Raising the Decision-Making Level to Improve the Enterprise-Wide Production Flexibility



When market demand significantly changes, as in the ongoing worldwide economic crisis, many production plants are forced to operate far from nominal conditions. In this case, the current plant-wide optimization of production sites is a myopic approach that could lead to plant inefficiencies and unconventional operation issues, thus, resulting in ineffective prevention of economic losses. A way to tackle low-demand conditions is to raise the decision-making process from the plant-wide (or business-wide) level to the enterprise-wide (or corporate) level by assigning a Boolean variable to each production site so as to manage their on/off status. By doing so, certain additional (social) constraints may become relevant. The case of operating industrial gases supply chains is considered. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 1588–1598, 2013