Living Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Heuristics

pp 1-18

Date: Latest Version

Supply Chain Management

  • Helena Ramalhinho LourençoAffiliated withUniversitat Pompeu Fabra Email author 
  • , Martı́n Gómez RavettiAffiliated withUniversidade Federal de Minas Gerais


Supply chain management (SCM) is related to the management of all activities along a network of organizations to provide a good or a service to final customers. The efficiency of these activities can have a great impact on customer‘s satisfaction and cost reduction. However, SCM is not just the sum of activities along the supply chain but, instead, it must consider the organization, supervision, and control of all activities in the chain from an integrated and collaborative perspective aiming to provide a competitive advantage. From this point of view, an increase in the dimension and complexity of the decision problems involved is expected, as several actors with different goals must be considered to administrate efficiently the activities within the supply chain. This chapter briefly reviews the main concepts of SCM, identifying relevant decision and optimization problems and discussing possible solution approaches. Heuristics and metaheuristics are two of the best optimization tools to be used in solving and providing business insights for the SCM problems. This chapter also describes some successful metaheuristic approaches to SCM and it examines future research trends. A large number of applications of metaheuristics to SCM integrating new subjects, such as open and big data, smart cities, and online decision-making, just to mention a few, are foreseen.


Supply chain management Optimization problems Metaheuristics