Year of Publication


Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Kozo Saito

Second Advisor

Jon C. Yingling


A just-in-time supply pickup and delivery system (JSS) manages the logistic operations between a manufacturing plant and its suppliers by controlling the sequence, timing, and frequency of container pickups and parts deliveries, thereby coordinating internal conveyance, external conveyance, and the operation of cross-docking facilities. The system is important to just-in-time production lines that maintain small inventories. This research studies the logistics, supply chain, and production control of JSS. First, a new meta-heuristics approach (taboo search) is developed to solve a general frequency routing (GFR) problem that has been formulated in this dissertation with five types of constraints: flow, space, load, time, and heijunka. Also, a formulation for cross-dock routing (CDR) has been created and solved. Second, seven issues concerning the structure of JSS systems that employ the previously studied common frequency routing (CFR) problem (Chuah and Yingling, in press) are explored to understand their impacts on operational costs of the system. Finally, a discreteevent simulation model is developed to study JSS by looking at different types of variations in demand and studying their impacts on the stability of inventory levels in the system. The results show that GFR routes at high frequencies do not have common frequencies in the solution. There are some common frequencies at medium frequencies and none at low frequency, where effectively the problem is simply a vehicle routing problem (VRP) with time windows. CDR is an extension of VRP-type problems that can be solved quickly with meta-heuristic approaches. GFR, CDR, and CFR are practical routing strategies for JSS with taboo search or other types of meta-heuristics as solvers. By comparing GFR and CFR solutions to the same problems, it is shown that the impacts of CFR restrictions on cost are minimal and in many cases so small as to make simplier CFR routes desirable. The studies of JSS structural features on the operating costs of JSS systems under the assumption of CFR routes yielded interesting results. First, when suppliers are clustered, the routes become more efficient at mid-level, but not high or low, frequencies. Second, the cost increases with the number of suppliers. Third, negotiating broad time windows with suppliers is important for cost control in JSS systems. Fourth, an increase or decrease in production volumes uniformly shifts the solutions cost versus frequency curve. Fifth, increased vehicle capacity is important in reducing costs at low and medium frequencies but far less important at high frequencies. Lastly, load distributions among the suppliers are not important determinants of transportation costs as long as the average loads remain the same. Finally, a one-supplier, one-part-source simulation model shows that the systems inventory level tends to be sticky to the reordering level. JSS is very stable, but it requires reliable transportation to perform well. The impact to changes in kanban levels (e.g., as might occur between route planning intervals when production rates are adjusted) is relatively long term with dynamic after-effects on inventory levels that take a long time to dissapate. A gradual change in kanban levels may be introduced, prior to the changeover, to counter this effect.