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International Journal of Production Research


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Application of genetic algorithms in production and operations management: a review


S. S. Chaudhry & W. Luo
a

Department of Decision and Information Technologies, College of Commerce and Finance, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085, USA
b

Department of Decision and Information Technologies, College of Commerce and Finance, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085, USA E-mail: Version of record first published: 22 Feb 2007.

To cite this article: S. S. Chaudhry & W. Luo (2005): Application of genetic algorithms in production and operations management: a review, International Journal of Production Research, 43:19, 4083-4101 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207540500143199

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International Journal of Production Research, Vol. 43, No. 19, 1 October 2005, 40834101

Application of genetic algorithms in production and operations management: a review


S. S. CHAUDHRY* and W. LUO

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Department of Decision and Information Technologies, College of Commerce and Finance, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085, USA

(Revision received April 2005) Over the last decade, there has been a rapid growth of the use of genetic algorithms in the various areas of production and operations management. This paper provides a review of genetic algorithms research published in twenty-one major production and operations management journals from 19902001. More specically, it identies research trends and publication outlets of genetic algorithms applications. Our ndings show that there are only a handful of production and operations management areas to which genetic algorithms have been applied as the solution approach. Furthermore, we recognize and discuss potential research areas and outlets in which researchers may target their work as well as the need for top ranked POM journals to consider publishing genetic algorithms related papers. Keywords: Production and operations management; Genetic algorithms; Survey

1. Introduction In the last decade, an increasing number of genetic algorithm (GA) applications have appeared in the production and operations management (POM) literature (Aytug et al. 2003, Cheng et al. 1996, Proudlove et al. 1998). GAs were developed based on the principles of the evolutionary theory (Goldberg 1989). It can be used as a heuristics search tool for modelling and solving complex discrete optimization problems (Dowsland 1996). Representing solutions to a problem as a set of individuals, GA iteratively generates improved solutions from the population through reproduction, crossover, and mutation until an optimal solution is reached following the survival of the ttest principle. Since many decisions in POM can be characterized as complex optimization problems that require a heuristic search method, GA is a viable problem-solving tool for a variety of POM applications, such as facility layout, production planning, product design, process design, scheduling, and inventory management (Aytug et al. 2003, Proudlove et al. 1998). Given the rapid growth of GA applications in the POM elds, we believe a review of the past trend and outlets of the published articles in POM journals

*Corresponding author. Email: sohail.chaudhry@villanova.edu


International Journal of Production Research ISSN 00207543 print/ISSN 1366588X online # 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals DOI: 10.1080/00207540500143199

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is warranted to assist researchers in identifying POM research areas in which GAs could be applied as a solution approach as well as potential outlets for their research work. In the literature, there have been a few reviews of GA in the POM areas. For example, Cheng et al. (1996) provided a tutorial survey of GA design methodologies to solve job-shop scheduling problems. Their paper used examples to illustrate the implementation of various GA representation schemes for job-shop scheduling problems. Proudlove et al. (1998) reviewed applications of articial intelligence (AI) techniques in eight areas of POM where GA was discussed as an AI solution approach to solve scheduling, inventory management, and product and process design problems. In a recent paper, Aytug et al. (2003) surveyed GA applications in six major POM problem categories including production control, facility layout, line balancing, production planning, supply chain management and design, and other. They reviewed detailed GA implementation methodology in each of the problem domains that included mapping, representation, initialization, crossover, mutation, and termination. While the reviews of GA applications in POM have provided excellent analysis of how GAs had been implemented in various POM areas, they have focused so far on a limited number of POM areas and did not provide an analysis of journals in which the reviewed articles were published. The purpose of this study is to identify potential research areas and topics of POM that can use the GA as a solution methodology and guide researchers in nding the appropriate outlets for their work. The paper provides an account of GA applications in the eld of POM in terms of publication trends and outlets. We systematically review GA applications that were published in major operations management/operations research journals during the period of 19902001. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 provides a brief description of GA. Section 3 discusses the classication scheme we use to organize POM applications. The data collection method we employed to gather published GA applications in POM literature is described in section 4. Results of our analysis are presented in section 5. Section 6 provides a discussion of further research opportunities.

