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Product Configuration with respect to Multiple Criteria - a Mathematical Programming Approach

Licentiate thesis, 2008

The trend in the market for trucks is that highly specialized configurations are made available for the customers and that only a few completely identical configurations are manufactured. One reason for this development is that the optimal truck configuration for a certain customer is very specific and depending on, e.g., the environment in which the truck is to be used and for what transport mission. To achieve reasonable cost levels the manufacturer must be able to produce a limited set of configurations in a cost-effective way by using the same parts in different combinations, leading to a relatively small number of parts but a large number of possible configurations.
This thesis presents an approach to the configuration problem by modeling it from a multi-objective optimization perspective. By assuming that a product is described by a number of quality measures which different customers appreciate differently, the interesting configurations consist of the configurations that lie in the Pareto optimal subset of the decision space.
For a large number of objectives, multi-objective optimization becomes cumbersome; therefore a first appended paper provides a method for problem reduction such that the representation of the Pareto optimal set is kept as good as possible.
A second paper considers a simplification of the configuration problem by assuming that the decision variables are continuous and box constrained. A problem, in which the objective is to find an optimal representation of the Pareto optimal set, while the number of chosen values of the decision variables is limited, is formulated and solved for a number of test instances.
The thesis has been written in close cooperation with the product development department of Volvo 3P.

optimization

multiple objectives

configuration management

MVH:12, Chalmers Tvärgata 3, Chalmers University of Technology

Opponent: Ph. D. Tobias Andersson, Division of Communication and Transport Systems, Linköping University, Sweden