A mathematical model and a heuristic approach for periodic material delivery in lean production environment

Kilic H. S., Durmuşoğlu M. B.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCED MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, vol.69, pp.977-992, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


One of the important design elements for a good production system is material handling. In cases where it is not well-designed, it can be the bottleneck in the system. Moreover, it can cause a lot of wastes such as waiting time, idle time, and excessive transportation and cost. In this study, material handling in lean-based production environments is taken into account. Depending on the lean structure of the production systems such as being pull-based, smooth, and repetitive, delivering the materials to the stations periodically becomes important. At this point, milk-run trains are highly used in real applications since they enable the handling of required amount of materials on a planned basis. With this study, it is aimed to develop a specific model for milk-run trains which travel periodically in the production environment on a predefined route in equal cycle times with the aim of minimizing work-in-process and transportation costs. Since the milk-run trains having equal cycle times start their tours at the same time intervals, it becomes simple to manage them. For this reason, they are used in lean production systems where level scheduling is performed. The developed model is based on mixed-integer linear programming, and since it is difficult to find the optimum solution due to the combinatorial structure of the problem, a novel heuristic approach is developed. A numerical example is provided so as to show the applicability of the mathematical model and the heuristic approach.