A decision-support system for the design and management of warehousing systems, 2014

Computers in Industry

RICCARDO ACCORSI, RICCARDO MANZINI, FAUSTO MARANESI, 2014, A decision-support system for the design and management of warehousing systems. COMPUTERS IN INDUSTRY. Vol.65, pp.175-186.  ISSN: 0166-3615


• This paper presents an original decision-support system (DSS) for storage system design and operations control.
• Analytical methods, models and algorithms are implemented in a top-down methodology to lead problem-solving process.
• Storage layout, allocation and assignment issues are handled, and system performances assessed through a what-if analysis.
• User-friendly interfaces provide useful panels for real-world industry case studies.
• A solid DBMS architecture is developed to store real-world datasets and enables statistical assessment of results.


The issue of material handling involves the design and operative control of warehousing systems (i.e., distribution centres), which allow matching vendors and demands, smoothing with seasonality, consolidating products and arranging distribution activities. Warehousing systems play a crucial role in providing efficiency and customer satisfaction. The warehouse design entails a wide set of decisions, which involve layout constraints and operative issues that seriously affect the performances and the overall logistics costs.

This study presents an original decision-support system (DSS) for the design, management, and control of warehousing systems. Specifically, the proposed DSS implements a top-down methodology that considers both strategic warehouse design and operative operations management. The DSS can simulate the logistics and material handling performances of a warehousing system. Heuristic methods and algorithms address several critical warehouse issues, such as the order picking process, which is responsible for 55% of the overall costs in a distribution centre. The benefits due to the adoption of the proposed decision-support system are summarised as a dashboard of key performance indicators (KPIs) of space and time efficiency that allow logistics providers, practitioners, and managers as well as academicians and educators to face real-world warehousing instances and to find useful guidelines for material handling.


  • Logistics;
  • Warehousing systems;
  • Industrial storage systems;
  • Decision-support system;
  • Order picking;
  • Material handling