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Lean production of ship-pipe parts based on lot-sizing optimization and PFB control strategy

Fuli Zhou (College of Economics and Management, Zhengzhou University of Light Industry, Zhengzhou, China)
Panpan Ma (College of Computer and Communication Engineering, Zhengzhou University of Light Industry, Zhengzhou, China)
Yandong He (Research Center on Modern Logistics, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen, China)
Saurabh Pratap (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Jabalpur, India)
Peng Yu (College of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China and Institute of Artificial Intelligence, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Biyu Yang (Department of Industrial Engineering, College of Mechanical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 27 June 2020

Issue publication date: 3 May 2021




With an increasingly fierce competition of the shipbuilding industry, advanced technologies and excellent management philosophies in the manufacturing industry are gradually introduced to domestic shipyards. The purpose of this study is to promote the lean management of Chinese ship outfitting plants by lean production strategy.


To promote the lean implementation of Chinese shipyards, the lean practice of ship-pipe part production is highlighted by lot-sizing optimization and strategic CONWIP (constant work-in-process) control. A nonlinear programming model is formulated to minimize the total cost of ship-pipe part manufacturing and the particle swarm optimization (PSO)-based algorithm is designed to resolve the established model. Besides, the pull-from-the-bottleneck (PFB) strategy is used to control ship-pipe part production, verified by Simulink simulation.


Results show that the proposed lean strategy of the programming model and strategic PFB control could assist Chinese ship outfitting plants to leverage competitive advantage by waste reduction and lean achievement. Specifically, the PFB double-loop control strategy shows better performance when there is high productivity and the PFB single-loop control outperforms at lower productivity scenarios.

Practical implications

To verify the effectiveness of the proposed lean strategy, a case study is performed to validate the formulated model. Also, simulation experiments realized by FlexSim software are conducted to testify results obtained by the constructed programming model.


Lean production management practice of the shipyard building industry is performed by the proposed lean production strategy through lot-sizing optimization and strategic PFB control in terms of ship-pipe part manufacturing.



Authors appreciate the anonymous referees and the editor for their valuable comments. This research is financially supported by following programs: the Think-tank Programme of Henan Science and Technology (Grant no HNKJZK-2020-41C), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (grant no. 2019M660701) and the Scientific Research Starting Fund for Doctors from Zhengzhou University of Light Industry (grant no. 2018BSJJ071).

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.


Zhou, F., Ma, P., He, Y., Pratap, S., Yu, P. and Yang, B. (2021), "Lean production of ship-pipe parts based on lot-sizing optimization and PFB control strategy", Kybernetes, Vol. 50 No. 5, pp. 1483-1505.



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