Scheduling decisions are often made in a reactive mode, with little regard for the efficient use of resources.  For example, a patient may call with a medical emergency, or a product must be back ordered.  Click here for other examples.

The aim of this project is to review and classify the current methods of scheduling and develop a coherent approach to scheduling that optimizes the use of resources, reduces delays, and applies to many settings. The existing approaches to scheduling are being classified into four categories (based on the ideas of James Meteer of the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation):

  • Whether the frequency of events (such as a shipment to a subsidiary or visit to the doctor) is fixed or variable
  • Whether the amount of product or service that is produced is fixed or variable

The familiar economic order point and quantity is an example of a variable frequency/ fixed quantity approach to scheduling. As the project has progressed, it is becoming apparent that an effective scheduling approach will be a combination of all four of these types.