Use of Elephant Search Algorithm to Solve an Order Picking Problem in a Mobile Atelier

Use of Elephant Search Algorithm to Solve an Order Picking Problem in a Mobile Atelier

Rafael Jimenez (Autonomous University of Juarez City, Mexico), Rogelio Florencia (Autonomous University of Juarez City, Mexico), Vicente García (Autonomous University of Juarez City, Mexico) and Abraham Lopez (Autonomous University of Juarez City, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8131-4.ch008
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Mobile ateliers, also called pop-up stores, sell their products away from their warehouse. Therefore, it causes them to go back to it once a product in their mobile store runs out since the customer is waiting for them at the store. The need to spend as little time searching for the product at the warehouse is of the utmost importance. To solve this problem, the authors have decided to attack it as an order picking problem. With the use of the elephant search algorithm, they aim to optimize the time it takes to retrieve the product needed to form the warehouse by giving the sales representative the optimum picking order route, so he can go in and out of the warehouse in as few steps as possible.
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Problem Description

Mobile ateliers are migrant stores that travel to a different location each day. Therefore, the amount of inventory they can carry is minimal. To store the majority of their inventory, they make use of an offsite warehouse. When the mobile store’s sales associate needs to resupply their store at the beginning of each day and during the day when the supply runs out, a mid-shift resupply is required, and a ticket is generated. This ticket acts like a list of inventory items, and the sales associate needs to pick up from the warehouse; since the list is out of order, and the sales associate must traverse the warehouse multiple times to complete the ticket order, we must optimize the order in which the sales associate must pick up all the items on the ticket to avoid losing time and reduce the steps taken to fulfill such order.

Mobile Store

A mobile atelier, also called popup stores and mobile stores, are temporary retail stores that sell merchandise of many kinds, most notably fashion clothes and accessories. Mobile ateliers move around the city from day to day, typically located in popup markets that have high foot-traffic areas and busy streets. To be able to move around to different locations each day, mobile ateliers do not carry all their inventory with them, so they make use of an offsite warehouse.

Offsite Warehouse

An offsite warehouse is part of a mobile atelier, and it is composed of building space and storage racks that are each made up of four storage units. Each storage rack is used to store an individual clothing item, and its storage units are used to store the storage rack's clothing item on one of its available sizes: small (S), medium (M), large (L), and extra-large (XL).


Proposed Methodology

To solve the order picking problem, we have decided to implement a search algorithm based on the behavior of elephants as they roam the wild in search for food (Deb, Fong & Tian, 2015).

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