Traditional warehousing focuses on improving efficiency within the warehouse, and while this is certainly of great importance, it does not necessarily translate directly into better response to customers and supply chain partners. This paper reconsiders the traditional warehousing problems of batching and picking orders with respect not only to improving efficiency, as measured by low picking time and effective use of vehicles, but also to doing so in a way that optimizes customer response time. To this end, we formulate the batching and order picking problem jointly as a combinatorial optimization problem, evaluate the benefits of addressing the joint problem and propose simple but effective heuristics for its solution. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Ltd.
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