For retailers such as Walmart, the largest retailer in North America, improving the productivity and reducing the cost of operations of DCs are ongoing agenda items. DCs form the backbone of the distribution of goods from manufacturers to retailers. . In a DC, employees known as pickers fulfill store orders by traversing through the aisles of inventory, while obtaining requested items and placing them on a forklift. For this case study, Walmart is interested in determining the role of AGVs to improve productivity and reduce manpower costs for pickers. Our team would perform a simulation and decision support solution for the following AGV methods in a DC:
- Single-tethered picking: Each picker is assigned to an AGV instead of a forklift truck.
- Double-tethered picking: Each picker is assigned to two AGVs to enable the fulfillment of two orders simultaneously.
- Zone-to-zone picking: Divide all aisles in the DC into multiple zones and post a picker in each zone. AGVs move from aisle to aisle on their own while pickers load AGVs in their zones.