Industrial Systems Optimization and Control (ISyOC)

Supply Networks & Logistics Research Center (SNLRC)

The Supply Networks & Logistics Research Center (SNLRC) conducts advanced research and provides scientific consultancy and support in supply networks engineering and management. The core competency of the center is in the development of integrated optimization and simulation based solutions to effectively and efficiently design and manage the various production and logistical processes of the design and management of complex enterprises Systems Engineering. Typical research questions and issues addressed by the research team are:

  • Designing, coordinating and optimizing supply chains
  • Integrating people, processes and technology in supply networks
  • Design and layout of distribution and cross-docking facilities
  • Optimization and simulation of order picking processes
  • Planning and scheduling scarce resources under complex constraints
  • Planning and scheduling issues including variability and uncertainty
  • Investigating impact of variability and uncertainty in transportation
  • Optimizing freight movements across multiple lanes and modes
  • Effectively interfacing and coordination of modes of transportation
  • Analysis and multi-disciplinary system's modeling in logistics

Integrated Production and Maintenance Planning

This research line focuses on:

  1. Investigating issues related to the integration of production and preventive maintenance planning, at the tactical as well as operational level.
  2. Investigating issues in selective and imperfect maintenance optimization.

Cyclic Inventory Routing Problem (CIRP)

This research line is pursued at the department ISyE-PD since 2000. The research focuses mainly on developing efficient MILP models and algorithms to the Cyclic Inventory Routing Problem (CIRP), to the Stochastic Cyclic Inventory Routing Problem (SCIRP) and to their many variants.

The Cyclic Inventory Routing Problem (CIRP) is one of the challenging optimization problems in logistics and supply chain management. It aims at optimally integrating inventory control and vehicle routing operations in a supply network. In general, IRP arises as an underlying optimization problem in situations involving simultaneous optimization of inventory and distribution decisions. Its main goal is to determine an optimal distribution policy, consisting of a set of vehicle routes, delivery quantities and delivery times that minimizes the total inventory holding and transportation costs. This is a typical logistical optimization problem that arises in supply chains implementing a vendor managed inventory (VMI) policy.

VMI is an agreement between a supplier and his regular retailers according to which retailers agree to the alternative that the supplier decides the timing and size of the deliveries. This agreement grants the supplier the full authority to manage inventories at his retailers'. This allows the supplier to act proactively and take responsibility for the inventory management of his regular retailers, instead of reacting to the orders placed by these retailers.

PhD's in this area:

  1. Models and Algorithms for the Cyclic Inventory Routing Problem, Birger Raa (2006)
  2. Exact and heuristic methods for the cyclic inventory routing problem with side-constraints, Yiqing Zhong, UGent (2012)
  3. On the inventory routing problem with stationary stochastic demand rate, Mohd Kamarul Irwan Abdul Rahim, UGent (2015)

Lean Enterprise Research Center (LERC)

The LERC conducts research into Lean Implementation methods for organisations from all sectors: industry, administration, healthcare, service organisations, … This research is performed in many forms: formal research projects, innovation projects in cooperation with companies, international and collaborative projects. Related activities, such as corporate training, in-company thesis projects and sector activities complement the offering. The LERC develops methods to guide companies to Operational Excellence. Special attention is given to SMEs.

Areas of expertise include design and optimization of industrial productions systems, in-plant logistic systems, layout and flow improvements of operational areas, both in industry and service systems, benchmarking and management systems for sustainable productivity improvements.

The LERC works closely together with the Research Group Production Logistics and the XiaK Center of expertise.

From the Research group a university spin-off company has been established in 2011: Veltion.