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Students interested in these projects should have a sound understanding of optimization fundamentals. The implementation will need good computational skills since the problems can turn out to be large scale. 

SP1: Location of Supply Chain Facilities

Gopal Malakar, Bishal, Prakash Bhandari

The geographic location of production facilities, stocking points, and sourcing points is an important strategic planning step in supply chain design. Once the size, number, and location of supply chain facilities are determined, so are the possible paths by which the product flows through to the final customer. These decisions have great significance since they determine the way in which customer markets are accessed and they have substantial impact on revenue, cost, and service levels. The location problem has been formulated by several researchers as a mixed linear integer programming problem (MILP).

Lead: B.C. Arntzen, G.G. Brown, T.P. Harrison, and L. Trafton. Global supply chain management at the Digital Equipment Corporation, INTERFACES, Jan-Feb 1995. 

SP2: Supply Chain Configuration

The decisions here include what products to produce, which plants to produce them in, allocation of suppliers to plants, plants to distribution centres, and distribution centres to customer markets. These decisions assume the existence of supply chain facilities but determine the exact paths through which a product flows to and from these facilities.

Leads: (1) has details of i2’s “Supply Chain Strategist” package. 
(2) R.L. Breitman and J.M. Lucas. PLANETS: A modeling system for business planningINTERFACES, Jan-Feb 1987, pp. 94-106. 

SP3: Procurement Planning

Neeraj, Tejas, Shashikala, Maya

Procurement planning takes an unbiased forecast of expected sales and performs a number of computations to obtain a corresponding set of part requirements. It is a critical process in the determination of a company’s serviceability and inventory. This function becomes an interesting optimization problem if there is constrained supply and uncertain demand.

Lead: B. Dietrich et al. Production and Procurement planning under resource constraints and demand variability. Research Report, IBM Research  Laboratory, Yorktown Heights, 1995.