The day I put my hand into the shredder

…or so to speak. Recently, I’ve been working (in collaboration with two people) on a production planning model for a network of sawmills. It is not yet customized for a particular company. We came to this particular model after a few meetings, and it is rather clean and easy to read. The project went very well, maybe too well, because at some point, someone said “maybe we should include backorders into this models”. It seemed quite simple and straightforward to include backorders into the model…

…but it wasn’t. We went up adding many variables to account for promised quantities versus delivered quantities, amount of backorders per customer, as well as accounting constraints.  We are close to double the size of the initial model, and we spent a long time debugging it and changing things. For something we might not need in the end.

[Edit: finally, we found a cleaner way to include backorders without being too messy. Still, we spent as much time dealing with backorders as we did for the rest of the model.]

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