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Using Frontier Portfolios to Improve Make-to-Order Operations

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Abstract

Make-to-order (MTO) manufacturers face a common problem of maintaining a desired service level for delivery at a reasonable cost while dealing with irregular customer orders. This research considers a MTO manufacturer who produces a product consisting of several custom parts to be ordered from multiple suppliers. We develop procedures to allocate orders to each supplier for each custom part and calculate the associated replenishment cost as well as the probability of meeting the delivery date, based on the suppliers' jobs on hand, availability, process speed, and defective rate. For a given delivery due date, a frontier of service level and a replenishment cost frontier are created to provide a range of options to meet customer requirements. This method can be further extended to the case when the delivery due date is not fixed and the manufacturer must “crash” its delivery time to compete for customers.

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