Department of Industrial Engineering


Store Optimizer 3.0

store optimizer

Store Optimizer 3.0 is a decision-support tool (DST) for warehouse design and operations management for less-than-unit-load and unit-load forward-reserve OP environment. Such system supports the design of complex multi-zones forward-reserve picker-to-part storage systems and provides a set of scenarios and configurations to fit SKUs and customer requirements of generic businesses. The proposed interactive computer platform implements a set of quantitative data-oriented analyses involving the most relevant criticalities of a storage system. The tool, considering a set of problems and decisions (e.g. layout planning, storage allocation, storage assignment, zoning, routing, order-batching and benchmarking), leads the decision-maker to handle real case studies, highlighting and interdependency among processes and related decisions and to pin down useful guide lines over storage issues.

store optimizer

The proposed application, developed in Visual Studio© environment and C# language as further described in section on adopted languages and software, is based on object-oriented (OO) methodology and client-server architecture built through a database management system (DBMS). Results and input data regard with technical features, costs, operative performances, customer demand, and other parameters usually handled by practitioners in warehouse operations.
The DBMS allows the application of a SQL database architecture, which enables to gather, store and manage a huge amount of information quickly understandable by users, providing a fundamental support to lead the decision process trough dynamic queries.

The two main purposes are described:

store optimizer

  • New warehouse. The proposed DST allows the decision-maker to design a new warehouse or a new zone starting from a green-field, by setting the storage mode, the layout features, and the rack components in the so-called Layout module. The design of the layout take into account at this step also inventory management aspect, through the so-called Inventory management module. In particular, the overall storage capacity of the system might depend on the historical average inventory, the required pallet locations or the replenishment delay fixing the safety stock.
    The analysis proceeds with the decision on storage allocation (i.e. Allocation module), to set the quantity of each SKU devoted low-level, and the decision on storage assignment (i.e. Assignment module), to set the location of each SKU. At the end of these settings the user can save the realized configuration of the warehouse or the warehouse zone on a proper table in the database.
  • store optimizer

  • Import warehouse. The DST allows also the decision-maker to import from the database an already designed warehouse, statically defined in layout and storage mode, limiting the analysis to the allocation, assignment and so on. In this case, the analysis skips the design of the infrastructure, and directly focuses on warehouse operations (e.g. allocation, assignment, etc.).

Regardless the purposes of the decision-maker (i.e. design a new warehouse or import an existing one), the tool in the supports the organization of a multi-zone warehouse (i.e. Zoning module), the management of order-batching (i.e. Batching module) and routing procedures (i.e. Routing module), and the assessment of the system performances through a what-if simulation approach.

Finally, the DST develops an interface between Visual Studio® and AutoCAD® and draws the layout adopting real commercial racks and their graphical entities.

In particular, this application allows the user to import commercial rack components (e.g. beams, columns, crosses), taken from catalogues and libraries of rack manufactures, storing as database records and adopting these parts to configure a truthful and accurate warehouse. Figures illustrates a few examples of 3D details of racks and shelves drawn through the graphical interface as results of the layout design modules. This module provides, as result, the final list of rack components detailed in terms of parts per code and the costs of raw material.

Required Input Data (at least):

  • SKU master file (handled unit volume available per each SKU)
  • Inventory file (e.g. pallets, cartons, etc.)
  • Order list (for a significant period)
Resulting Output Data:
  • Distance travelled for picking activities
  • Distance travelled for replenishment activities
  • Time spent in picking/replenishment (e.g. vehicle features considered)
  • Correlation among SKUs
  • Correlation among picking orders (Pro order-batching)
  • 2D-3D CAD warehousing layout (commercial rack based)
  • SKUs classification
  • Space efficiency metrics
  • ...

    Top page

Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna
Viale del Risorgimento, 2 - 40136 Bologna