A Markov Chain Formulation for the Grocery Item Picking Process
A major chunk of Walmart business (and most of its markets outside the US) comes from Grocery. Customers place orders online which are then delivered to the shipping address or collected by customers from the store (CnC).
What is common to both modes of fulfillment of an order?
It is the process of picking items done by associates in the store. While the actual process has many complexities like downloading of online orders into the store, figuring out locations of items in store, generation of substitutes, generating optimized number of containers to fulfil an order, generating optimized pickwalks for associates across the store etc., the basic operation performed by the associate is to look at different items in an order (typically between 50–70 items) and add them to the containers.