Research Projects

Multi-site Capacity Architecture Study and Enabling Technology Evaluation

The globalisation of manufacturing enterprises has given rise to critical challenges of information dissemination and usage. Organisations need to address the issues of knowledge management and sharing among geographically distributed production sites to facilitate production planning and scheduling decisions. The traditional planning and scheduling within the boundary of each individual localised production site is no longer able to optimise the overall production goal of the enterprise. Autonomous factories distributed worldwide share the same business strategic objectives of the enterprise, at the same time; they also have to fulfill their own key performance indicators, which may be in conflict with the overall corporate objectives. Examples of such localised interest could be the reservation of capacity for own customers and the maximisation of resource utilisation within their own local production sites. 

Aided by the globalisation trend, the networked corporate structure, in which individual factories are autonomous, or legally independent, would overwhelm traditional hierarchical structure because of its low investment risk, flexibility of strategic re-configuration, low overhead cost, and low complexity among factories due to the scaleable and decentralised characteristics. This is also in line with the movement towards adaptive manufacturing, which enables companies to produce goods efficiently and manage variability proactively. Adaptive manufacturing must be managed as a closed-loop process with tight linkages among the planning and scheduling functions of the various production sites and most importantly the enabling technology must facilitate the integration across the distributed manufacturing bases. Such integrated networks enable process visibility and collaboration capabilities which are the foundation to building an adaptive manufacturing enterprise in order to support the vision of an adaptive supply chain. 

Therefore, the objective of this research project is to establish a new capacity planning architecture for the full fledge multi-site planning and scheduling system. Based on the new architecture, a proof-of-concept demand planning prototype will be developed to demonstrate the feasibility of chosen architecture.

Contact PersonWang FengYu()
SolutionThe answer to the above challenges is an adaptive multi-site planning and scheduling system, which will allow for planning and scheduling decisions across multiple manufacturing plants or enterprise that are geographically distributed. It addresses the issues of stand-alone, increasingly complex software and technological systems deployed in geographically dispersed subsidiaries, leading to incomplete or obsolete data, as well as decision models within each site. The system helps consolidate and apply accurate information for effective decision making in a dynamic and global business environment.

Applications

The system is mainly used for mid-term resource assessment and planning. Typical applications include but are not limited to:

  • Demand planning over a monthly or quarterly period for multiple production sites
  • Multi-site mid-term capacity planning
  • Multi-site mid-term material planning
Problems Addressed

Some key strategic and operational issues to be addressed are:

  • “How to raise the entry barrier for new comers by fully exploiting the capacity advantage of multi-site manufacturing?”
  • “How to maintain balance loading among factories and keep healthy production condition at all factories?”
  • “How to satisfy customer orders at the lowest cost and shortest lead-time by selecting most suitable production site?”
  • “How to exchange capacity planning related knowledge among multiple factories”, and etc.