Batch Processing Industries: Pharmaceutical, Food & Beverage, Paints, CPG

In batch processing industries, the manufacturing processes are complex, consisting of multiple stages with intermediate products. Each stage may involve multiple process steps or operations. Some of the stages and operations may be tightly coupled.

The image below is representative of the demand flow and production flow in a multi-stage batch processing operation.

Representative image of the demand flow and production flow in a multi-stage batch processing operation


For example, manufacturing stages in the Pharmaceutical industry include:

  • API (Active Ingredient) Manufacture
  • Granulation / Compression / Formulation
  • Packaging
Features & Capabilities

Optessa MLS has many features which make it an ideal solution for scheduling batch processing industry operations. Optessa MLS is suitable for high volume, high variety manufacturing environments and is capable of scheduling multiple production areas. It has extensive batch processing features and offers detailed scheduling to the individual resource level. Optessa MLS not only creates the lowest cost schedules through true optimization, but it also allows for dynamic rescheduling.

Given raw demand data with priority dates, Optessa MLS can

  • Aggregate by product type/ retain individual orders by due-date and priority
  • Net out available inventory by product type
  • Convert demand into batches e.g. a standard batch size, variable batch size by product type, in multiples of storage size etc.

Schedules generated by Optessa MLS are driven by final shipping priority dates and take into account multiple production stages with multiple production machines / equipment, accommodate a blend of batch and continuous processing (grinding & mixing versus packaging, for instance). The schedule for each upstream stage is driven by the corresponding schedule for a downstream stage.

The dynamic rescheduling capability of Optessa MLS is crucial in process industry scheduling. This is the core capability to reschedule on-demand and accommodate changes in schedule while minimizing deviations from original schedule. Optessa MLS allows for automated or user-driven response to events such as machine breakdown, unavailability of resources/ raw material, change in customer orders, process time variations etc. Optessa MLS offers the crucial benefit to manufacturers of maintaining material stability and meet customer commitments even with changes in the production environment.

Scheduling Model

Optessa MLS has the capability to comprehensively model the scheduling requirements for batch processing and generate optimal solutions. Following are some of the key modelling capabilities:

  • Support for more than 20 categories of constraints, with the ability to define unlimited number of constraints for each category
    • Order due dates and priorities
    • Dynamic batch / lot sizing
    • Capacity and storage restrictions
    • Inventory policies and limits
    • Changeover and setup times
    • Sequencing based on attributes and features
    • Attribute based capacity limits and invalid combinations
  • Hierarchical model to support stagewise scheduling
  • Attribute kits allow grouping of constraints and application to one or more objects
  • Time based constraints
  • High granularity of solve with extremely high fidelity of solution
Key Business Requirements Relating to Scheduling & Optessa MLS Support
  • Pharmaceutical industry is competitive and its customers require high service levels and flexibility – Optessa MLS provides on-demand scheduling capability to respond to customer orders and changes
  • Flexibile multi-product processes – Optessa MLS has a multi-stage scheduling model with support for a) product variety, and b) aggregated batch sizes at upstream stages and order level batching at downstream stages
  • Network capacity modelling for a variety of plants – Optessa MLS constraints, such as Feature Capacity, can be applied to a plant or groups of plant
  • Simpler planning and scheduling techniques are insufficient – Optessa MLS provides a comprehensive constraints model for high resolution modelling of the processes and restrictions
  • Improve capacity utilization – Optessa MLS constraints model enables high throughput schedules which improve capacity utilization
  • Improve response times – Optessa MLS schedules are detailed and synchronized with fast response times
Optessa MLS Functions for Primary (e.g. API) Manufacturing Scheduling Requirements
  • Integrated lot sizing and scheduling
  • Multiple pharmaceutical AIs and their intermediate products are scheduled on equipment for parallel production in batches
  • Sequence-dependent setup times and costs incurred when cleaning equipment during changeovers between different product families.
  • Sequence dependent setups and special restrictions, such as invalid combinations
  • Long process times
  • Multi-stage processes with intermediate inventories
  • Raw material expiration due to shelf life consideration
Optessa MLS Features for Secondary Manufacturing Scheduling Requirements
  • Order driven, multi-stage, multi-product flow shop scheduling: for example tableting –
    • Granulation – addition of excipient materials
    • Compression – pill formation
    • Coating
    • Packaging
  • Batch mode at each stage with sequence dependent setups
    • Stage-wise batch sizing with different basis for aggregation
  • Customer orders with due dates
    • Order driven dynamic scheduling – real-time reoptimization
  • Inventory limits and policies
  • Material expiration
    • Modelling shelf life
  • Stage specific sequencing and capacity based constraints
    • Feature and attribute kit based constraints