Ongoing Projects

Mixed-Case Pallet Optimization for Warehouse Management Systems

  • Industry Partner: Dematic Ltd.
  • Funding Agency: NSERC
    • Project Description:
      Pallet building is one of the warehousing industry's core functions. Pallets are the standard form of delivery from warehouses to retail stores. Building good pallets that respect transportation requirements such as stability, as well as retail preferences such as item family groupings is a goal of all warehouse management systems. Mixed-case pallet optimization was the subject of an NSERC Engage application between Dematic Limited and Professor Samir Elhedhli and Professor Fatma Gzara from Waterloo's Optimization Lab (WatOpt). The research conducted under the Engage project focused on two objectives: developing an understanding of the major challenges of pallet building; surveying the literature on available solution methodologies; and performing a comparative study of the most promising methodologies. The current project builds on the research findings in the Engage project. The goal of this research project is to develop models, solution methodologies, and data-driven optimization approaches for the 3D bin packing problem and the mixed-case pallet optimization problem. While the problems are easy to state, their optimization is extremely challenging. We aim to propose, implement, and test a set of sophisticated solution approaches to solve the mixed case pallet optimization problem while incorporating several design requirements such as family groups, order preferences, fragility restrictions, and speed of solution.

Adding Data Analytics to Warehouse Logistics

  • Industry Partner: Dematic Ltd.
  • Funding Agency: OCE
    • Project Description:
      Warehouse management is an integral part of any supply chain. It concerns the movement and storage of materials in a warehouse or distribution center including receiving, putaway, replenishment, picking and shipping. While warehouse management is a well studied area of supply chain management, significant opportunities for improvement are within reach as huge amounts of data on day-to-day operations become available on equipment and labor utilization, Warehouse management has an increased focus with the growth of ecommerce and consumer expectations for fast delivery. The industry is now moving to adopt lean principles from the manufacturing industry. The Internet of Things (IOT) opens up new opportunities for innovation. The goal of the project is to develop advanced analytics techniques to explore and synthesize available data, derive information, and use information to predict trends and prescribe improved warehouse operations.

Completed Projects

Pallet Optimization for Warehouse Management

Spare-parts Logistics

Large Scale Airline Crew Scheduling

Workforce Scheduling