This beer brewer is one of the world’s largest. They have over 200 breweries and hundreds of brands with global appeal. They wanted to optimize production scheduling to maximize the utilization of their brewing tanks and improve demand fulfillment. They approached ITC Infotech, a technology services leader and AIMMS implementation partner, to develop a custom optimization application.
Beer brewing is a complex, multi-step process that involves many ingredients and long production lead times. This company’s scheduling problem is particularly complex due to the intricacies involved in yeast planning. Yeast is required to start the fermentation process. The quantity of yeast required varies depending on the type of beer. Yeast can also be re-used to start the fermentation process in other tanks (a process known as yeast cropping). All the while, there is a long lead time required for preparation.
The company was planning the tank schedule manually, with individual planners per brewery. They wanted to have a more advanced tool to create a feasible and optimized schedule in a reasonable amount of time.
ITC Infotech developed a custom optimization app that helps planners create a schedule for all tanks, considering specific variables like available capacity, yeast cropping time and shelf-life, fermentation time, time between cultures and more. Using the app, they can decide when to start the fermentation process, in which tank, for which brand and for specific demand segments. The AIMMS-based app creates a production schedule within minutes using a mixed-integer programming model with CPLEX as the solver. It also helps the team with inventory decisions, by ensuring they have the right brand of yeast at hand and maximizing yeast cropping when possible.
On-time demand fulfillment
Maximum resource utilization
Reduced planning time
Improved ability to deal with planning complexity