Storing Fresh Produce for Fast Retrieval in an Automated Compact Cross-dock System

N Zaerpour, Y Yu, Rene de Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


We study temporary storage of fresh produce in a cross-dock center. In order to minimize cooling cost, compact storage systems are used. A major disadvantage of these systems is that additional retrieval time is needed, caused by necessary reshuffles due to the improper storage sequence of unit loads. In practice therefore, a dedicated storage policy is used in which every storage lane in the system accommodates only one product. However, this policy does not use the planned arrival time information of the outbound trucks. To exploit this information, this study proposes a mathematical model for a shared storage policy that minimizes total retrieval time. The policy allows different products to share the same lane. In order to solve real-sized problems, an effective and efficient heuristic is proposed, based on a greedy construction and an improvement part, which provides near optimal solutions. The gaps between the results of the heuristic and the lower bound are mostly less than 1%. The resulting shared storage policy is generally robust against disturbances in arrival or departure times. We compare our shared storage heuristic with dedicated storage to determine which policy performs best under which circumstances. For most practical cases, shared storage appears to outperform dedicated storage, with a shorter response time and better storage lane utilization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1284
Number of pages19
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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