Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

David Sly


All warehouses have a layout design. A company can reduce operational costs in their warehouse by up to 75% with a layout design that allows for products on a pick list to get picked quicker. Evaluating which layout design would best reduce picking times and communicating the results of that evaluation continue to stump workforces.

Manual techniques fail to quickly test layout designs en masse or offer inaccurate heuristics. Automated techniques often increase the accuracy but are either esoteric or have simulation run-times which rival the durations of a manual technique.

A fast and accurate automated technique that is both executable and provides quantitative and visual outputs accessible to a layperson was documented and empirically tested against a manual technique of similar stature. Time studies were conducted to measure and compare the process times for analyzing different layout design alternatives with both techniques, using data provided by a retailer for analysis.

The proposed automated technique had a process time of 12 minutes to produce the outputs for each subsequent layout design iteration while the manual technique provided identical outputs at a process time of 16.5 hours per iteration.

The value of these outputs and this technique was confirmed by an industry expert and students in the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering program at Iowa State University.

With the implementation of this automated technique, industry can expect accuracy, picking output data accessible to laypeople, layout visuals illustrating optimal routing, data for determining staffing levels under different demands, and the ability to test multiple layout designs–all by a worker with minimal training. The outputs are expected to lead to better decision making when choosing a layout design alternative as a team.


Copyright Owner

Steven Kryk



File Format


File Size

342 pages