Supply chain analysis and design

There are a number of typical models in the Operations Research field which can be applied to a wide range of supply chain problems. In other words, by learning a typical model various problems in supply chain optimisation domain can be addressed.

Please note that the basis of all proposed problems is the methods that you have learned in this course; however, none of them has been directly taught. The reason behind the design of this assignment is that there are hundreds of problem variations with the same structure in the real business world. Therefore, by learning the linear programming, students should be able to formulate a solution for problems which have similar structure to a typical problem. Students are required to research one of the proposed topics and address the assignment requirements accordingly.

Step 1: Identify and Solve a Typical Problem

Select one of the following typical models:

  • Vehicle Routing Problems (VRP)
  • Machine Scheduling Problem
  • Job Shop Scheduling
  • Flow Shop Scheduling
  • Pickup and Delivery
  • Christmas Lunch Problem
  • Knapsack Problem
  • Newsvendor Problem
  • Travelling Thief Problem
  • Eight Queens Problem • Hamiltonian Path Problem

1.1. Background:

  • Provide a detailed explanation of the selected problem.

1.2. Model

  • Provide typical mathematical model of the selected problem and clearly explain different aspects of the model (e.g. decision variable, objective function, constraints, etc.)

1.3. Solving an Example

  • Develop a mathematical model for a workable and reasonable size of the problem.

For many typical problems, when size of the problem increases, it becomes NP-Hard. In other words, your computer will not be able to solve it mathematically. Therefore, ‘workable and reasonable size’ here means that size of the selected problem should not be too small or too large.

  • Solve the problem in Excel and transfer your solution to Word. It is required that details and steps of getting the solution are provided in the Word document.
  • Interpret the findings and discuss.

Step 2: LR on Application of Selected Typical Model in Design and Analysis of Supply Chain

  • Identify at least 5 peer reviewed articles in which your selected typical problem has been employed to address knowledge gaps in supply chain field.

At least one of the selected articles should be published after 2010.

  • Write a comprehensive literature review on the application of “your selected” typical model in design and analysis of supply chain and address the following (but not limited to) points:


  • What type of problems in supply chain can be addressed by the selected typical problem?
    • Compare similarities and differences of selected articles.
    • Discuss the suitability of using the selected typical model in design/analysis of various supply chains.
    • What are the limitations of your selected typical problem?
    • Undertaking any additional critical and/or content analysis on the application of selected typical problem in design and analysis of supply chain is highly recommended.

Step 3: Summary of Findings

  • A summary of findings regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the selected typical problem in design and analysis of supply chain should be summarised in this section.