Logistics 4.0


The requirements of mass customization are nowadays addressed with digital technologies, such as the internet of things or cyber-physical systems leading to smart factories – also called Industry 4.0. These emerging technologies have gradually gained maturity leading to a technology push, driven by new customer demands. However, this operations system fails if the logistics link between companies and from companies to customers is fragile, putting competitive advantages at risk. Thus, besides Industry 4.0 in manufacturing, a digital transformation of logistics is needed, leading to Logistics 4.0.


Our research projects on Logistics 4.0 aim on developing this emerging research stream and on giving guidelines and ideas for future research to support the development of sustainable logistics systems.



Hybrid order picking: A simulation model of a joint manual and autonomous order picking system

Winkelhaus, Zhang, Grosse & Glock (2022)
Computers & Industrial Engineering 167(4)

Order picking is a key process in supply chains and a determinant of business success in many industries. Order picking is still performed manually by human operators in most companies; however, there are also increasingly more technologies available to automate order picking processes or to support human order pickers. One concept that has not attracted much research attention so far is hybrid order picking where automated and autonomous robots and human order pickers work together in warehouses within a shared workspace for a joint target. This study presents a simulation model that considers various system characteristics and parameters of hybrid order picking systems, such as picker blocking, to evaluate the performance of such systems. Our results show that hybrid order picking is generally capable of improving pure manual or automated order picking operations in terms of throughput and total costs. Based on the simulation results, promising future research potentials are discussed.


Job satisfaction: An explorative study on work characteristics changes of employees in Intralogistics 4.0

Winkelhaus, Grosse & Glock (2022)
Journal of Business Logistics

The increasing trend toward digitalization in logistics poses a significant managerial challenge, particularly by fundamentally changing the traditional, manual workplaces in intralogistics. Although intralogistics processes have, in some cases, already been automated or are supported by smart technologies, humans remain an inevitable part of future intralogistics but with changing work characteristics. This study aims to examine the influences of the transition toward Intralogistics 4.0 on work characteristics of intralogistics employees. First, a systematic literature review on work characteristics and job satisfaction in a broader Logistics 4.0 context was conducted. Thereafter, a qualitative, explorative methodology was employed to examine the perception of work characteristics that impact job outcomes such as job satisfaction, motivation, and performance at different Intralogistics 4.0 maturity levels. The results of semi‐structured interviews conducted across seven companies demonstrated the significant, heterogeneous changes of work characteristics related to the type of technology applied in Intralogistics 4.0. Our findings indicate that the development toward Intralogistics 4.0‐implemented workplaces does not have a simple or predefined impact on humans; instead, the individual design is relevant and can improve the workplaces with more opportunities for satisfying and motivating jobs.


Towards a conceptualisation of Order Picking 4.0

Winkelhaus, Grosse & Morana (2021) 
Computers & Industrial Engineering 159(1)

Order picking is a key task in almost all supply chains and has a significant effect on operational efficiency of warehouses. Although most companies still rely on manual order picking, research on diverse possibilities to automate order picking tasks or support human order pickers with technology is increasing rapidly. This paper conceptualises Order Picking 4.0 (OP 4.0), considering substitutive and supportive technologies. Based on a conceptual background, a framework for OP 4.0 as a sociotechnical system is developed. A systematic literature review is performed to assess the state of knowledge in this field, and prospective research opportunities in OP 4.0 are highlighted.


Evaluation of Human Workload in a Hybrid Order Picking System

Zhang, Winkelhaus & Grosse (2021) 
17th IFAC Symposium on Information Control Problems in Manufacturing

Order picking is a labor-intensive and costly process in supply chains, which is performed manually in most cases. Recently, picking robots have been developed which are capable of working together with human pickers in a shared working space. Such hybrid order picking system can ease human pickers’ workload and provide ergonomic improvements, because it partially automates the order picking process. We propose a simulation model to measure the energy expenditure of human pickers who work with the support of picking robots. The hybrid order picking system is evaluated based on its operational costs, efficiency, and ergonomic characteristics. Preliminary results presented in this study show that there are assignment rules for items to workers and robots that reduce human energy expenditure and costs per pick, as well as maintain average throughput time at a certain level. The aim of this preliminary study is to closely analyze the hybrid order picking system, evaluate managerial implications, and detect research opportunities for future works.


Mensch-Roboter-Kollaboration in der Kommissionierung

Zhang, Semar, Grosse, Winkelhaus & Glock (2021) 
ZWF Zeitschrift fuer Wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 116(6)

Die Kommissionierung weist in den meisten Unternehmen einen hohen Anteil an manueller Arbeit auf und ist sehr zeit- und kostenintensiv sowie fehleranfällig. Um diesen Prozess zu automatisieren, wurden autonome Roboter entwickelt. Eine modularisierte Lösung stellt die kollaborative Kommissionierung dar, welche die Vorteile der manuellen und robotergestützten Kommissionierung kombiniert. Dieser Beitrag systematisiert die kollaborative Kommissionierung und entwickelt ein Simulationsmodell, um deren Potenziale herauszustellen.


Work characteristics in Logistics 4.0: Conceptualization of a qualitative assessment in order picking

Winkelhaus & Grosse (2020) 
21st IFAC World Congress 2020

Logistics 4.0 is an emerging phenomenon, where new digital technologies are used to fulfil increasing demands of delivering individualized products against high cost pressure and fast delivery times. Within this development, human factors should not be neglected, since they will remain an important aspect of process efficiency and business success. One logistics process that has undergone a major transformation within Logistics 4.0 regarding manual human work is warehouse order picking. However, the implications of increasing digitalization on human workers in order picking are not yet fully understood. Hence, this contribution grounds on a qualitative assessment of work characteristics in order picking and conceptualizes possible influences of the digital transformation on order pickers. These conceptual interrelations enable to design future workplaces that allow higher job satisfaction, motivation, quality and performance of work as well as lower turnover intentions.


