Production planning in manufacturing

Dr Mahdi Doostmohammadi is currently working on the EPSRC project entitled ‘Multi-Item Production Planning: Theory, Computation and Practice’ (EP/L000911/1) under the supervision of Dr Kerem Akartunali. Challenging optimisation problems, incorporating interactions between different time periods and between different products, arise in the context of the manufacturing and remanufacturing companies and offer significant savings potential.

In the first part of the project, entitled ‘theory development for single-resource, multi-item problems’, we've established novel mathematical properties for important sub-problems of the single-machine, multi-item problems. Rather than using traditional techniques such as decompositions based on items or time periods, sophisticated sub-problems called ‘two-period relaxations’ are constructed.

We're currently working on the second part of the project, which aims to build a sophisticated computational framework for these problems. This part is expected to result in the development of novel production planning software. The theoretical outcomes of the previous part will be implemented and the ongoing computational testing in the High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities of Strathclyde is expected to provide significant insights. We're working with a planning software company, Preactor, who's a supporting partner of the project. This means that the immediate outcomes  of the project will directly impact the design and efficiency of the production planning software, and give a UK company competitive advantage with state-of-the-art research.

In the final part of the project, we'll work closely with the industrial partner First Milk, the biggest dairy co-op of the UK. We want to understand their practical needs and issues in a perishable environment, and to develop customised software to address these using the theory developed in the project.