Planning and Scheduling

Planning and scheduling issues exist in many different forms in project-based companies, production companies, the transport industry and the service sector. Therefore, Center for Logistics continuously is working with the development of new methods and IT-tools to support these areas.

At the Centre for Logistics we have focused on the following topics in our work with manufacturing and logistics systems:

  • Designing, developing and implementing Decision Support Systems, some of these with Multi-Criteria optimization. In practice this has also entailed designing and implementing knowledge databases in collaboration with planners and managers in the participating companies.
  • Using and implementing Constraint (Logic) Programming techniques for planning, scheduling and routing.
  • Using fuzzy logic methods to handle the uncertain/fuzzy knowledge and stochastic parameters often found in real life planning environments.
  • Developing diagnostic methods for establishing dependencies between variables and constraints in complex systems, and using this information to improve planning performance.
  • Developing more efficient search strategies for finding feasible or optimal solutions to solve among other planning problems.
  • Developing optimisation methods/models for planning, scheduling and routing.

Areas of Interest within Planning & Scheduling

In particular we have identified four application areas that we are particularly interested in. The following will be a presentation of these four areas.

Automated flexible manufacturing cells

Many production companies lack support in scheduling and re-scheduling jobs of automated manufacturing cells in a manner integrated with the whole logistic system. Therefore the Centre focuses on developing methods and systems supporting planning and scheduling for automated manufacturing cells.

Order promising based on feasible (optimal) plans

The more a company is oriented towards market flexibility (i.e. demand driven manufacturing and transportation), the more complex the order promising process becomes, since capacities and scheduling needs to be included in the process. In market flexible environments (such as the ones Small and Medium-sized Enterprises usually operate in) a feasible order promise requires detailed planning and scheduling for each customer enquiry.

Transportation system optimisation and network design

In today’s supply chains the complexity often justifies the added effort of optimising both the routings and the network design itself.

Project driven manufacturing

Many companies are working using a project driven approach and they often lack adequate tools to do this in an efficient manner. To remedy this, we work on developing Stochastic Multi-Criteria optimisation models for project driven enterprises. The focus is on project planning and execution of projects taking into account a shared pool of constrained resources, a limited budget etc. under the uncertain conditions that appear during execution of projects.