by Wei Dong LIN
he Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) is collaborating with small- and medium-sized enterprises to research and develop solutions that can help them implement smart, robust, and efficient techniques in their logistics operations.
The SIMTech Logistics initiative group focuses on solving demand-responsive problems prevalent in integrated manufacturing and logistics systems. The researchers have successfully developed several solutions using technologies that collate real-time information from dissimilar sources and merge it with intelligent predictive algorithms.
Figure 1 explains the concept of intelligent real-time control and software development for time-critical manufacturing and transportation applications. In this project, a team at SIMTech has created a metaheuristics-based dynamic demand-responsive integrated manufacturing and transportation planning-and-execution system that integrates with advanced geographic information systems/global positioning systems. The system features include real-time manufacturing and transportation process-responsive change, constraints and conditional changes, real-time transportation planning, real-time vehicle-routing guidance and expediting, and best vehicle routing with real-time updating.
Metaheuristics are general combinatorial optimisation techniques, designed with the aim of being flexible enough to handle as many different combinatorial problems as possible. In theory, while metaheuristics can handle any combinatorial optimisation problem, effort has to be made to adapt the general ingredients of these methods to the particular solution. In this project, SIMTech studies core techniques of metaheuristics such as Simulated Annealing, Tabu Search, Evolutionary Algorithms, Ant Colony Optimisation, and Artificial Immune Systems. These technologies are applied in the manufacturing and transportation sectors.
Key benefits from such a system include (1) reduced total manufacturing and transportation time and cost, (2) real-time dynamic demand-responsiveness to changes from customers, manufacturing processes, and transportation activities, (3) enhanced customer service levels, and (4) increased return of assets.
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