an increased worker well-being. First, human factors are indirectly approached by minimising workload imbalances. A balanced workload results in manual order picking that is more effective and stable, resulting in less stress and fatigue. Next, individual picker skills with learning effects are integrated within planning problems. The incorporation of human factors reduces pick errors, work related illness and longterm costs while increasing system performance.
Period of project : 1/10/2019to30/09/2023