Robust order planning with planned orders for multi-variant series production in a production network


The International Journal of Production Economics is a well-established and highly successful journal reporting production and manufacturing research. The journal focuses on topics treating the interface between engineering and management. All aspects of the subject in relation to manufacturing and process industries, as well as production in general are covered. The journal is interdisciplinary in nature, considering whole cycles of activities, such as the product life cycle - research, design, development, test, launch, disposal - and the material flow cycle - supply, production, distribution.

The ultimate objective of the journal is to disseminate knowledge for improving industrial practice and to strengthen the theoretical base necessary for supporting sound decision making. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and the presentation of new developments in theory and application, wherever engineering and technology meet the managerial and economic environment in which industry operates. In character, the journal combines the high standards of a traditional academic approach with the practical value of industrial applications.

The article emphasizes, that competitive production planning has to enable the realization of customer requirements regarding order configurations and lead times. In case short lead times are required, medium-term planning must take place when customer orders have not been received yet. In the short-term, robustness can be achieved by minimizing the impact of adapting the medium-term plan according to incoming customer orders. Thus, disturbances in the production network and its supply chain can be avoided.

Therefore, an order planning approach is proposed providing continuity between medium-term and short-term planning as well as integrating the intra-organizational supply chain with its interface to the suppliers. The approach covers three planning tasks: the medium-term generation of planned orders anticipating customer orders, their medium-term assignment to production locations of the production network as well as the medium-to short-term assignment of incoming customer orders to planned orders.

An industrial application is presented for an automobile manufacturer considering the documentation of its multi-variant products. Simulation is used to validate the robustness of the assignment of incoming customer orders to planned orders assigned in the production network. The managerial implication is that robustness of planning and a reliable confirmation of delivery times can be achieved by planning with orders in the medium-term and utilizing different types of reconfiguration flexibility in the short-term.

flexis employees are co-authors of the article “Robust order planning with planned orders for multi-variant series production in a production network” in the prestigious and high-ranked International Journal of Production Economics.