Simulation-based optimisation using simulated annealing for crew allocation in the precast industry

Ammar Al-Bazi, Nashwan Dawood

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    Numerous different combinations of crew alternatives can be deployed within a
    labour intensive manufacturing industry. This can therefore often generate a large
    number of possible crew allocation plans. However, inappropriate selection of
    these allocation plans tends to lead to inefficient manufacturing processes and
    ultimately higher labour allocation costs. Thus, in order to reduce such costs
    more sophisticated and innovative allocation systems are required. The main aim
    of this study is to develop a Simulation-Based Multi-Layered Simulated
    Annealing (“S_MLSA”) system to solve crew allocation problems encountered in
    labour-intensive parallel repetitive manufacturing processes. The ‘Multi-Layered’
    concept in modelling of crew allocation problems is introduced in response to the
    problem-solving requirements of different sets of labour inputs such as multishifted
    crews. As part of the methodology used, a process simulation model is
    developed to mimic a parallel-repetitive processes layout. A Simulated
    Annealing module is proposed and embedded into the developed process
    simulation model for a better search for solutions. Also, the Multi-Layered
    Dynamic Mutation operator is developed to add more randomness to the
    searching mechanism through the solution space. A real industrial case study data
    of the precast concrete labour intensive manufacturing systems is used to
    demonstrate the applicability and practicability of the developed system. From
    the research findings, the proposed system has the potential to produce more cost
    effective allocation plans, through reducing process waiting times as compared
    with real industrial based plans. Also, the main contribution to knowledge is in
    the application of such innovative systems in the precast concrete industry and
    the potential impact of reducing production costs and improving process
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109-126
    JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design Management
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2017


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