Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair

Depuy, Gail W.


Warehouses--Management; Warehouses--Design and construction


A main component of a company's supply chain is their distribution center. In a distribution center the product is brought in from the manufacturer and then shipped out either to retail stores or end users. There are five main processes that are present in all distribution centers. They are receiving, putaway, picking, packing and shipping. The picking process is the most time consuming. This is due to the amount of time it takes to travel through the storage area. Historically, the main objective when designing the storage area is to reduce the amount of distribution center space it consumes. Recently, a new idea for a layout design using a Fishbone was proposed in the literature to reduce the amount of travel time for an employee. This fishbone design was reported to reduce the amount of travel time for an employee by 23.5% when compare to the traditional grid layout design. This thesis will evaluate the fishbone layout for two different order fulfillment processes; unit-load and order picking. The performance of the fishbone layout in terms of travel distance and space utilization will be compared to that of a traditional grid layout. The results for the fishbone layout storage corroborated the results presented by Meller and Gue (2006). There was a reduction in the process travel time for the unit-load and the order picking process for the new fishbone layout compared to the traditional layout. While these results indicate the fishbone layout reduces travel time, the traditional layout design still offers higher storage density advantages.