Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This research endeavor focused on the warehouse receiving process at a large food distribution center, which comprises of trucks with goods reaching the destination warehouse, unloading and finally putting away the contents to the specific aisles. Discrete event simulation was used to model the current system’s functioning and to identify operational inefficiencies which were quantified through a detailed value stream mapping exercise. Inspired by ‘lean’ philosophy, a dock allocation algorithm was designed to take into account the relationship between the dock location and the destination aisle to ‘optimally’ assign the trucks to the docks. After validating the baseline, new scenarios incorporating the allocation algorithm were tested. Two of the scenarios showed an average reduction of 30% in daily travel distance for the ‘put-away’ personnel. The simulation model also helped visualize the benefits that would accrue through the use of lean principles to reduce the non-value added time in warehouse operations.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2008 Winter Simulation Conference

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