This paper treats the problem of setting the inventory level and optimizing the buffer allocation of closed-loop flow lines operating under the constant-work-in-process (CONWIP) protocol. We solve a very large but simple linear program that models an entire simulation run of a closed-loop flow line in discrete time to determine a production rate estimate of the system. This approach introduced in Helber, Schimmelpfeng, Stolletz, and Lagershausen (2011) for open flow lines with limited buffer capacities is extended to closed-loop CONWIP flow lines. Via this method, both the CONWIP level and the buffer allocation can be optimized simultaneously. The first part of a numerical study deals with the accuracy of the method. In the second part, we focus on the relationship between the CONWIP inventory level and the short-term profit. The accuracy of the method turns out to be best for such configurations that maximize production rate and/or short-term profit.
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Helber, S., Schimmelpfeng, K. & Stolletz, R. Setting Inventory Levels of CONWIP Flow Lines via Linear Programming. Bus Res 4, 98–115 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03342728