The Ultimate Fix To Your Production Planning Problems (also known as Mathematical Optimization)

In my previous post, I showed you three of the biggest pains of production planning managers. This time, I would like to show you how one can overcome these using mathematical optimization.

But first of all, I need to apologize for the small delay in the publication of this post. I spent the last week in the beautiful German/Austrian Alps, together with my colleagues from FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, discussing projects in healthcare and food production.

See for yourself – September is indeed beautiful in Europe.

The view of Kleinwalsertal in September 2022

But now, back to business.

Mathematical optimization – one ring to rule them all

While the parallel to Tolkien might be a little excessive here, Mathematical Optimization has proved to be capable of dealing with the usual problems of production planning managers.

In the following, I will show you examples of how it may help with the difficulties discussed last week.

Transforming dependencies into transparency

A little transparency… | Source

Complex value chains usually bring about numerous cross-dependencies.

Mathematical optimization algorithms are capable of reflecting the numerous factors which influence your planning. Moreover, it can ensure that they are optimally matched.

You can imagine what kind of competitive advantage this may give, even if your company is not yet on Forbes’s Top 100 list.

There are numerous cases of success of Mathematical Optimization in creating transparency. One, discussed in a paper by Rezaei-Malek et al., shows that planning part inspections and preventive maintenance jointly (rather than sequentially) creates more transparency which in turn results in a more efficient manufacturing system. In particular, they show that the optimal times and places for parts inspections and predictive maintenance periods allowed to decrease the total manufacturing costs at a company in the automotive sector by nearly 27%!

There is no short-notice change we can’t handle!

One does not simply change plans at the last minute | Source

The planning systems which utilize mathematical optimization are usually by design capable to respond rapidly to changing parameters and objectives.

They give the decision-makers the comfort of near-instant access to optimal plans.

It is a tremendous competitive advantage – one can finally make informed decisions, especially when flexibility is required and big money is at stake.

Such approaches are used by Siemens or Herlitz – for more details about these case studies, look here.

Goodbye, manual work!

What do we say to pointless manual work? | Source

A good, experienced planner is a priceless asset to any company.

But sometimes things get complicated – conditions get unstable and requirements change at the last minute.

Sure one can entrust the planner with devising a revised plan. But that usually requires a lot of care and hence takes a lot of time.

Mathematical optimization can ensure that the solutions you get are optimal or near-optimal every time you ask for them.

This feature is used to save on electricity costs. (It actually has many more applications, such as improving the accuracy of radiation therapy, but this is a topic for a separate post).


As you can see, Mathematical Optimization is your go-to technology if you wondering how to improve your production planning process.

Stay tuned for future posts!