Supply Chain Optimization

Supply chains enable and coordinate the flows of products such that they can reach the customers and create value. Supply chains in the process industries are highly complex as they often involve multiple interdependent products, cover large geographical distances, and use various means of transportation. The figure below shows the routing decisions in a three-period operational supply chain planning problem. This is a very small instance; one can imagine the complexity of larger industrially relevant supply chain problems. Moreover, especially in process industry supply chains, logistics decisions are highly constrained by the production processes such that plant operations also have to be taken into account.

Optimal routes in multiperiod production routing problem

The process industries have been experiencing major transformations in recent years, including the trend from product- toward service-oriented businesses, the increase in higher-value specialty products with more dynamic markets, shorter product life cycles, and the desire to create a sustainable circular economy. For companies, adapting to these changes while remaining competitive requires effective supply chain optimization. In our work, we focus on the following aspects of supply chain optimization: integrated production and distribution, supply chain flexibility and reliability, and strategic supply chain network design.

Selected Publications

Zhang, Q., Sundaramoorthy, A., Grossmann, I. E., & Pinto, J. M. (2017). Multiscale production routing in multicommodity supply chains with complex production facilities. Computers & Operations Research, 79, 207-222.

Zhang, Q., Shah, N., Wassick, J., Helling, R., & Van Egerschot, P. (2014). Sustainable supply chain optimisation: An industrial case study. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 74, 68-83.