Situation sketch: ordering groceries online
The steps initiated by an online grocery order illustrate the complexity of the common logistics processes of distribution centers:
- Orders are assigned to a shift in one of the distribution centers.
- The items on the shopping lists are divided into containers (crates, boxes and/or bags) by an algorithm.
- Containers are divided into batches by an algorithm.
- An algorithm calculates the fastest route through the distribution center to pick the items in a batch.
- Order pickers are assigned a batch, follow the route and place the grocery items in the correct containers.
- Collected orders are divided by an algorithm between delivery vans and/or trucks that take the orders to a transport hub.
- An algorithm plans the routes of the delivery vans so that the groceries are delivered to the customers at the agreed times.
Efficient logistics processes are of great importance to minimize the operational costs of distribution centers. Data scientists at Qualogy Solutions have developed the following advanced algorithms:
- Packing algorithm: for minimizing the number of containers required for an order.
- Batching algorithm: for minimizing the total order pick time.
- Order pick routing algorithm: for the most efficient order pick routes in the distribution center.
- Product placement algorithm: for the optimal placement of products in paths, sections and shelves.
- Warehouse layout algorithm: for the optimal blueprint of paths and side paths in distribution centers.
The algorithms are highly interdependent. For example, minimizing the number of containers in isolation may lead to longer order pick routes. Product placement influences optimal packing, batching and order pick routing solutions. It is therefore important to coordinate the different algorithms.
The experts at Qualogy Solutions perform a thorough analysis of your distribution centers and adjust the algorithms to, among other things, historical data of your orders, product range, type of packaging, distribution center layout and product placement. Qualogy Solutions integrates the algorithms into your IT landscape or offers them as an external service.
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