2. Genetic algorithms A genetic algorithm is a newer form of articial intelligence based on inductive learning technique that was rst introduced by Holland (1975). A GA can be viewed as having as its goal the development of systems that demonstrate self-organization and adaptation. This is accomplished by being exposed to the environment, similar to biological organisms. In this section, we provide a brief description of a genetic algorithm and how it works in an optimization problem. A genetic algorithm is a heuristic search procedure which is based on the natural process of evolution as in biological sciences. As this highly adaptive evolutionary process progresses, the population genetics evolves in a given environment according to the natural behaviour in which the ttest survive and the weakest is destroyed. Thus, the genes from the adept donor will then propagate to another recipient during each successive generation, hence creating more adept

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ospring suitable for the dened environment. In optimization terms, the search algorithm improves the solution over generations as it progresses toward the optimum. Genetic algorithms have been successfully applied in solving a variety of optimization problems which are dicult to solve. These problems include the travelling salesperson problem, job-shop scheduling problems and routing problems, among others. For a more thorough coverage of genetic algorithms, the reader is referred to the excellent textbook by Goldberg (1989). In terms of an optimization problem, the genetic algorithm approach is summarized as follows. At any given point in time, the genetic algorithm generates a population of possible candidate solutions. Initially, the population size is chosen at random. However, this choice typically depends on the characteristics of the problem. Each population component is a string entity of a chromosomefor example, a (0, 1) bit string, which represents a possible solution to the problem. The population components are evaluated based on a given tness function. Highly t population components are given the chance to reproduce through a crossover process with other highly t population elements by exchanging pieces of their genetic information. This process produces ospring or new solutions to the optimization problem based upon the high-performance characteristics of the parents. Premature loss of important information by randomly altering bits within a chromosome is prevented by a mutation process. This procedure continues until a satisfactory solution is achieved.

3. A POM classication scheme Production and operations management is dened as the design, operations, and improvement of systems that create and deliver the rms primary products and services (Chase et al. 2001: 6). Hence, POM is then concerned with the overall management of the various transformation processes in productive systems. Given the various transformation stages of a productive system, the need for management decision making at dierent stages requires strategic, tactical, and operational decisions. A variety of POM classication schemes have been proposed in the literature (Mertens and Kanet 1986, Gupta and Chin 1989, Jayaraman and Srivastava 1996, Proudlove et al. 1998). Mertens and Kanet (1986) developed a taxonomy for production management while assessing the potential use of expert systems in the various areas of production management. They identied nine dierent areas of production management under two broad categories of technological activities and logistical activities. The technological activities were manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering, maintenance, and quality control. On the other hand, the logistical activities included the areas of production planning and control, materials control, purchasing, inventory management, and forecasting. In studying expert systems and their applications in POM, Gupta and Chin (1989) adopted the functional ow diagram of a POM system (Riggs 1976) which showed the relationships between material and information ows with management functions that are needed to the produce a product. Proudlove et al. (1998) reviewed intelligent management systems in operations. They used Schroeders (1993) ve major decision area classication scheme of quality management

4086 Table 1.

S. S. Chaudhry and W. Luo POM research areas (adapted from Jayaraman and Srivastava 1996). Decision types

Unstructured Environment Process choice Process design Product design Quality planning

Semi-structured Facility location Facility layout Project management Long-term capacity planning Job-design Aggregate planning Long-term forecasting

Highly structured Short-term capacity planning Distribution Scheduling Quality control Inventory control Maintenance Short-term forecasting Purchasing

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and control, process design, capacity planning and scheduling, inventory management, and work-force management and added two additional categories of operations strategy and product design. Jayaraman and Srivastava (1996) very eloquently provided and justied a POM framework for expert system classication. They adopted Morton and Keens (1978) approach by considering whether the decision-making environment was unstructured, semi-structured, or highly structured. Then, decision-making activities that were unstructured to semi-structured would be characterized under the strategic area of POM and the semi-structured to highly structured decision-making situations would be classied under the operational/tactical area of POM. Nineteen dierent POM areas were identied under the strategic and operational/tactical areas of POM. Even though their decision-making classication scheme was dierent from other researchers, in our opinion, we believe that their classication approach is more suitable for our research. In fact, we added environment as an additional area under strategic category to reect the importance of environmental concerns in POM. These areas are summarized in table 1.

