Improvement of the internal goodsflow at the IKEA distribution center in Genk.
Part I, preliminary research.
Report 2000.LT.5298, Transport Technology, Logistic Engineering.
IKEA is a worldwide home furnishing company with 154 stores in 29
countries. Goods are produced globally and distributed to the stores via a
network of regional distribution centres. The IKEA distribution centre in
Genk serves stores in Belgium, the Netherlands and Great-Britain.
The management of the distribution centre sees the potential for
increasing the efficiency of the operation. The questions to be answered
For this purpose the process has been divided in five functional parts:
receipt, storage, replenishment of pick locations, order picking and
despatch. The routines within these main functions have been described.
- which parts of the warehouse process can be improved, and
- how to achieve these improvements?
For each function a data analysis has been carried out on the goods flow
and order flow.
Possible alternatives for the main functions have been described.
The most important results are:
Using the results of the analyses the following conclusions can be drawn.
The best opportunities for improving the efficiency of the warehouse
- stock locations are divided according to a free location system and
picking locations according to a combination of family groups and physical
properties of the articles. Order frequency is not taken into account;
- the 80/20-rule yields the orders on both order picking and full pallet
- almost half of the produced pallets are order picked pallets. Each order
picked pallet is restacked till the moment of loading;
- orders are picked per order according to a man-to-article principle,
where the order pickers pick single sided per aisle;
- the (un)loading docks are assigned based on the current stock situation
and the experience of the planner. There is no planning support for
Given these conclusions it is recommended to build a simulation model in
- a re-division of stock locations where stacking,
retrieving for replenishment of pick locations and full pallet picking
are taken into account;
- a decrease of travel distances in the order picking
process by application of an optimal routing strategy and a division of
pick locations where order frequency is considered;
- improvement of the assignment of (un)loading docks as to minimise
transportation during both unloading/storage and loading.
Furthermore a support tool for dock assignment should be developed. The
aim of an optimised dock assignment is a minimisation of the total
transportation during loading and unloading.
- determine the best way to divide stock locations regarding the putaway,
replenishment of pick locations and full pallet picking;
- investigate which division of pick locations and which routing strategy
should be used in order to optimise the order picking process.
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