Tutorial to Excel Solver for the Solutionof Linear Programming Models
By Dr Muhammad Al-SalamahLast updated 11/13/2009 09:11:05Excel Solver has proven itself to be the most easily accessible utility for mathematical programmingand the solution of mathematical equations in general. Solver comeswithExcel, hence, no further expenses are incurred. For some users, the appeal of Solver lies in itsgraphical interface,which does not require variable definitionsnecessary in other optimizationsoftwarepackages. Solver has its own options andsetups; but the default values most often are adequate and are rarely changed.This tutorial is built around a manufacturing planning decision problem, and the problem will be utilized to show how Solver can be used to solve it.
Manufacturing Planning Decision
Bright Man Company manufactures shmaq and qutra for EastAlkobar store. EastAlkobar accepts all the production supplied by Bright Man. The production processincludes cutting of sheets, sewing, and packaging. Bright Man employs 25 workers inthe cutting department, 35 in the sewing department, and 5 in the packagingdepartment. The factory works one 8-hour shift, 5 days a week. The following tablegives the time requirements and profits per unit for the two garments:Minutes per unitKindCuttingSewingPackingShmaq207012Qutra60604Theindustrial engineer has to plan the weekly production, which requires him todetermine how many shmaq and qutra to produce. Knowing that his company isdriven by profit and better efficiency means more money, he chooses to find theoptimal production mix that will maximize the profit. The prices of the two garmentsare as:
The variables in this production planning problem are the production amounts of shmaq and qutra:x
Every function (objective function andconstraints) is defined in anindividual cell, with reference to the decision variables.The production mix problem can be concisely represented in a table form insideExcel, and the cells containing the definition of the variables and the functions areadded to the table:
Once theworksheetis setup, Solver can be called to solve the problem.The Solver dialog boxhas five areas that are necessary to define the components of the LP model to Solver, and these areas are illustrated in the following figure: