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A two-phase approach for solving the multi-skill resource-constrained multi-project scheduling problem: a case study in construction industry

Amir Hossein Hosseinian (Industrial Engineering Department, Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)
Vahid Baradaran (Industrial Engineering Department, Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 1 October 2021

Issue publication date: 27 February 2023

453

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to study the Multi-Skill Resource-Constrained Multi-Project Scheduling Problem (MSRCMPSP), where (1) durations of activities depend on the familiarity levels of assigned workers, (2) more efficient workers demand higher per-day salaries, (3) projects have different due dates and (4) the budget of each period varies over time. The proposed model is bi-objective, and its objectives are minimization of completion times and costs of all projects, simultaneously.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper proposes a two-phase approach based on the Statistical Process Control (SPC) to solve this problem. This approach aims to develop a control chart so as to monitor the performance of an optimizer during the optimization process. In the first phase, a multi-objective statistical model has been used to obtain control limits of this chart. To solve this model, a Multi-Objective Greedy Randomized Adaptive Search Procedure (MOGRASP) has been hired. In the second phase, the MSRCMPSP is solved via a New Version of the Multi-Objective Variable Neighborhood Search Algorithm (NV-MOVNS). In each iteration, the developed control chart monitors the performance of the NV-MOVNS to obtain proper solutions. When the control chart warns about an out-of control state, a new procedure based on the Conway’s Game of Life, which is a cellular automaton, is used to bring the algorithm back to the in-control state.

Findings

The proposed two-phase approach has been used in solving several standard test problems available in the literature. The results are compared with the outputs of some other methods to assess the efficiency of this approach. Comparisons imply the high efficiency of the proposed approach in solving test problems with different sizes.

Practical implications

The proposed model and approach have been used to schedule multiple projects of a construction company in Iran. The outputs show that both the model and the NV-MOVNS can be used in real-world multi-project scheduling problems.

Originality/value

Due to the numerous numbers of studies reviewed in this research, the authors discovered that there are few researches on the multi-skill resource-constrained multi-project scheduling problem (MSRCMPSP) with the aforementioned characteristics. Moreover, none of the previous researches proposed an SPC-based solution approach for meta-heuristics in order to solve the MSRCMPSP.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees who provided useful and detailed comments on previous versions of the manuscript.

Citation

Hosseinian, A.H. and Baradaran, V. (2023), "A two-phase approach for solving the multi-skill resource-constrained multi-project scheduling problem: a case study in construction industry", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 321-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-07-2019-0384

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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