4. Data collection method In order to provide a comprehensive review of GA applications in POM, we need to identify GA articles published in the POM literature. We began with the identication of a set of relevant POM journals as the basis of our analysis. Using a survey methodology, Barman et al. (2001) ranked 21 academic journals for their perceived relevance and quality to POM research. The ranking of perceived relevance is presented in table 2. They divided these journals into three categories: highly relevant, less relevant, and the least relevant. The highly relevant category included journals that focus on operations management and decision sciences. The less relevant consisted of operations research oriented journals such as Operations Research and Journal of Operational Research Society. Finally, the least relevant journals were Academy of Management Journal and Academy of Management Review. Other ranking studies of POM journals revealed similar ndings. For example, Goh et al. (1997) categorized POM journals into elite, major, and important journals based on a citation analysis of three prominent journals over a

Application of genetic algorithms in production and operations management Table 2. Barman et al.s (2001) ranking 1 2 3 4 5 List of journals. Goh et al. (1997) Elite Elite Elite Elite Elite Elite Major Elite

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Journal name Journal of Operations Management Production and Operations Management International Journal of Operations and Production Management Production and Inventory Management International Journal of Production Research Decision Sciences Interfaces Management Sciences IIE Transactions Harvard Business Review International Journal of Production Economics Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management European Journal of Operational Research Operations Research Naval Research Logistics Omega Journal of Operational Research Society Computers and Operations Research Computers and Industrial Engineering Academy of Management Journal Academy of Management Review

Soteriou et al. (1999) Most relevant Most relevant Most relevant Most relevant Most Relevant

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6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Most relevant

Major Major Important Major Major Important

ve-year period. Soteriou et al. (1999) reported a ranking of 35 journals in terms of their relevance to POM research from a European perspective. The results of both studies are included in table 2 for comparison purposes. We adopted the journals of the Barman et al.s (2001) list as the base journals for our search of GA related articles. The search of published GA application articles in the base journals was performed using three online databases which were ABI Inform (http:// proquest.umi.com), Decision Web (http://www.elsevier.nl/homepage/sae/orms/ orms.sht), and Emerald (http://ceres.emeraldinsight.com) as well as individual journal web sites. For each journal, we searched for articles published between 1990 and 2001 with terms genetic algorithm, genetic algorithms, GA, and GAs in the title, subject, and keyword elds. It resulted in 340 articles. We examined these articles in terms of their relevance to our study. Some search results had no relations to genetic algorithms. For example, studies on gas exploration showed up because of the keyword GAs. Many other articles were not POM applications. A total of 162 articles were excluded from further analysis. With the remaining 178 articles, each article was reviewed independently by both authors and placed into the appropriate problem classication area as shown in table 1. When there was a disagreement in the placement of an article, a resolution was reached through discussion among authors.

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5. Analysis of publication patterns In this section, the results of our survey are presented by classifying published articles according to years, authors, application areas, decision types, and journals. Figure 1 shows the distribution of articles published by year. During the covered period, the number of published GA articles in POM ranged from a low of one article in 1990 and 1991 to the high of 38 articles in 2000. The number of publications also showed a steady increasing trend from 1990 to 2000 with several marked drops in 1997, 1999, and 2001, which may be due to a variety of reasons including journal publication schedules and paper review and revision process. A total of 431 authors aliated with institutions from 30 dierent countries were identied from the 178 articles, of which 360 were unique authors. Table 3 shows the breakdown of authors by countries and their membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which was used as a way to classify developed and developing economies. It can be seen that the largest number of authors were from the USA, followed by China (including Hong Kong), and Japan. Based on the OECD classication, 328 authors were from 18 OECD member countries while the remaining 103 authors were from the developing countries. Table 4 further dierentiates these countries into continental regions. Through this classication, it can be seen that North America and Asia had approximately the same number of contributing authors of the 178 articles. The distribution of publication numbers by application areas is presented in table 5. Scheduling had the largest number of GA publications followed by facility layout, which accounted for 50% and 17.98% of the total publications, respectively. Another 17.41% of the articles were in the areas of process design, aggregate planning, and product design. The remaining 14.61% of the articles were scattered in 12 application areas ranging from inventory control to environmental issues. No GA applications were found in the quality planning, short-term and long-term forecasting, and short-term capacity planning.
Articles by Year
45 40 35

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Number of Articles

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

Year

Figure 1.

Distribution of articles by year.

Application of genetic algorithms in production and operations management Table 3. Country USA China Japan Canada Korea Turkey France Germany Taiwan UK India Israel Spain Poland Italy Authors 148 49 39 25 23 18 15 12 14 12 12 10 6 5 5 Country aliation of authors for all papers. OECD Member Member Member Member Member Member Member Member Member Member Member Total Country Belgium Australia Austria Brazil Zimbabwe Netherlands Malaysia Fiji Singapore Sweden Greece Finland Thailand Lebanon South Africa 30 Authors 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 431

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OECD Member Member Member Member