Digitale Verzahnung in variantenreicher Fertigung - Komplexe Produktions- und Logistikprozesse mittels mobiler Apps harmonisieren

Winkelhaus, Grosse & Bauer (2020) 
Industrie 4.0 Management 36(4)

The paradigm shift towards a customer focused mass customization in Industry 4.0 and corresponding Logistics 4.0 requires technical solutions to make these approaches economically viable. When human workers on the shopfl oor are faced with these technologies, however, they can be the source of fear and resistance. Applications for mobile devices are a user-friendly component of a digitization strategy in this light. A real life example from the printing industry is highlighting how apps can be used to save money, improve process reliability and increase worker satisfaction at the same time.


Logistics 4.0: a systematic review towards a new logistics system

Winkelhaus & Grosse (2020) 
International Journal of Production Research 58(1)

Enterprises are confronted with new customer requirements and challenged by global competition leading to fundamental changes of today’s industry. Against this background, at present Industry 4.0 is the main concept of dealing with these challenges in manufacturing. Lacking a comparable covering concept in logistics, this study aims to stringently unify diverse approaches in research to a Logistics 4.0-framework in order to generate a new picture of the state of logistics research. In this article, a comprehensive framework of Logistics 4.0 is developed. First, the term Logistics 4.0 is defined, and then a systematic literature review of 114 articles on Logistics 4.0 is performed. The resulting framework combines external triggers, main technological innovations, impacts of human interactions and logistics tasks. Existing solutions that support Logistics 4.0 are summarised according to the technologies: internet of things, cyber-physical systems, Big Data, cloud computing, mobile-based systems, social media-based systems and further technologies. Managerial implications are outlined and open research issues are examined. For researchers, this review offers the possibility to unify and expand existing solutions and to identify links and interfaces that are still needed. As for managerial implications, this framework can be used to identify future strategies and technologies to fulfil certain logistics tasks, but also to develop new technological solutions for current and future demands.


Logistik 4.0 – Paradigmenwandel als Chance für Menschen und Unternehmen

Winkelhaus & Grosse (2019) 
ZWF Zeitschrift fuer Wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb 114(10)

Die vierte industrielle Revolution verändert über die Produktion hinaus weite Teile des wirtschaftlichen und gesellschaftlichen Handelns. Die Logistik sieht sich durch den Paradigmenwechsel hin zur kundenindividuellen Massenfertigung vor einem Wandel zur Logistik 4.0, in der mittels technischer Innovationen nachhaltig und effizient individuelle Anforderungen erfüllt werden. In diesem Beitrag werden Logistik 4.0 definiert und die Rolle des Menschen darin näher beleuchtet.


On the Way to Logistics 4.0 - a Systematic Review and Outlook

Winkelhaus & Grosse (2019) 
9th IFAC Conference on Manufacturing Modelling, Management and Control (MIM 2019)



Warehousing 4.0 - Technische Lösungen und Managementkonzepte für die Lagerlogistik der Zukunft

Glock & Grosse (2017) 

Die Lagerlogistik befindet sich im Umbruch. Neue Möglichkeiten, die sich durch das Voranschreiten von Industrie 4.0 ergeben, haben unlängst Einzug in die Intralogistik und deren Prozesse gehalten. Die Potenziale der Automatisierung, Digitalisierung und Datenintegration sowie innovativer Managementkonzepte eröffnen dabei bisher ungeahnte Chancen zur Optimierung innerbetrieblicher logistischer Prozesse. Interpretiert man diese Entwicklungen und zukünftige Möglichkeiten in einem breiten Kontext, so entsteht der Begriff Warehousing 4.0. Vor allem die bisher sehr stark von manuellen Tätigkeiten geprägte Lagerlogistik profitiert von diesen spannenden Entwicklungen. Wir erleben durch das Warehousing 4.0 jedoch nicht die Abschaffung der manuellen Arbeit im Lager – vielmehr wird die Arbeit der Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter aufgewertet bzw. unterstützt und diese letztendlich entlastet. Fahrerlose Transportsysteme, die ganze Regale autonom zu den Mitarbeitern transportieren, Serviceroboter oder auch technische Assistenzsysteme, wie Datenbrillen oder Exoskelette, sind nur einige wenige Beispiele für die Möglichkeiten, die das Warehousing 4.0 Unternehmen eröffnet. Dieses Buch gibt zunächst einen Überblick über die Entwicklung der Industrie 4.0 und zeigt Potenziale auf, die sich daraus für die Lagerlogistik ergeben. Anschließend werden innovative technische Lösungen zur Automatisierung und Digitalisierung in der Lagerlogistik vorgestellt. Zudem wird aufgezeigt, wie der Mensch in der Lagerlogistik durch neue Managementkonzepte und Assistenzsysteme unterstützt werden kann. Schließlich beleuchten Best Practice-Beispiele die mögliche Umsetzung der vorgestellten Ansätze. Das Buch unterstützt dadurch vor allem Praktiker dabei, die Potenziale des Warehousing 4.0 bestmöglich kennenzulernen und umzusetzen. www.warehousing40.com