Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Wafik H. Iskander.


This dissertation addresses the scheduling problem in a flexible flowshop with sequence-dependent setup times. The production line consists of S production stages, each of which may have more than one non-identical (uniform) machines. Prior to processing a job on a machine at the first stage, a setup time from idling is needed. Also sequence dependent setup times (SDST) are considered on each machine in each stage. The objective of this research is to minimize the makespan. A mathematical model was developed for small size problems and two heuristic algorithms (Flexible Flowshop with Sequence Dependent Setup Times Heuristic (FFSDSTH) and Tabu Search Heuristic (TSH)) were developed to solve larger, more practical problems. The FFSDSTH algorithm was developed to obtain a good initial solution which can then be improved by the TSH algorithm. The TSH algorithm uses the well-known Tabu Search metaheuristic. In order to evaluate the performance of the heuristics, two lower bounds (Forward and Backward) were developed. The machine waiting time, idle time, and total setup and processing times on machines at the last stage were used to calculate the lower bound. Computational experiments were performed with the application of the heuristic algorithms and the lower bound methods. Two quantities were measured: (1) the performance of the heuristic algorithms obtained by comparing solutions with the lower bounds and (2) the relative improvement realized with the application of the TSH algorithm to the results obtained with the FFSDSTH algorithm. The performance of the heuristics was evaluated using two measures: solution quality and computational time. Results obtained show that the heuristic algorithms are quite efficient. The relative improvement yielded by the TSH algorithm was between 2.95 and 11.85 percent.