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Member Member Member

18

Table 4. Continent

Continent aliation of authors for all papers. Authors 173 172 70 7 5 4

North America Asia Europe Australia/Oceania Africa South America

POM application areas can be classied into unstructured, semi-structured, and structured decision types. Table 6 shows the number of articles falling into each decision type category and their percentage as the total number of publication for each year. Structured decision type dominated the GA applications with almost 59% of the published GA articles appearing in this category. Semi-structured and unstructured decision types accounted for 28% and 13% of the total, respectively. However, it is worth noting that there was a signicant increase in the number of applications of GA in unstructured and semi-structured decision types during the late 1990s. As shown in table 7, we found POM applications of GA in 12 journals. The largest numbers of applications appeared in European Journal of Operational Research, International Journal of Production Research, Computers and Operations Research, and Computers and Industrial Engineering, which accounted for about 75% of total articles. Another three journals, International Journal of Production Economics, IIE Transactions, and Journal of Operational Research Society, accounted for almost 20% of the articles. The remaining four journals, Decision Sciences, Management Sciences, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, and Operations Research, published slightly over 5% of the total number of articles. In terms of the types of articles published in the journals,

4090 Table 5. Tier 1 2 3 4

S. S. Chaudhry and W. Luo Number of published articles by application areas. POM topics Scheduling Facility layout Process design Aggregate planning Product design Inventory control Facility location Maintenance Process choice Distribution Quality control Project management Long-term capacity planning Job design Short-term forecasting Purchasing Environment Quality planning Long-term forecasting Short-term capacity planning Table 6. Number of articles 89 32 13 10 8 6 5 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 Percentage of total articles 50.00 17.98 7.30 5.62 4.49 3.37 2.81 1.69 1.12 1.12 1.12 0.56 0.56 0.56 0.56 0.56 0.56 0.00 0.00 0.00

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Number and percentage of articles by decision types. Semi-structured 1 (100%) 1 (50%) 2 (33.33%) 2 (14.29%) 5 (18.52%) 1 (10%) 12 (41.38%) 11 (45.83%) 10 (25.00%) 5 (23.81%) 50 (28.09%) Structured 1 (100%) 1 (50%) 2 (66.67%) 4 (66.67%) 11 (78.57%) 19 (70.37%) 7 (70%) 14 (48.28%) 10 (41.67%) 24 (60.00%) 12 (57.14%) 105 (58.99%) Total 1 1 2 3 6 14 27 10 29 24 40 21 178

Year 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Total

Unstructured 1 (33.33%) 1 (7.14%) 3 (11.11%) 2 (20%) 3 (10.34%) 3 (12.50%) 6 (15.00%) 4 (19.05%) 23 (12.92%)

Computer and Industrial Engineering only had GA applications that are classied as structured POM decision, while International Journal of Production Research had more articles in unstructured and semi-structured POM decisions. European Journal of Operational Research and Computers and Operations Research were more balanced in their coverage. Although our search covered 21 dierent journals, we did not nd any GA applications of POM in 12 journals including journals such as Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review. It should be noted that some

Application of genetic algorithms in production and operations management Table 7. Journal title European Journal of Operational Research International Journal of Production Research Computers and Operations Research Computers and Industrial Engineering International Journal of Production Economics IIE Transactions Journal of Operational Research Society Decision Sciences Management Sciences Naval Research Logistics International Journal of Operations and Production Management Operations Research Distribution of published articles by journals. Unstructured 2 8 4 0 3 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 Semi-structured 11 11 9 5 5 2 4 2 0 0 0 1 Structured 26 18 17 22 7 6 6 2 1 2 1 0

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Total 39 37 30 27 15 10 10 4 2 2 1 1

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of them are general management journals with limited POM coverage. They also tend to focus on conceptual and empirical research. However, it is surprising that leading POM journals such as Journal of Operations Management and Production and Operations Management had not published articles in this area.

6. Discussion From the publication patterns as described in the previous section, the use of GA in solving POM problems has seen a steady growth since the early 1990s and they have appeared in many leading POM journal publications. Given that all journals surveyed in this study are published out of North America and Europe, the author aliations of the published research were very diverse and they belonged to 30 dierent countries covering six continents. Furthermore, it is surprising to note that so many authors from developing economies (non-OECD member nations) made contributions to journals based in North America and Europe. This shows that GA has become a well-versed technique that can be applied to POM problems without geographic boundary and regardless of degree of economic development. Based on the number of published articles included in the survey from various areas of POM, we can group these publications into ve tiers, see table 5. The rst tier consists of the area of scheduling which was by far the most proliferated topic for GA applications and accounted for 50% of the total publications. Tier two comprised the area of facility layout, which accounted for close to 18%. The third tier consisted of the areas of process design, aggregate planning, and product design, which accounted for fewer than 18% of the total publications. The fourth tier

