Synchronizing Production and Distribution in Multi-level Supply Networks with Controlled Outsourced Transportation

Project: Research

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The advancement and the global adoption of the Internet and IT-enabled solutions means product design and development, parts manufacturing and assembly, finished goods distribution and marketing can happen anywhere, worldwide. Synchronizing production and distribution effectively under such a diverse supply network is challenging, yet essential. In order to be competitive, many manufacturing enterprises tend to implement controlled outsourced transportation (COT) from Third-Party Logistics Enterprises (3PLEs) to reduce capital investment in transportation and to focus their efforts on core operations. With COT, manufacturing enterprises provide the transportation plans for execution by their 3PLEs partners. So far, theoretical and technical frameworks for synchronizing production and distribution are still underexplored, especially under the COT environment.This research addresses issues of production and distribution scheduling in multi-plant and multi-customer supply networks under the COT environment. Mathematical models will be formulated for synchronizing production and distribution for different product categories with diverse inventory policies over a given planning horizon. Intelligent algorithms having certain features of Genetic Algorithm, Tabu Search and Ant Colony Optimization, will be developed to yield near-optimal solutions for large-scale scheduling problems involving variables in production location, production volume, distribution schedule, transit time, fleet composition, pickup method and vehicle routing for a given demand. Finally, a Decision Support System (DSS) will be developed to integrate the intelligent algorithms established earlier in the project into a production-distribution schedule framework prior to its trial implementation in the industry.


Project number9041491
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1031/03/14