Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the prevalence of human learning in the order picking process in an experimental study. Further, it aims to compare alternative learning curves from the literature and to assess which learning curves are most suitable to describe learning in order picking. Design/methodology/approach – An experimental study was conducted at a manufacturer of household products. Empirical data was collected in the order picking process, and six learning curves were fitted to the data in a regression analysis. Findings – It is shown that learning occurs in order picking, and that the learning curves of Wright, De Jong and Dar‐El et al. and the three‐parameter hyperbolic model are suitable to approximate the learning effect. The Stanford B model and the time constant model led to unrealistic results. Practical implications – The results imply that human learning should be considered in planning the order picking process, for example in designing the layout of the warehouse or in setting up work schedules. Originality/value – The paper is the first to study learning effects in order picking systems, and one of the few papers that use empirical data from an industrial application to study learning effects.
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 19, 2013
Keywords: Order picking; Warehouse optimization; Warehousing; Human learning; Learning curves; Learning effects; Internal logistics; Ergonomics; Human factors; Warehouses; Learning
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