An algorithm for dynamic order-picking in warehouse operations

Wenrong Lu, Duncan McFarlane, Vaggelis Giannikas, Quan Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (SciVal)


Warehousing has been traditionally viewed as a non-value-adding activity but in recent years a number of new developments have meant that supply chain logistics have become critical to profitability. This paper focuses specifically on order-picking which is a key factor affecting warehouse performance. Order picking is the operation of retrieving goods from specified storage locations based on customer orders. Today’s warehouses face challenges for greater responsiveness to customer orders that require more flexibility than conventional strategies can offer. Hence, dynamic order-picking strategies that allow for changes of pick-lists during a pick cycle have attracted attention recently. In this paper we introduce an interventionist routing algorithm for optimising the dynamic order-picking routes. The algorithm is tested using a set of simulations based on an industrial case example. The results indicate that under a range of conditions, the proposed interventionist routing algorithm can outperform both static and heuristic dynamic order-picking routing algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Routing
  • Dynamic picking
  • warehouse management


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