Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sustainable Supply Chain Network Design

We are pleased to announce that the paper, Sustainable Supply Chain Network Design: A Multicriteria Perspective, has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Sustainable Engineering. The paper is based on research conducted by Professors Anna Nagurney and Ladimer S. Nagurney.

Supply chain networks provide the infrastructure for the production, storage, and distribution of products as varied as pharmaceuticals, vehicles, computers, food products, furniture, and clothing, throughout the globe. Hence, the design of supply chain networks is a topic of engineering importance since it involves the determination of both the sites and the levels of operation of the relevant facilities that enable the manufacture, storage, and delivery of products to the consumers. Sustainability of supply chains has emerged as a major theme in both research and practice since the impacts of climate change have made both producers and consumers more cognizant of their decision-making and how their decisions affect the environment.

In this paper, we developed a rigorous modeling and analytical framework for the design of sustainable supply chain networks. We considered a firm that is engaged in determining the capacities of its various supply chain activities, that is, the manufacturing, storage, and distribution of the product to the demand locations. The firm is faced with both capital costs associated with constructing the link capacities as well as the links' operational costs. Moreover, the firm is aware of the emissions generated associated with the alternative manufacturing plants, storage facilities, and modes of transportation/shipment, which may have different levels of emissions due, for example, to distinct technologies of, respectively, production, storage, and transportation. The firm is assumed to be a multicriteria decision-maker who seeks to not only minimize the total costs associated with design/construction and operation, but also to minimize the emissions generated, with an appropriate weight, which reflects the price of the emissions, associated with the various supply chain network activities. We provided both the network optimization modeling framework and an algorithm, which was then applied to compute solutions to a spectrum of numerical sustainable supply chain design examples in order to illustrate our approach.

The paper may be accessed here.