Discrete and continuous time representations and mathematical models for large production scheduling problems: A case study from the pharmaceutical industry
The underlying time framework used is one of the major differences in the basic structure of mathematical programming formulations used for production scheduling problems. The models are either based on continuous or discrete time representations. In the literature there is no general agreement on which is better or more suitable for different types of production or business environments. In this paper we study a large real-world scheduling problem from a pharmaceutical company. The problem is at least NP-hard and cannot be solved with standard solution methods. We therefore decompose the problem into two parts and compare discrete and continuous time representations for solving the individual parts. Our results show pros and cons of each model. The continuous formulation can be used to solve larger test cases and it is also more accurate for the problem under consideration.
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