Performance of a customised picking system in a fast moving consumer goods distribution centre

Lucas, Wayne Peter (2017-03)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : In the business world the majority of industries need an efficient supply chain to get their products to their customers. An integral link in this supply chain is the distribution centre (DC) that collects and distributes products to various end consumers for the business. Of the various functions, which forms part of the DC’s daily operations, possibly the most influential in affecting efficiency, is picking. Ineffective picking can negatively affect the DC’s performance and add greatly to the expenses of the business. In an effort to increase efficiencies, many organisations develop and implement customised picking systems in their DCs. Whether or not these customised picking systems actually enhance the performance of the DC is a question that needs to be addressed. Research in the form of a case study was done at Pick n Pay’s Philippi DC in the Western Cape, who gave permission for their name and information to be published within this thesis in a public domain. The aim of the research was to analyse the newly installed picking system, which was designed and customised specifically for this facility, and replaced a more traditional pick path sequence in which pickers start at one end of the facility and are guided through rows of shelving, picking articles on their way and finishing at the opposite end of the facility. The new pick tunnel is substantially different to the old picking facility. In order to maximise space utilisation the pick tunnel consists of four picking levels. Pickers are dedicated to each level and do not pick from multiple levels. The research for this thesis compared the performance of the old picking system with that of the new one. An operational assessment was conducted on both systems in which employees were followed and their daily activities were documented. With regard to the quantitative research, a framework was developed in which the KPIs of the facility as well as a balanced scorecard were used to measure the change in performance of the DC. Questionnaires were used to investigate the balanced scorecard. This was to determine and justify the reasoning behind the specific metrics, which were used in the scorecard. In addition to this framework, an Independent t-test and Bonferroni multiple comparison tests were conducted to determine whether there were significant differences in the KPIs measuring throughput and efficiency. The findings of the thesis were that the implementation of the new picking method did lead to an improvement in the performance of the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) DC, specifically the volume processed through the facility. The strategic KPIs measured by the balanced scorecard also showed that the majority of the strategic goals were met. Further, similar studies should be done in the future to determine whether this is the case. This research resulted in a framework being developed to measure the impact of picking methods on a DC, and investigated whether implementing a unique picking method resulted in operational advantages for Pick n Pay’s Philippi DC.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Verskeie nywerhede in die sakewereld, indien nie almal nie, maak staat op ‘n effektiewe voorsieningsketting om hul produkte by hul verbruikers te kry. Een aspek van hierdie voorsieningsketting is distribusiesentrums wat gebruik word vir die samevoeging en herverspreiding van produkte aan besighede se afstroom verbruikers. Verskeie funksies in die distribusiesentrum vorm deel van hul daaglikse bedrywighede. Een van die mees vername funksies is die van uitsoek van produkte vir versending. Indien uitsoek nie effektief gedoen word nie, loop ‘n distribusiesentrum die risiko van verlaagde prestasie en kan onnodige uitgawes vir die onderneming tot gevolg he. Sommige besighede het reeds unieke uitsoekstelsels ontwikkel en geimplementeer om hul distribusiesentrums se effektiwiteit te help verhoog. Daar is egter nog ‘n gaping in kennis rakende die vraagstuk of hierdie unieke uitsoekstelsels in werklikheid die prestasie van distribusiesentrums verbeter of nie. ‘n Gevallestudie navorsingsontwerp is gevolg en is uitgevoer by Pick n Pay se Philippi DC, wie hulle toestemming gegee het om die inligting openbare kennis temaak vir die tesis. Die doel was om die nuwe doelvervaardigde uitsoekstelsel, spesifiek vir die fasiliteit ontwerp en geinstalleer, te ontleed. Die vorige uitsoekstelsel is gebaseer op 'n tradisionele uitsoek-loop-volgorde waarin die uitsoeker by een punt van die fasiliteit sal begin en gerig word deur rye met rakke, artikels uitsoek op sy pad totdat hy aan die teenoorgestelde kant van die fasiliteit sy opdrag voltooi het. Hierdie metode het veroorsaak dat uitsoekers ‘n groot area dek en ‘n lang tyd neem om te voltooi. Die uitsoektonnel is heelwat anders as die vorige uitsoekfasiliteit. Om die ruimtebenutting te maksimeer is die uitsoektonnel uit vier uitsoekvlakke saamgestel. Uitsoekers word toegewys aan elke vlak en voer nie uitsoekwerk op verskillende vlakke uit nie. Hierdie tesis het die verandering in prestasie van die vorige uitsoekstelsel na die nuwe stelsel ondersoek. Deelnemende observerende navorsing is gebruik vir die operasionele beoordeling van werknemers se daaglikse aktiwiteit. Met betrekking tot die kwantitatiewe navorsing is ‘n raamwerk ontwikkel met sleutel prestasie-indikators vir die fasiliteit. Dit is in saam met ‘n gebalanseerde telkaart gebruik om die prestasie (en verandering in prestasie) van die distribusiesentrum te evalueer. Vraelyste is ook gebruik om die gebalanseerde telkaart te ondersoek. Die doel was om spesifiek die oorsprong van die maatstawwe vir die telkaart te bepaal. Bykomend tot die raamwerk is die T-toets en Bonferroni se meervodige vergelykings gebruik om te bepaal of daar ‘n beduidende verskil in die persentasie-indikators was wat deurset en effektiwiteit prestasie meet. Die gevolgtrekking bereik was dat die implementering van die nuwe uitsoekstelsel tot ‘n verbetering in die algemene prestasie van die Philippi distribusiesentrum veroorsaak het, spesifiek die volume wat die distribusiesentrum kan hanteer beduidend verbeter het. Die strategiese KPIs gemeet deur die gebalanseerde telkaart dui aan dat meeste van die strategiese doelwitte vir die distribusiesentrum wel bereik is. Hierdie stelling moet weer in die toekoms ondersoek word. Die raamwerk ontwikkel in hierdie navorsing kan help met die akkurate meting van die deurset en effektiwiteit prestasie van ander Pick n Pay distribusiesentrums. Dit kan ook help met die identifisering van areas wat positief en negatief beinvloed word. Hierdie impakte kan gemeet word asook geleentheid vir verbetering aantoon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101070
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