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Optimization of schedule stability and efficiency under processing time variability and random machine breakdowns in a job shop environment



The ability to cope with uncertainty in dynamic scheduling environments is becoming an increasingly important issue. In such environments, any disruption in the production schedule will translate into a disturbance of the plans for several external activities as well. Hence, from a practical point of view, deviations between the planned and realized schedules are to be avoided as much as possible. The term stability refers to this concern. We propose a proactive approach to generate efficient and stable schedules for a job shop subject to processing time variability and random machine breakdowns. In our approach, efficiency is measured by the makespan, and the stability measure is the sum of the variances of the realized completion times. Because the calculation of the original measure is mathematically intractable, we develop a surrogate stability measure. The version of the problem with the surrogate stability measure is proven to be NP-hard, even without machine breakdowns; a branch-and-bound algorithm is developed for this problem variant. A tabu search algorithm is proposed to handle larger instances of the problem with machine breakdowns. The results of extensive computational experiments indicate that the proposed algorithms are quite promising in performance. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Naval Research Logistics, 2011

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