Earlier commercial solutions for production and process scheduling focused solely on two basic questions: 1) When should a specific task be scheduled? and 2) What resources should be assigned to perform the task? In many cases, these questions can be answered by applying simple, rule-based heuristics, such as sequencing tasks by earliest due date (EDD), or in ascending order by processing times (SPT). In more complex situations, however, optimization-based approaches should be used. These methods use mathematical programming techniques to find the optimal solution – the best sequence and assignment of tasks – to maximize or minimize a desired performance metric, like throughput or operating cost.
Seeing a gap as to solutions currently available in the market place, the PhD scientists at OptTek Systems developed OptPro, a best-in-class production scheduling system that goes well beyond rule-based systems to enable optimal production design and operational decision making through powerful algorithmic and analytical techniques.
In this paper, we first describe traditional techniques for analysts conducting production scheduling. Next, we introduce OptPro, state-of-the-art software for enabling optimization of complex production scheduling activities. We then detail use of this powerful software via two real-world examples using OptPro to optimally schedule operations for an Ecommerce plant and dairy processing facility, respectively.
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