INESC Coimbra


PDChain: Just-in-Time Production and Distribution of Perishable Goods in Supply Chains

Title: PDChain: Just-in-Time Production and Distribution of Perishable Goods in Supply Chains

Coordinator: B. Almada Lobo (FEUP), Carlos Henggeler Antunes

Dates start/end: April 2010 / April 2012

Entity: FCT (PTDC/EGE-GES/104443/2008)

Proponent Institution: FEUP - Unidade de Gestão e Engenharia Industrial (UGEI/IDMEC Porto/FE/UP)

Participant Institution: INESC Coimbra

Synopsis: The pressure of reducing costs in supply chains (SC) forces companies to take an integrated view of their production and distribution processes. The timely production and distribution of rapidly perishable goods is one of the most challenging logistics problems in the context of SC operation. The overall problem involves several tightly interrelated production planning, scheduling and routing problems, considering product freshness simultaneously. Even when considered as independent from the other ones, each of the mentioned problems is of large combinatorial complexity.

The main objective of the present research project is to investigate this dilemma of the different aims of production and distribution planning incorporating product freshness as a criterion and to develop solutions by an integrated planning approach. Both production and distribution planning are NP-hard and therefore computationally intensive to solve. There is a strong need for approaches that are capable of finding satisfactory solution to these complex problems in short computation times. So for developing a solution method for an integrated approach, new concepts will be necessary incorporating ideas from exact methods, heuristic and metaheuristic algorithms. These methods will be tested not only on artificial benchmark instances, but also on a real word data from a Portuguese diary company and, therefore, the expected cost savings and superior performance of the generated plans can be compared against real ones. PDChain project will improve the planning processes of food manufacturers.