Warehouse & Distribution Science

Written by: John J. Bartholdi, III and Steven T. Hackman (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Free online business textbook from John J. Bartholdi, III and Steven T. Hackman from The Supply Chain and Logistics Institute School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Learn the same material as students taking ISyE 6335, one of the core courses in Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain Engineering Master’s Degree Program.

Along with the free textbook, they offer free software to aid in your studies. When I visited their website, the latest edition of this continuously updated textbook was version 0.97 which was released in PDF format on August 21, 2016. Powerpoint slides from the on-campus course are also now available. Unfortunately, for self-study students, the answer key for the exercises are only available to educators.

Students should have a basic knowledge of logistics and operations management. The text strives to teach students how to utilize their own customers’ buying patterns and other financial data to optimize warehouse operations. They also emphasize allocating space based upon the ROI of each product and discuss building a dynamic business plan to rank SKUs based upon which items offer the best returns.

One odd issue with the Warehouse & Distribution Science online textbook is that it contains links to the main website which do not work. You have to use warehouse-science.com without the leading “www.” to visit their website; at least the last time I checked out their site in November 2016.

Table of Contents for Warehouse & Distribution Science

0.1 Why this book
0.2 Organization
0.3 Resources
0.4 But first

Part I: Issues, equipment, processes

1 Warehouse rationale
1.1 Why have a warehouse?
1.2 Typesofwarehouses
2 Material flow
2.1 The fluid model of product flow
2.2 Units of handling
2.3 Two fundamental resources
2.4 Storage: “Dedicated” versus “Shared”
2.5 The warehouse as a queuing system
2.6 Questions
3 Warehouse operations
3.1 Receiving
3.2 Put-away
3.3 Order-picking

3.3.1 Sharing the work of order-picking
3.4 Checking and packing
3.5 Shipping
3.6 Summary
3.7 More
3.8 Questions
4 Warehouse management systems
4.1 Receiving and shipping
4.2 Stock locator system
4.3 Menu of features
4.4 The market
4.5 Supply Chain Execution Systems
4.6 Summary
5 Storage and handling equipment
5.1 Storage equipment

5.1.1 Pallet storage
5.1.2 Bin-shelving or static rack
5.1.3 Gravity flow rack
5.2 Conveyors

5.2.1 Sortation equipment
5.3 Summary
5.4 On the lighter side
5.5 Questions

Part II: Layout

6 Layout of a unit-load area
6.1 Space

6.1.1 Rack or stack?
6.1.2 Lane depth
6.2 Labor

6.2.1 Reducing labor by dual-cycle operations
6.2.2 Reducing labor by careful product placement
6.2.3 Location of receiving and shipping
6.2.4 Aisle configuration
6.3 Summary
6.4 More
6.5 Questions
7 Layout of a carton-pick-from-pallet area
7.1 Layout for a forward area

7.1.1 Operating protocols
7.1.2 Quantities to store forward
7.1.3 Choosing skus for the forward-pick area
7.1.4 Allocating space by auction
7.2 Redirecting uneconomical picks
7.3 Summary
7.4 More

7.4.1 Pallet presentation
7.4.2 Congestion
7.4.3 Pallet-building
7.5 Questions
8 Layout of a piece-pick-from-carton area
8.1 What is a fast-pick area?
8.2 Estimating restocks
8.3 How much of each sku to store in the fast-pick area?

8.3.1 Minimizing labor to maintain a forward pick area
8.3.2 Two commonly-used storage strategies
8.3.3 Comparison with optimal
8.3.4 Differing costs per restock
8.3.5 Minimum and maximum allocations
8.3.6 Reorder points and safety stock
8.4 Which skus go into the fast-pick area?

8.4.1 Selecting skus to minimize labor
8.4.2 Stocking to equalize space or restocking frequencies
8.4.3 Further comments on the model
8.5 Additional issues

8.5.1 Storage by family
8.5.2 Accounting for safety stock
8.5.3 Limits on capacity
8.5.4 Accounting for on-hand inventory levels
8.5.5 Set-up costs
8.5.6 Redirecting uneconomical picks
8.5.7 Multiple fast-pick areas
8.6 Limitations of the fluid model
8.7 Size of the fast-pick area

8.7.1 How large should the fast-pick area be?
8.7.2 How can the fast-pick area be made larger?
8.8 On the lighter side
8.9 Summary
8.10 Questions
9 Detailed slotting

9.1 Case orientation and stack level
9.2 Packing algorithms

9.2.1 Next Fit
9.2.2 First Fit
9.2.3 More on packing algorithms
9.3 Other issues
9.4 Questions

Part III: Order-picking

10 Routing to reduce travel
10.1 The problem of pick-path optimization
10.2 Heuristic methods of generating short pick paths

10.2.1 Path outlines
10.2.2 Product placement
10.3 Pick-path optimization

10.3.1 How to take advantage of optimization
10.3.2 How much is optimization worth?
10.4 Summary
10.5 Questions
11 Work flow and balance
11.1 Organizing a team of order-pickers

11.1.1 A model of work and workers
11.1.2 Improvements that are not
11.1.3 Some advantages of bucket brigades
11.2 Bucket brigades in the warehouse
11.3 Summary
11.4 Questions

Part IV: Automation

12 Carousels, A-frames, and AS/RS
12.1 Carousels

12.1.1 Control
12.1.2 Storage
12.1.3 Throughput
12.2 A-frames
12.3 In-aisle cranes, AS/RS ,and their relatives

12.3.1 Throughput
12.4 On the lighter side
12.5 Questions

Part V: Special topics

13 Crossdocking

13.1 Why crossdock?
13.2 Operations
13.3 Freight flow

13.3.1 Congestion
13.4 Design

13.4.1 Size
13.4.2 Geometry
13.5 Trailer management
13.6 Resources
13.7 Questions

Part VI: Measuring warehouse performance

14 Activity profiling
14.1 Basics
14.2 Warehouse activity profiling

14.2.1 ABC analysis
14.2.2 Statistical analysis
14.2.3 Doing it
14.2.4 Visualization
14.3 Summary
14.4 On the lighter side
14.5 Questions
15 Benchmarking
15.1 Performance measurement
15.2 Benchmarking

15.2.1 Ratio-based benchmarking
15.2.2 Aggregate benchmarking
15.3 Are smaller warehouses more efficient?
15.4 Questions

Part VII: Miscellaneous

16 Warehousing around the world
16.1 North America
16.2 East Asia

16.2.1 India
16.2.2 China
16.2.3 Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan
16.3 Central and South America
16.4 Europe
17 In preparation

Part VIII: Appendices

A The Economic Order Quantity

A.1 The Economic Order Quantity
A.2 Safety stock and reorder points
A.3 Implications for the warehouse
B. The Knapsack Problem
C. The Shortest Path Problem

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Warehouse & Distribution Science

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