An AHP-based decision-making tool for the solution of multiproduct batch plant design problem under imprecise demand


This paper addresses the problem of the Optimal design of batch plants with imprecise demands in product amounts. The design of such plants necessarily involves the way that equipment may he utilized, which means that plant scheduling and production must form an integral part of the design problem. This work relics on a previous study, which proposed all alternative treatment of the imprecision (demands) by introducing fuzzy concepts, embedded in a multi-objective Genetic Algorithm (GA) that takes into account simultaneously maximization of the net present value (NPV) and two other performance criteria, i.e. the production delay/advance and a flexibility criterion. The results showed that an additional interpretation step might be necessary to help the managers choosing among the non-dominated solutions provided by the GA. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) is a strategy commonly used in Operations Research for the solution of this kind of multicriteria decision problems, allowing the apprehension of manager subjective judgments. The major aim of this study is thus to propose a software integrating the AHP theory for the analysis of the GA Pareto-optimal solutions, as an alternative decision-support tool for the batch plant design problem solution. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.