Dark warehousing enlightens efficiency – Royal Haskoning DHV



Company Name / Department

Royal Haskoning DHV

Contact Person

Jop Kremers

Location Hybrid – main office in Amersfoort, but we also have offices in Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Amsterdam.

Optional remote work

Yes, at least two days per week at the office. Preferably, three days per week.
Travel expenses (own account or reimbursed by the company) Own account
Housing arranged by company No
Housing expenses (how much per month, own account or subsidized by the company) Own account
Internship compensation  € 550 per month
Study program Innovation Management
ESCF community

Full member

Start date

Default September ’24. Earlier start date can be discussed if preferred by student.


Company Description

    Royal HaskoningDHV is an international engineering firm that is committed to enhancing society together. With over 140 years of engineering expertise and a focus on digital technologies, sutainable solutions and design knowledge, we are dedicated to creating a positive impact on the world through our work.  

    One of the markets we are active in is Industry and Buildings. Here, we actively contribute to reshaping the industry, ensuring it continues to bring health, prosperity, food and goods to society while using and re-using resources with minimal environmental impact. In addition, we develop flexible and sustainable buildings that can effectively meet present and future needs.

    As part of RoyalHaskoning DHV, Districon provides specialized knowledge in the field of Supply Chain & Logistics. We believe that applying the right technology enables our customers to improve their supply chain processes and planning. With over 85 highly educated consultants and 5 offices across the globe we support customers in a variety of sectors.

    One of the focus areas of Districon is warehouse design with a large mechanization factor. Through data, industry expertise and business understanding, create warehouse layout designs.

    Project Description

    Project description:

    Direct-to-customer E-commerce has surged, making online shopping mainstream. Warehouses are vital for timely product delivery, yet face hurdles in meeting demand for faster service. They handle order processing, packaging, and shipping, directly influencing customer satisfaction. Businesses strive to enhance warehouse operations amid challenges like space constraints, slow processing, and high labor needs, which can cause delays and higher costs.

    “Dark warehouses are essentially distribution centers that operate with minimal or no human intervention.”

    Dark warehouses are equipped with automated systems, incorporating robotics, conveyor belts, and AI-driven software. On paper, they allow for improved productivity, optimized use of storage space, less errors, more energy efficient, better stock control, and a cost-efficient operation. Sounds good right? So, what is everyone waiting for?

    Many challenges lie under fully automating a warehouse operation. What conditions should be in what place to make such a successful transition?

    How suitable are product assortment and their order profiles? What about uniformity and repetitiveness? How many Stock Keeping Units to be considered? Which number of working hours per day to include? The more, the better for the Return on Investment.  

    On the soft side, another challenge is guiding employees towards this big transition. Is personal equipped and willing to do this? What determines people to either bend with, or to do the opposite? Do you need other type of personal? What external factors to consider such as unions and local regulations?

    Another important factor, slightly more invisible, transition needs to be made, on IT. What systems are in scope for steering a fully automated warehouse? For sure, a Warehouse Control System from an integrator must align with ERP and/or WMS. IT resources need to be reserved for building these interfaces. Many test phases will follow. Emulation and simulation (Digital Twins) can help in ensuring the total system works as it should be.

    The master thesis objective for this specific project is to develop a framework which, first, describes the conditions for a successful fully automated operation. And second, it describes an overview of the risks involved in going into such a transition. Preferably past or active case studies are part of this analysis. Eventually, the study should conclude into an evaluation model which determines the state of readiness for a Dark Warehouse introduction for a company.

    Goals of the project:

    Determine the state of readiness for a Dark Warehouse introduction for a company.


    Decision framework, terms of conditions, evaluation model

    Essential student knowledge:

    Transition management, decision framework



     More information: escf@tue.nl  


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