A simulation analysis to reduce shipping area congestion in a pharmaceutical distribution center

Srimathy Mohan, David M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a simulation study of a pharmaceutical distribution center. The distribution center was operating at capacity as far as the staging area of the facility was concerned. There was a projected increase in demand and management wanted to analyze the problem of shipping area congestion. The initial study and simulation analysis helped identify several areas in the upstream process that could be streamlined to eliminate congestion in the facility's staging area. Based on the results from the study, the facility implemented a new method to release pick tickets into the warehouse, reorganized certain sections of the warehouse to ensure an even workload among the different sections, and used the staging dock in two waves. The suggested recommendations along with a few hardware upgrades helped the pharmaceutical center handle the additional demand without much difficulty. Significance: In warehouses and distribution centers, efficient use of space and personnel is critical to satisfy customer requirements in the most effective manner. The case study presented in this paper shows that it is necessary to constantly reevaluate systems and operate on a continuous improvement mode. It also shows that simulation can be a very effective tool in analyzing complex systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Engineering : Theory Applications and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Case study
  • Shipping area congestion analysis
  • Simulation
  • Warehouse logistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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