Reduce Travel Time and Manage Priorities in Your DC
Labor is the single largest operating cost in most DCs, and travel often accounts for as much as 50% of labor time. WMS and other systems that direct picking use simplistic batching and sequencing rules that result in excessive travel. Using advanced mathematical models, Lucas has built a tool that can reduce travel time for warehouse processes by up to 70%, resulting in increased productivity and lower labor costs.
Dynamic Work Optimization (DWO) is an advanced module within Lucas Engage that dynamically balances priority, maximizes pick density and optimizes picker travel paths.
DWO uses order, inventory, and location information from WMS and other systems to create optimal assignments and direct users through those assignments in the most efficient sequence.
Rather than batching work as orders come in like many WMS and WES, Lucas’ DWO module supports waveless picking (sometimes called “order streaming”) by allowing you to reprioritize and batch work on-demand throughout the day.
The module includes three components – Dynamic Prioritization, Batch Optimization, and Path Optimization – which in combination dramatically improve picking efficiency.
In each component, DWO strikes a balance between automation – using schedules and algorithms to determine the best batches and paths – and configurability – allowing intelligent human intervention to deal with unforeseen circumstances that arise in your operations.
As work is passed to the Lucas System, the dynamic prioritization component of DWO sorts that work into priority sequence, based on rules that you can configure and adjust throughout the day or week.
In addition to adjusting the priority of work at import using the Engage Dashboard, users can also change the priority of work throughout the day, as conditions in the operation shift. Work can be reprioritized at any point up until it is assigned to a user.
The batch optimization component of DWO creates optimized batches of orders and assigns them to pickers on-demand, as they request more work.
A typical WMS picking application might simplistically batch orders by grouping the first X orders in the work queue, without taking travel distance or other factors into account.
In contrast, DWO batches orders by weighing a variety of complex factors, which are built into mathematical models. These factors include:
- Order priority
- Product locations
- Product dimensions
- Starting and ending points
- Potential travel path
- User permissions
The images below demonstrate the difference between the typical, first in, first out (FIFO) batching method, and the batching done by Lucas DWO.
Batch optimization reduces travel time by 15-30%.
Whereas other systems have static rules that batch work orders as they are imported, because it executes batching on-demand, the DWO batch optimization component uses dynamic rules that can shift throughout the day.
For example, you can set the system to focus more on pick density early in the day, when there is plenty of time before the first orders are due at the shipping dock. Then the system can automatically transition to optimize for priority, as route cut-off times are approaching, based on the schedule for that day or week.
Once batches are created, DWO quickly determines an optimized path for the user to take through the warehouse as they complete the batched work.
Traditionally, pick path optimization happens in a fixed-location sequence. Unfortunately, this leads to sub-optimal travel through the warehouse. Many DCs notice that, when allowed, their best pickers will plan out their route a few picks ahead in order to optimize their path, but this is usually the exception rather than the rule.
DWO path optimization makes efficient pick paths the rule by using several complex algorithms in conjunction with other factors to determine an optimized path. Factors may include:
- Travel distance
- Zone sequencing
- User start/end points
- Cost of moves (e.g., turning around)
- Directional aisle restrictions
The resulting path is as much as 50% shorter than the path to complete the same work with traditional warehouse location sequencing.
The short simulation video below shows intelligent paths directed by Lucas DWO, including the comparison (in the bottom right) to the travel required to make the same picks in warehouse sequence.
DWO empowers your pickers to pick the right orders at the right time, as efficiently as possible. Lucas customers who use DWO have seen:
- More flexible prioritization of work throughout the day
- Decrease in manual work release and management
- Increase in pick density
- Decrease in picker travel time
- Increase in on-time shipments
In combination, the intelligent prioritization, batching and path optimization executed by DWO have resulted in Lucas customers achieving double-digit gains in productivity, above and beyond efficiencies created by the other Lucas work execution functionality.
Dynamic Work Optimization Demo
Interested in learning more about Dynamic Work Optimization and how it might reduce travel in your warehouse? Fill out the form below to request a demo of our DWO simulation and speak directly with someone on the Lucas team.