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

Research Objective: The main objective of the present research project was to investigate the 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 were necessary incorporating ideas from exact methods, heuristic and metaheuristic algorithms. These methods were 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 could be compared against real ones. PDChain project has improved the planning processes of food manufacturers.

Research Context: 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.

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 - Centro de Engenharia e Gestão Industrial (CEGI-INESC TEC/IDMEC Porto/FE/UP);

Participant Institution: INESC Coimbra;

Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FE/UP).




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