Tactical Planning of Sugarcane Harvest and Transport Operations
by: A. Aliano Filho, T. Melo, M. Vaz Pato
Motivated by a real situation arising in the Brazilian sugarcane industry, this paper addresses the integrated planning of harvest and transport operations over a multi-period planning horizon. The aim is to develop a schedule for the deployment of harvest and transport equipment that specifies the periods for the execution of the harvest operations on the sugarcane fields, and the type of harvesting machines and transport vehicles to be operated. These decisions are made subject to multiple constraints related to the projected crop yield, resource availability, demand for sugarcane at the mills, and further technical requirements specific to the harvest operations. The tactical plan to be determined minimizes the total cost incurred by the equipment used and the total time required to harvest all the fields. We propose a bi-objective mixed-integer non- linear programming model for this new problem. A computational study is conducted for test instances capturing the characteristics of a Brazilian milling company. Pareto-optimal solutions are identified by the Progressive Bounded Constraint Method that is extended to the problem at hand. A comparative analysis highlights the trade-offs between economic performance and harvest efficiency, thereby supporting the decision maker in making a more informed choice of the preferred tactical plan. Useful managerial insights are also provided into the profile of the harvest and transport resources that should be used under different weather conditions and work schedules.
Multi-objective optimization; Mixed-integer Programming; Sugarcane harvest and transport planning