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Almatroushi, H, Hariga, M, As'ad, R and Al-Bar, A (2020) The multi resource leveling and materials procurement problem: an integrated approach. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 27(09), 2135–61.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Project management; Scheduling; Optimization; Integration;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0969-9988
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-10-2019-0563
  • Abstract:
    This paper proposes an integrated approach that seeks to jointly optimize project scheduling and material lot sizing decisions for time-constrained project scheduling problems.Design/methodology/approach A mixed integer linear programming model is devised, which utilizes the splitting of noncritical activities as a mean toward leveling the renewable resources. The developed model minimizes renewable resources leveling costs along with consumable resources related costs, and it is solved using IBM ILOG CPLEX optimization package. A hybrid metaheuristic procedure is also proposed to efficiently solve the model for larger projects with complex networks structure.Findings The results confirmed the significance of the integrated approach as both the project schedule and the material ordering policy turned out to be different once compared to the sequential approach under same parameter settings. Furthermore, the integrated approach resulted in substantial total costs reduction for low values of the acquiring and releasing costs of the renewable resources. Computational experiments conducted over 240 test instances of various sizes, and complexities illustrate the efficiency of the proposed metaheuristic approach as it yields solutions that are on average 1.14% away from the optimal ones.Practical implications This work highlights the necessity of having project managers address project scheduling and materials lot sizing decisions concurrently, rather than sequentially, to better level resources and minimize materials related costs. Significant cost savings were generated through the developed model despite the use of a small-scale example which illustrates the great potential that the integrated approach has in real life projects. For real life projects with complex network topology, practitioners are advised to make use of the developed metaheuristic procedure due to its superior time efficiency as compared to exact solution methods.Originality/value The sequential approach, wherein a project schedule is established first followed by allocating the needed resources, is proven to yield a nonoptimized project schedule and materials ordering policy, leading to an increase in the project's total cost. The integrated approach proposed hereafter optimizes both decisions at once ensuring the timely completion of the project at the least possible cost. The proposed metaheuristic approach provides a viable alternative to exact solution methods especially for larger projects.