Human Performance in Planning and Scheduling

By Bart MacCarthy; John Wilson | Go to book overview

CHAPTERTEN

Design of a Knowledge-based Scheduling System for a Sheet Material Manufacturer

Vincent C.S. Wiers


10.1

INTRODUCTION

The field of production scheduling is dominated by research of a theoretical and quantitative nature (e.g., Halsall et al., 1994). Although several authors have argued that there is a large gap between theory and practice (McKay, 1988; Sanderson, 1989; Wiers, 1997a), the stream of publications about production scheduling has not shown much change in focus. There is also a great need for empirical evidence regarding the applicability of scheduling techniques in practice.

Knowledge-based technology has been advocated as a promising approach in the field of production scheduling. Many researchers in scheduling believe that knowledge-based technology is able to bridge some of the gap that exists between scheduling practice and operations research.

This chapter describes the design and implementation of a knowledge-based scheduling system for a sheet material manufacturer. The design is based on a model presented by Wiers (1997b) and Wiers and van der Schaaf (1997). This model contains four aspects that drive the design scheduling decision support: autonomy, transparency, level of support, and information presentation.

The chapter is structured as follows: Section 10.2 describes the production situation and the sheet material products. In Section 10.3, the scheduling task is described and analyzed. In Section 10.4, the knowledge-based decision support system is presented. Lastly, in Section 10.5 conclusions and a discussion of the system implementation experiences are given.


10.2

SHEET MATERIAL PRODUCTION

10.2.1

Products

The company produces high quality sheet material that is used for façade cladding, interior construction and finishing, and for laboratory and project furniture. The products are made by first treating sheets of paper with resin, and then pressing a number of paper sheets together under high pressure. Figure 10.1 shows how a product is made from a number of sheets.

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