Roaming Shuttle Simulation in FlexSim for Goods to Person Order fulfilment

Roaming shuttle technology using FlexSim

FlexSim as a 3D Simulation tool

FlexSim is a powerful analysis tool helping engineers and planners make good design and operational decisions in their respective systems. To gain more information on this, please visit our post on the FlexSim 3D Simulation Tool.
This post talks about the use of Roaming Shuttle Simulation in FlexSim for estimating the number of shuttles the storage system requires to meet the demand/forecast volume of the warehouse.

About Goods-To-Person Order Fulfilment

Rise in demand, and pressure for faster deliveries, lead to errors such as picking/packing wrong products or quantities, mislabeling. Eventually, order fulfilment hugely impacts the successful running of any commerce. Goods-To-Person is the modern method of Order fulfilment. In this type, software drives automated vehicle, stores and retrieves the required SKUs directly to the storage location/order picker workstation.

With this method, there is a significant improvement in the efficiency of the picking and put-away operations, inventory management, and space utilization. This Goods-To-Person method eliminates human intervention from the process resulting in an efficient and error-free operation.

About Roaming Shuttle


There are many technologies for actualizing Goods-to-Person. Shuttle Technology is one of these. This Shuttle technology is appearing to be an important storage technology. It utilizes shuttles for storing and retrieving goods in a racking structure via a computer controlled system.

Roaming shuttle is a device with the purpose of handling goods inside the channel or aisle. These shuttles serve one storage level in multiple aisles. Roaming shuttle technology is dynamic as well as an efficient automatic storage/retrieval method. This is mainly because multiple shuttles travel in one aisle, thereby, increasing the storage/retrieval performance, unlike a conventional storage/retrieval system.

Advantages of Roaming Shuttle

According to the traditional method, there is one Shuttle alone for each aisle irrespective of the number of levels in each aisle. This therefore obviously takes a lot of time for picking items.

However, via Roaming Shuttle Simulation, the time taken is less. The reason is, each level has their own set of Shuttles for picking items. Therefore, in this case, the picking rate is higher.

Also, in comparison to the traditional Persons to Goods method, because the picking rate is higher via this method, more space is available. Hence, there is a better utilization of the warehouse space as well.

FlexSim Simulation for Roaming Shuttles

Although a Roaming Shuttle has many advantages, the initial investment for implementing the system is huge. Furthermore, if the design is not right, the loss is heavy.

This is where FlexSim Supply chain Simulation helps you. FlexSim simulation engineers help in the validation of an existing design of the system as well as the optimization of the design.
The Optimization of the design through process simulation modelling helps you in identifying the right number of shuttles you require for the current as well as later projects.

FlexSim Simulation tool provides a ‘What-If’ analysis for evaluating different process simulation scenarios which help in determining the optimum number of shuttles for the warehouse operation by considering various circumstances and parameters.

Even more, apart from providing a rich 3D simulation of the entire operation (check out our samples in our YouTube channel), FlexSim tool captures the following Key Performance Metrics. Consequently, these metrics help in determining and thereby, proposing the right number of resources.

  1. Shuttle Utilization (Time Based Utilization).
  2. Space Utilization (Capacity Based Utilization).
  3. Shuttle Picking Rate Per Hour.
  4. Time Vs Number Of Shuttles Used.
  5. Throughput details.
  6. Shuttle – Total Distance Traveled.
  7. Order Lead Time.

An illustration of this simulation is shown in the video below.

Therefore, you must have learnt that FlexSim is a powerful tool to analyse supply chain operations. Simulate the complete resources and process flow so as to get good visualization, and help in optimizing the use of resources. In other words, it is useful in efficiently carrying out Material Handling.

If you want to learn more on Material handling, do check out our blog site for more posts on Material handling using FlexSim.

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