A hybrid method for large-scale short-term scheduling of make-and-pack production processes

Baumann, Philipp; Trautmann, Norbert (2014). A hybrid method for large-scale short-term scheduling of make-and-pack production processes. European journal of operational research, 236(2), pp. 718-735. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ejor.2013.12.040

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Due to the ongoing trend towards increased product variety, fast-moving consumer goods such as food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals are typically manufactured through so-called make-and-pack processes. These processes consist of a make stage, a pack stage, and intermediate storage facilities that decouple these two stages. In operations scheduling, complex technological constraints must be considered, e.g., non-identical parallel processing units, sequence-dependent changeovers, batch splitting, no-wait restrictions, material transfer times, minimum storage times, and finite storage capacity. The short-term scheduling problem is to compute a production schedule such that a given demand for products is fulfilled, all technological constraints are met, and the production makespan is minimised. A production schedule typically comprises 500–1500 operations. Due to the problem size and complexity of the technological constraints, the performance of known mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) formulations and heuristic approaches is often insufficient.

We present a hybrid method consisting of three phases. First, the set of operations is divided into several subsets. Second, these subsets are iteratively scheduled using a generic and flexible MILP formulation. Third, a novel critical path-based improvement procedure is applied to the resulting schedule. We develop several strategies for the integration of the MILP model into this heuristic framework. Using these strategies, high-quality feasible solutions to large-scale instances can be obtained within reasonable CPU times using standard optimisation software. We have applied the proposed hybrid method to a set of industrial problem instances and found that the method outperforms state-of-the-art methods.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Financial Management > Professorship for Quantitative Methods in Business Administration

UniBE Contributor:

Baumann, Philipp and Trautmann, Norbert


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations








Juliana Kathrin Moser-Zurbrügg

Date Deposited:

11 Sep 2014 16:00

Last Modified:

28 Jan 2020 13:48

Publisher DOI:






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