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consisted of the remaining 11 areas, ranging from 1 to 5 articles, and accounted for another 14% of the total publications. The last tier consisted of the remaining three areas in which no paper has been published in the selected journals so far. The majority of publications fall into the rst two tiers and there seems to be a good t between the characteristics of the problem domains and the GA tool. As noted above, scheduling and facility layout are the more established areas for GA applications. Due to the complexity of scheduling and facility layout problems, in practice and theory, heuristics are typically used as a solution methodology and it has been shown that GA usually tends to perform well on complex situations (Chaudhry et al. 2000). Hence, it is not surprising to nd the large amounts of publications in these two areas where GA is widely applied. As it is well known that scheduling is a broad and complex topic, applications of GA in scheduling have appeared in a wide variety of scheduling environments including job-shop/ow-shop, project scheduling and management, and other environments such as manufacturing cells and exible transfer line (Morton and Pentico 1993). This issue is addressed by the recent work of Aytug et al. (2003). However, a more detailed analysis of this work is needed. In a typical facility layout problem, the objective is to arrange departments in the most eective manner in order to process the work load of the business environment. From this research, it is apparent that GA has been applied to such problems. However, the area of facility layout shares a common thread with the scheduling area in the sense that they are not only as dicult to solve but also overlap in the context of the problem. For example, in a typical assembly line balancing problem, if the objective is to balance work stations, it can be viewed as a facility layout problem. However, if the objective is to determine the sequence of jobs at the work station, then the problem can be considered as a scheduling problem. Thus, this provides a synergy between the two areas that can be exploited by the use of GA as a solution technique. Our analysis indicates that there is a growing research interest in the topics of process design, product design, and aggregate planning since 24 out of the 31 published articles in these areas appeared after 1998. It is interesting to note that all these topics involve semi-structured and unstructured decisions. Like many other heuristic techniques, GA requires the problems to be structured in certain ways. Many semi-structured and unstructured problems do not lend themselves naturally to the GA requirements. However, within an unstructured problem domain, certain decision-making subcategories may exist where GA can be applied. Although we did not nd many publications in majority of the POM topics, it is not an indication that GA cannot be applied. Instead, we strongly believe that there are ample opportunities for researchers to utilize GA techniques in addressing POM problems. In our opinion, there are several possible reasons why GA applications in POM are concentrated in only a few areas. First, GA is still a relatively new solution methodology and POM researchers are just beginning to exploit and apply it in their research areas. Thus, researchers are likely to focus on those topics in which GA can be more readily applied. As GA research in scheduling and facility layout matures, we expect to see a more diversied portfolio of GA applications. Second, many POM researchers are not yet fully familiar with the GA as a solution methodology, partly because there are only a handful of commercially available GA software packages, for example, Evolver (1998) and

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Genehunter (1995). As more user friendly and versatile GA software packages are developed and available to POM researchers, we would expect more POM researchers will engage in implementing the GA methodology.

7. Conclusions In this study, we provided a summary of GA research published in POM-related journals as applied to the areas of POM from 1990 to 2001. Our ndings show that out of the 20 POM topics, scheduling and facility layout are the two most proliferated topics. Also, we see the emergent areas are that of process design, aggregate planning, and product design. The results from this study can help researchers who are interested in conducting studies in the POM areas using GA to identify potential research areas and topics. In addition, our study shows the journals that have traditionally published GA application studies and thus identies potential research outlets for their work. Furthermore, as indicated by our study, some of the top ranked POM journals have not published any GA related papers. The general growing trend of GA applications in POM suggested that our editors of the top-ranked POM journals may want to encourage submissions of research work related to GA applications and play a leading role in promoting new solution methodologies in articial intelligence. There are several limitations for this study. First, this survey covers only a limited set of POM-ranked journals based out of North America and Europe. It is quite likely that some GA-based POM research was published in journals that were not included in our survey. Also, conference proceedings and other types of publications were not included in this survey. However, our survey was based on three dierent ranking studies of POM journals and, therefore, it does provide a good representation of quality POM journals. Second, the decisions to categorize the articles were based on authors judgments. These categories were based on syntheses of various POM topic frameworks and they have been applied in a survey paper on the use of expert systems in POM. Third, this survey only focuses on the POM application areas and the journals in which the articles were published. We did not provide detailed analysis and assessment of how GA was applied to those problems. This is a subject of our further studies.

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