OR Spectrum

, 31:759 | Cite as

The use of bucket brigades in zone order picking systems

  • Pyung-Hoi KooEmail author
Regular Article


As the transactions through electronic commerce and TV home shopping increase, the warehouses often receive a large amount of small orders to be picked within tight time windows. One of the important warehousing activities is order picking, the process of retrieving a number of items from warehouse storage to meet a number of independent customer orders. This paper examines a new order picking method, bucket brigade order picking (BB picking). Bucket brigade is a way of coordinating workers who progressively perform a set of operations on a flow line. In the BB picking system, a worker performs operations on an order until the next worker downstream takes it over; then goes back to the previous worker upstream to take over a new order. We discuss distinct characteristics in order picking systems when bucket brigades are applied. We identify some efficiency losses under the BB picking and present a new BB picking protocol to improve the performance of order picking systems. The new BB picking is compared with the existing BB picking and zone picking through simulation experiments.


Warehouse order picking Bucket brigades Zone picking Self-balancing Dynamic assignment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Systems Management and EngineeringPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea

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